Thanksgiving Break is officially over . . . well, it will be when I crater into the sack tonight.  I’ve been back from WindWalkerCamp two days now, and I’m missing it even more.

This week I am ordering the first batch of bottles to test my root beer brewing skills with . . . a single batch makes fifty-three twelve-ounce bottles.  I’m going to have to find a testing audience . . . I feel like the Little Red Hen.

Tomorrow on the way home I’ll be stopping by the auto parts house to pick up some plastic auto-body-filler and the teacher supply store for some modeling clay.  I have a couple of spoons and forks I want to be able to cast, and I have lots of pewter ingots and “dead” lead soldiers.  (Lead soldiers are pewter.)  While I have, indeed, cast a couple of thousand knights and soldiers, I have never cast a spoon or a fork.  Something new to try.  And share.

I have been researching what kind of “alternative” insulation to use in the walls as I build out the covered deck to make it a lodge.  My intent is to make the entire camp as authentic an experience as humanly possible.  I’ve explored raw wool – straight from the sheep, shredded recycled blue jeans, straw, cellulose (shredded newspaper).  I don’t want to use fiberglass.  The windows need to be large enough to take in all the beauty of the hills . . . so I’m looking for recycled storefront glass or recycled patio doors . . . that sort of thing.

The power co-op will run a power line a given distance into the place if we have a foundation.  Hmmm.  That will give us electric power from the grid to run the tools to build the solar collectors and the wind turbine towers.  I’m going to have to look at that.  Again, the design objective is to have a summer camp (actually year-round camp) completely off the grid.  One of the questions is: how do we get there from here?

Lots to do.  Lots to think about.  Right now I’m mid-process in building a pinewood derby car based on a 1912 Mercer Raceabout.  I’ve spent four hours in the woodshop, and my glasses were so covered in sawdust from exotic woods that I couldn’t really see.  So I cleaned my glasses and washed my clothes.  Now I feel more human.  It would be more fun out in the Missouri Ozark foothills.  With solar/wind-generated power for the shop tools.

Come summer camping with us, and give us your input.  And pour your own root beer and your own fork and spoon.  And eat like a prince off the grill.  And sleep like a chief in a tipi.  And track the deer through the forest like a Choctaw.  That’s what we’ve been doing.

Thanks for reading.  Stay thirsty for root beer, my friends.

Uncle Pat

This week I’ll also update some of the stuff at

What the hands learn the mind cannot forget.