March 7, 2009

Tools for the Job

The weather seems to have broken here in the Chicago region, at least for the time being: the lake this morning is largely free of the white ice sheet which only a few days earlier stretched to the horizon. We'll most likely have another snow, and temperatures will still hit the twenties and thirties. But the worst may be over.

This means it's time to start our meditation hut. Our temple land in Wisconsin is a few hours north, so temperatures there in the Madison area are a bit lower still. But I'll be spending several days on our temple land later in March, to confirm the hut's exact location and orientation (along with the location of some other important features such as our access drive, parking area, trails, footbridges, and steps to be inset into hillsides - all of which we'll be working on this spring and summer).

Once those decisions are made and plotted on the GPS, it will be time to begin cutting the hut's major structural pieces back in Chicago for assembly on the land. We're still planning a wood frame structure, with plastered straw bale walls. Interior floor space will be four tatami: three actual tatami, and one tatami-size area of exposed wood flooring as an entry area and location for our woodstove. The hut will have a small engawa (covered walkway) on one side, overlooking one of the ravines we'll most likely build into.

We still have some small details to work out: rather than windows set into the walls, for example, we may use recycled bottle glass. But the form of our structure has been largely defined.

Now is the time we'd like to appeal for donations of items we'll be needing to use this year: tools! If it can be used for simple construction, clearing land, landscaping or gardening, we probably need it. Here's a partial list:

  • Shovels and spades
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Pick
  • Hoe
  • Sledge
  • Axes and hatchets
  • Pruning tools
  • Measuring tapes
  • Hammers
  • Handsaws
  • Chainsaws

If you have items like these you'd like to donate, we'd be very happy to hear from you (and to send you a receipt for the value of your tax-deductible donation).

One recent purchase by the Foundation was small, inexpensive hand-held video recorder (a Flip Mino HD). We'll be using this to film our next land visit, and to document the construction of our hut. Keep an eye on the blog and on the Korinji website for these posted videos.

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