Cool Friday

Dell Volunteer Mary Berg Gets Acquainted with the Dude

This morning it was cold–about 34 degrees.  I was snuggled under the warm down comforter and vaguely aware that Jerry was getting up and dressing to go to the gym and work out.  I can't  claim to have given that noble plan any thought whatever.  I quickly dived back under the covers and went back to sleep.

Woke up ten minutes before staff meeting was to start at 8:00,  took the world's fastest shower and got there at 5 after.  Biggest news on the agenda was the impending opening of our first off-campus house in Taylor and the arrival this weekend of a new resident at the Ranch.

Mary puts up trellis for snow peas in the garden

It was a short meeting because we were anticipating 120 or so Dell volunteers this morning and  had to get to our stations to be ready for this huge pool of labor for the time they'd be here.  This is how big things get done at Down Home Ranch.

Sandit Works Priming Joseph House

On today's plan were painting an office, priming the walls of Joseph House, excavating collapsed culvert, constructing beds and prepping the community garden, general brush clearing and removal, and the really big project: moving several hundred ceramic molds and two kilns from the warehouse to the Spur barn, where we will set up our ceramics workshop. 

Cataloging and moving ceramic molds

Not to mention feeding our 5-day old preemie calf, Dude.

Restoring a Culvert

We love Dell volunteers because they come out in teams, and they're used to working together as a team.  They're smart and motivated, and they enjoy the chance to do something physical.

Dell also donated a new server to us, which we just got installed, joining up with Mr. PC of Austin to handle the switch, and my, what a difference.  We've about got the bugs out and are just now understanding what a huge difference this will make.

I overheard Michael and Alan talking as they cleaned the barn hallway just outside my office.  Alan asked Michael if “all those people” were getting paid.  Michael said no, they just came to help out.

“We might get in trouble,” Alan said.  “You can't make people work and not pay them.”

“It's different for them,” said Michael.  “They don't have to do it so we don't have to pay them to do it.”

I was amazed that Michael and Alan knew this much about labor law!  And even more that they were concerned about its implications for the Ranch's use of volunteer labor.

But most of all, I loved hearing that “we.” 

Michael and Alan have taken full ownership of their Ranch.