Over the last couple of weeks, a number of big and exciting checkmarks have been added to our ongoing To Do list at Toi Toi Manawa.
This was helped in a big way by the fact that we had a deadline to work towards. This past Sunday we held our Community Day – an event to welcome neighbours from near and far to Toi Toi Manawa in order to show them the place, share what we’re planning here and get some feedback and ideas. And have fun.
In the lead up to the event, we were very lucky to have a couple of great volunteers here working with us. Among many other things, they helped us to really tidy up the garden and get it ready for spring, create several new compost piles, organize our shed/workshop and finish the final touches on our composting toilet. Having the extra hands here made a big difference for Andy and I, as we watched item after item being crossed off the list.
The event itself was a blast. What we thought might just be a quiet gathering with a few friends from the village turned into a crowd of 50+ people, many of whom we’d never met before – which was exactly what we’d hoped for! We had perfect weather, were treated to a gorgeous array of potluck delights, and had a great time chatting with the diverse set of people who came out. The kids got busy colouring in carrots and eggplants and having their faces painted (and painting ours too!). We got excellent feedback on our ideas for future workshop topics and Andy led a land tour which sparked all sorts of interesting discussion on everything from the shipping container accommodations to compost making and from windbreaks to the Himalayan tahr. We were totally energized by the positive reaction of the community and by the many forms of support offered through the afternoon. What a way to begin August!
Of course, now we who live here are continuing to benefit from the mad dash of accomplishments leading up to the Community Day. The composting toilet is, perhaps, at the top of that list. After many months of using the port-a-potty (“port-a-loo”), we have switched over to a beautiful toilet that doesn’t smell and that will help us to better complete the nutrient cycles here. We’ve been very careful to outline instructions for use in the toilet so that the composting process can work to its maximum potential. Because #1s and #2s are kept separate in our system, we’ve had to label their seats accordingly. Luckily, we have our brilliant friend Tim volunteering with us at the moment and he’s created the perfect signs for indicating which is which:
To top it all off, yesterday we got connected to power from the grid. We spent the evening almost giddy with excitement as we realized we could have hot water from the taps anytime, turn on good, warm lighting in the evenings, use the oven, and go to sleep in a heated shipping container. Now we just need to make sure that we don’t start taking these incredible things for granted!
Andy and I have now completed the current versions of the Program Plan and Land Plan for Toi Toi Manawa. Another big checkmark for the list. Now, as we move more fully into implementation, Andy is designing the two priority shelterbelts that we plan to plant over the coming year. Meanwhile, I am compiling the feedback from the weekend and beginning to put together the workshop schedule for the coming months. On the 19th, we’re hosting a full-day Swedish Massage workshop, run by a friend who is a professional massage therapist. Seemed like a perfect way to ease into the workshop program!
This weekend, we will be attending an event called “The Past, Present and Future of Organics in Canterbury” which will, no doubt, give us some better understanding of the organics movement here and where we fit into the picture.
So there it is. Lots of items crossed off the list, and many more added to it. And so continues the life of a glazomaniac!