October 25, 2011

An autumn week at Korinji

We've just returned from our end-of-year work week at Korinji.  In glorious autumn weather and with a whirlwind of activity the zendo exterior was essentially completed:  the walls are now clad with stucco siding trimmed with cedar, while the cupola is entirely finished in cedar.

Our professional crew managed by Jim Mills, and our volunteers managed by Greg Dekker, somehow accomplished everything we set out to do.  In addition to the progress on our building we also continued our development of the grounds:  the trail system has been expanded, the stone and earthen ramps bracketing our small bridge have settled nicely, and the rocks lining the paths are planting themselves more deeply and growing thick coats of green moss.  We harvested several thick hardwood trunks; though they were standing dead and dry, they're rock-solid and heavy as iron (we believe them to be hophornbeam).  These will be the pillars anchoring our future entrance gate.  And the process of clearing our future house site, overgrown with rose, buckthorn and burdock, has begun.

Some small but significant jobs were completed on the sidelines as well.  Two umpan (metal gongs), cut from 1/2" steel and donated to us, now serve to call work crews to lunch.  One of them has been hung temporarily from our zendo porch where it is forming a fine patina of red rust.  We'll let that one continue to age over the winter.  The second has been finished differently, with a hand-peened rim and dark bluing.  The striker was made from wood found on the land.

We expect to have one more work weekend at Korinji in November (dates TBA).  Our 8' tall red oak doors hand-crafted by Abe Bontrager, a woodworker from the local Amish community, are completed and now getting stained and sealed locally.  We also have our wood-burning stove on the way.  We hope in November to have both of these installed....and of course you will all be welcome to help.

To see some more photos from the week (including our 8' red oak doors) please go here.

October 3, 2011

Sesshin next week

Fall sesshin, hosted jointly with Daiyuzenji temple in Chicago, is next week (October 6-9)! This sesshin will be held at House-in-the-Wood, a retreat center on Lake Delavan in Wisconsin. It's a beautiful place and the site of many of our sesshin in the past.

For more information (including directions and an online donation link) please see Daiyuzenji's registration page: http://daiyuzenji.org/SesshinDelavanFall.html.