I left Lost Valley Education & Event Center this morning – my home for the past 6-7 months – after saying my final goodbyes, hanging up a Texas flag in the community Lodge, and getting my car battery jumped (which was super stressful, but a huge relief once it started up!)
It was with much thought and deliberation, but I decided to leave Lost Valley and put in my notice after living onsite for about seven months. There were various reasons that influenced my decision, but what it essentially boiled down to was wanting to explore the world of sustainability and community outside of Lost Valley, and have more opportunities to learn and practice permaculture.
But before I left Oregon and returned to Texas to figure out my next moves, I packed this month with final adventures and finished some projects!
For Christmas, I gave Avery a coupon for ‘one project of her choice’ (which didn’t require money and was approved by the community). It took some time for her to think about what she wanted as her project, but she came up with a great idea – a living willow structure! We talked about what she wanted and where she wanted to put it, and decided to build her a small amphitheater by the offices/classrooms where her mom was working as the new site manager and it could also be used as an outdoor classroom space. Ashley came to visit one day this month from her work-trade at Dharmalaya, and volunteered to help me build the structure for Avery. We spent several hours planting and weaving willow into a large semi-circle dome, and used zip-ties for additional support, which would eventually breakoff once the willow structure grew bigger and matured.
The weekend before our final week, Bri and I went over the Bethany’s to make final touches to our PDC project design and PowerPoint presentation. I was very proud of our design, and really appreciated Bethany’s proactiveness and follow-through, because those weren’t common characteristics of the people living in the community.
As the final weeks of the program were before us, Sara Siegler (Lost Valley’s Executive Director) and Colin Doyle, approached me to see if I was interested in working as the part-time Communications Manager for Lost Valley Education and Event Center. I accepted the position knowing I could put my marketing skillset to use and help Lost Valley move forward with their marketing and outreach. I was even given my own office space that I overhauled and organized for myself, and anyone else who needed public space to work.
That weekend before classes started, Rich – the friendly neighborhood vagabond – returned to Lost Valley, and we got the dragon pizza oven fired up! Rich has a long history with cob fire pizza ovens, which started at his grandpa’s and was also how he wound up staying at Lost Valley and became an approved seasonal traveler.
Pizza days at Lost Valley generally attracted a large crowd, and this weekend was no different. We had residents making fresh dough, cutting up ingredients and toppings, and others just hanging out around the cob booth area while Rich tended the pizza oven.