Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Week on the Farm

Or, What I did on my Summer Vacation.

It was time for a vacation. I totally could have booked a week in Hawaii and sat out on the beach sipping drinks out of a pineapple and pretending to surf, instead I signed up for a week at Green Gulch: getting up at 4:30 in the morning, scrubbing toilets, building compost piles and cleaning out the pond. Basically, I paid to do work that you can't pay americans to do any more and I had a great time.

If you're planning on staying at Green Gulch there are three choices: You can treat the Guest House or Wheelwright Center as a hotel and rent rooms by the night, or you can sign up as a Guest Student, or a Guest Retreatant. Guest Student and Guest Retreatant both participate in the sitting schedule, staring at 5 in the morning, and both have work assignments. Retreatants are given the afternoon off and get a private room. I signed up for the week as a retreatant and stayed in the Guest House as well as a couple of nights in the Wheelwright Center with my daughter over the weekend.

Sunday night I packed up and drove over the bridge, got in around eight in the evening and took a walk down to the beach just after sunset:

IMG 0059

The morning schedule is the same every day: up before dawn, Zazen, Kinhin, more Zazen, Service, Soji then Breakfast in the dining room. After Breakfast there's a work meeting and as a Guest Retreatant you get your work assignment for the day from the Guest Student Manager and spend the morning helping with various aspects of running the farm.

The work assignments sort of make the day, and for each day of the week I'm writing up a seperate self contained entries. Here's the list, which I'll update with links as they're posted:

Monday: Kitchen Work

Tuesday: Composting

Wednesday: Pond Cleaning

Tursday: Back in the Kitchen

Friday: Home for a Day