Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spring Work Week

On the first day of Spring Work Week...EARLY in the morning on the first day of Spring Work Week...VERY early in the morning on the first day of Spring Work Week, those of us who are, by nature, early risers strolled into the dining hall to find that there were people who actually got out of bed and made it to the dining hall ahead of us. They were privileged to partake of the first coffee and to engage in the first conversations of the day. And all along, the few of us here for the long haul, those who awake at first light and/or bird song had thought it was our inalienable right to arrive first. Imagine our surprise to find coffee and conversation well underway upon our arrival.

Those already at the tables ahead of us were getting themselves fortified for the day ahead. It was the first day of the week set aside for getting the village ready for the summer season, and they were ready to begin their various job assignments.

There were approximately 60 volunteers who arrived to work...and none of it, I might add, was easy work. Most of it involved heavy lifting, strenuous repetition, protracted patience, and all were prepared to give of themselves and their energies.

The prize for patience, had there been one, would have gone to Harold Schnarre for his untiring efforts to come up with a diagnosis on this non-functioning washing machine in the staff laundry. His efforts would eventually pay off.

Just before they got on the bus to leave at the end of the week, these members of the sewing team proudly displayed a queen-sized quilt which they made from pieces of material found stored in the attic of the hotel. Dottie Nelson, Belinda Lowery-Keinhofer, and Cindy McGuinness hold up the finished quilt for all to see.

Fliegle Walters vacuums the grout dust from the new tile floor of one of the food storage lockers. The project to upgrade the walls and the floor of the locker (called Davy Jones...every object at Holden has a name assigned to it) and to bring the space into compliance with Health Department specifications had begun some months back. A work week team brought it to completion.
This is one you will have to see to believe. Imagine a long and continuous piece of cloth painted with mountains and evergreen trees and draped, window to I said, you will have to see it to believe it. The two individuals credited with the concept and its implementation, Angela Mietzke and Melissa Anderson, install the piece over the windows of the dining hall.

Only Janice Haakons and her crew on the lawns and gardens team have enough foresight to imagine the garden that will be planted once the snow has melted and to take the time, make the effort, to build a fence that will keep out all forms of wildlife that would like to make such a garden their own.

The youngest person (can you tell?) and only one of the two in their 20's...the rest were decades show up for Work Week, Aaron McCandless "staggers" under the weight of multiple bags of clean blankets ready to go on the beds of Lodge 3.

A window washer at every window of the upstairs windows of Lodge 3. This window washing was painstaking and difficult work. And the winter had left the windows in need of a thorough cleaning. Mission accomplished.

Ralph Shonder heads up the line transferring bags of clean linens from their winter place of storage into the lodges where the beds were made and the towels and sheets readied for the guests who will soon be filling the rooms.

At a temporary location outside a temporarily located book store, Ria Stroosma sorts, sizes, prices, and folds Holden Village shirts for later sale in a newly renovated and permanently located book store. Teams of volunteers worked on the book store site itself while other volunteers in another location worked on the merchandise that would be sold there.

A part of the sewing team's output included hats, kerchiefs, and other variations on head coverings for the kitchen staff. Belinda Lowery-Keinhofer prepares to cut out the latest rage in kitchen head gear...Teletubbies fabric lined with red gingham checks.

With approximately 100 May Youth Weekenders arriving in less than a week's time, there was a real need to clean and make ready the pool hall and recreation area. The problem in doing so was that there was an embankment of snow covering the entrance to the pool hall. No problem. Head maverick, Dan Roberts, uses a backhoe to clear away the entrance.

Head maverick, Dan the backhoe..., is assisted in snow removal by former head maverick...with the shovel..., Aaron McCandless in snow removal. The two of them got the job done.

Long term staff member, Art Neslund, and work week volunteer, Paul Sackmann, shovel snow to clear the walkway connecting the chalet area on the hill with the lower parts of the village. Although the weather is decidedly warmer, there is still much snow in the village.

Robert Monsen and Dottie Nelson work together on a project in the sewing room set up beneath Chalet 2.

Mary Dwinnell carries bags of clean linens into Lodge 2. When the volunteers left at the end of work week, all the beds were made, the curtains hung, the towels laid out. All of the rooms were ready for guests.

The dining hall was painted a cool shade of green, a color to complement the newly draped windows and a color that would blend with the newly laminated dining hall tables. Elisabeth Saunders spent many hours atop a step ladder meticulously edging the new green color up against the molding.

Aboard the bus leaving the village at the end of the week, Penny Sadis and Holden Village Director, Carol Hinderlie, say their good-byes. Penny leaves knowing that she will return with a church work group in June.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Spring "Seen": Bear with Me

Friends of Olaf

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob-bob-bobbing Along

Spring has arrived and robins are hopping (bob-bob-bobbing) over the earth that has been exposed by the receding line of snow. While winter's toll on the grass and the contents of the flower beds is obvious, one should not be fooled into thinking there is no hope of further plant life without replanting. Nature repairs itself...and quickly. Above and below the ground, there is a rush to return to living fully in the sunlight.

Spring skies are this exact...and un-enhanced...shade of blue. A closer examination of the large cottonwood tree standing to the side of Wes Prieb Boulevard at the entrance to the Pool Hall reveals that it will not be too many days before the tree is in full leaf.

At the edge of the flower bed in front of Lodge 3, for the most part still covered by snow, the pointy spears of the iris push upward into the sunlight.

Knobs and bulges of rhubarb appear out of the earth at the edge of the receding line of snow. This bed of rhubarb behind the kitchen will eventually be the source of many culinary delights.

Almost as soon as a reddish bulb of rhubarb breaks through the outer layer of soil, it begins to unfurl a yellowish protuberance that will eventually become a fabulous dark green leaf with wine-red veins.

At ground level, a line of iris ascend toward the sky in full view of an ever-diminishing bank of snow that still covers the windows of the Registration Office and the Operations Office.

Pleading "I'm fragile!" and "I have been frozen!" a sign asking people to keep off the grass stands in a place that will eventually become a green and sloping expanse that will be welcoming to Holden's yard blankets and an endless number of sun worshippers, readers, and nap-takers.