By this time it was starting to get dark, and we were moderately worried about how we would spend our evening. We went into the courtyard, and immediately liked the vibe. Stepping stones wound down a brick-lined path, with raised beds on either side. There was an open-air kitchen with signs like "lettuce turnip the beet." The natural building techniques were inviting, with cob and bamboo everywhere, but there was still not a soul in sight. After peeking in the dorm rooms, we saw one guy who was face-down asleep on a bed, but we didn't want to wake him, so we just put our stuff down and waited. Twenty minutes later, the mysterious sleeper woke up and came out. Nico, a dreadlocked, soft-spoken Frenchman of few words explained a bit about Farmers' Yard, and then showed us where we would be sleeping. Then Holly made some rice with soy sauce and dried pea-snacks (we hadn't brought much food with us), and we fell asleep to the hypnotic humming of a neighbor's whimsical twenty-foot-tall bamboo weather vane.
|One of the dorm rooms where we stayed|
|Some people find |
Jesus in their pancakes.
All we got was this guy.
|Are your dreams not patriotic enough?|
These mattresses should help.
Work at the Farmers' Yard was pretty open-ended, we could choose whatever projects we wanted to work on, and then go at our own pace.
Our first few projects added to our bamboo repertoire, we used the material to add a ladder onto a bunk bed, and weave a garden retaining fence. Some of the smaller projects included transplanting starts, reinforcing the dining room table, installing overhead lamps in the rooms, and completing the cross pieces on the last unfinished bed. Before long, we realized that a large part of construction in Bali is making do with what you have, it wasn't possible to run down to the local hardware store and buy enough lumber or hardware to complete a project as you intended.
Every job required the extra consideration of what materials were available, and what tools were on hand. We enjoyed brainstorming around the challenges that arose, and got to exercise our creativity with some of the bigger projects. We built kitchen countertops and shelves out of scrap wood that was lying around (hours of hand-sanding), did some bathroom sink plumbing with fiberglass and bamboo, and used an old flipflop as a stop on a sliding door.
|Woven bamboo fence|
|Splitting the bamboo for the fence|
|Katie and Luna helping us finish the fence|
|Mixing cob; 2:1 sand to clay,|
with a little water
and straw mixed in.
|Giving the floor its final coat|
A week or two later Paul, an English electrician, and his friend Carrel, a Czech-Canadian computer whiz, arrived. They had been scouting the area for a possible location to start their own guesthouse, and lent their expertise for a few weeks. We asked to help Paul, in the hopes of gleaning some electrical skills. He was happy to share his knowledge, but pointed out that wiring in Bali was not exactly the norm. The hostel had been built by a myriad of passing travelers, and we spent quite a few hours tracing wires and determining the final lighting configuration.
|Djuca, Nico, Ruta, Katie Pedro, Luna, Holly, Randy, Mitsu.|