We live to build. This is the way of Tinkering School. We play to enervate our building, we eat to fuel our bodies and minds for more working. Truly. Over breakfast this morning, there was no talk of how tired we were from the long day yesterday, instead, we talked about what we would do as soon as we got back to the barn.

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Every job should start with a walk through the woods, past the chickens, the llama, and the goats. Good morning all you peculiar and charming beasts, let us see what the day brings today, shall we?IMG 3461
Kami brought discarded skateboard decks from her brother’s shop. Whee!

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Brigid sets up the scroll saw and gets right to work.

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The Piki are considering building a three-level sleeping car. The challenge is that there not enough milled lumber to build with – luckily Lauren is an alumni from two years ago and knows how to lash poles together.

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So they head out to the yard to sort through the poles and sticks we harvested from the woods yesterday.

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Zada and Amelia trim the branches to clean up the poles and get them ready for lashing.

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The engine car is being built by Theo and Hanna – starting from the mast, evidently.

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James and the Kablooi have a notion to make a bench out of one of the skateboard decks.

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As the days progress, the tinkerers get more comfortable with the tools (always with supervision). Bryn at the controls.

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Portrait of a Tinkerer: Bryn admires a fresh cut on the chop-saw.

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Your daily goat.

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Adam is mastering the techniques necessary to drive the long screws through the wet eucalyptus.

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Portrait of a Tinkerer: Josh at the Drill.

Brigid and the Nooi are pretty much done with their car for now, so they start volunteering on the other teams to help get everyone caught up.

Zada works with Anita to make a detailed check list of everything left to do on the Kablooi car to get the removable roof mounted.

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Gever agrees to be the test pilot when Lauren wants a real test of the strength of her fresh lashing work.

It would appear that Gever is feeling a lot better today (have we seen the last of that hideous flu?) because he is moving between the teams consulting and offering new perspectives on all kinds of sticky problems.

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Lauren has good company as she works methodically to finish the lashings so her team can bolt the bunk-bed frame into place.

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Zada puts her new plan into action and starts measuring and marking all the parts she has to cut.

Done for now? Nope. Bryn and Josh collaborate to make a base for their new pedestal table on the Nooi car.

At the other end of the barn, Brigid smooths the rough edges off the new tabletop for the pedestal table.

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Too bad the tinkerers don’t get along better with their collaborators. It’s terrible to see so much strife on the Nooi team.

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The diagrams from the conversation about hanging things with rope continue to be a reference for projects today. Notes and embellishments accrue.

It’s such a nice day, that everyone lingers around the Ranch House after lunch.

They play in the trees. (Lauren)

They run and yell. (Saya)

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Amelia raises the newly minted Nooi flag, and basks in the glory.

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James and Jonah have successfully lobbied Gever for permission to build grape shooters and mount them on the Kablooie caboose – you know, to protect the train from robbers.

Brigid thinks of “one more thing” that the Nooi car really needs – cup holders!

Jonah sets to cutting more pieces for the grape shooters (some variation on a cross-bow).

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The Nooi flag inspires the Piki to make a flag as well and Adam sets about cutting one from a scrap of paraglider (just a little bigger than the Nooi flag, we notice).

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Jonah is pretty excited about the big grape shooter that will be mounted on the real deck – to absorb the recoil.

Jonah and James consult with Gever on a tricky “order of operation” conundrum that has them somewhat paralyzed. He points out a couple of tricks of the trade that they can use with only simple modifications to their design, and they are off and running again.

Lauren’s lashing work comes back inside and suddenly the Piki bunk-bed frame leaps off of their car deck.

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Meanwhile, out in front of the barn, the Engine Car takes shape and we can finally see the size of the thing. This sail is going to be massive.

As the day winds down, Amelia, Jane, and Brigid, enjoy a moment in the Nooi lounge car.

With the deck screwed down, the Kablooi caboose suddenly comes together. It helps that while they were blocked on the order of operation problem, they just kept building the things that they thought they needed. Now it’s just a matter of connecting them to the deck.

Sometimes, at the end of the day, the collaborators get a little bit loopy.

So it’s a good thing the tinkerers stay focussed and on task. Lauren takes command of the sewing machine.

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Tonight we’re having tacos, and after a quick check to make sure we have everything ready, we all settle into the rhythms of dinner. I continue to be amazed at how the “picky” eaters seem to forget their particular preferences and dig in to whatever we make.

It was good to be back, operating at something close to full mental capacity today, and getting into the thick of the building operations. Sometimes the best teaching moments come after you’ve been struggling together with a couple of tinkerers, exhausting all of your easy answers and recipes. That’s when you start to co-invent something new, something synthesized from all the things you collectively know or think. It’s the things we figure out together that really help us learn as individuals – tinkerers and collaborators alike.