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Gratitude as 2015 coasts to its end

Therese and Tere after a Rite-of-Passage ceremony for a group of girls from Journeys

2015 was a rich and wonderful year for Tere and I! Here at the Groves, we were blessed with hundreds of women and men who joined us for our retreats, ceremonies and circles; hosted hundreds of Airbnb guests who enjoyed the healing quality of our guest yurts; and shared this land, co-creating “community” with 7 men and women who live as residents here. We also hosted hundreds of tree-climbers who went up in the canopy with Nico Honeylion and other guides from AdventureTerra and two groups of girls from Rite of Passage Journeys. With Katey and Chris who live here at Sacred Groves. we got a small flock of chickens, built a coop and chicken yard, grew flowers, veggies and herbs in our gardens, culled fire-wood from the woods and grew grass in the meadows. This land holds us in a thousand beautiful ways, supports us financially and energetically, and feeds our souls with beauty….blessing us hundred-fold!. Life is GOOD

We participated in events and opportunities away from the Groves as well: offering a Family Camp and Spirit’h’Soul Quests at Ekone Ranch, participating in a “Becoming a Conscious Elder” series offered by Rite of Passage Journeys and once again joining our favorite women’s camps– Womens Summer Solstice and Womans Way LongDance. We are involved in the board and community at Ekone Ranch and participated in Charlene Ray’s Living and Dying Quest there as well. Therese offered a 2 day Compassionate Listening training at TACID in Tacoma, and spent 4 days with Tami Lynn Kent refreshing her skills in Holistic Pelvic Care.

1001377_10153115444955393_646051994_nIn addition to all this…..we spent time with dear friends and family (including our beloved grandson), went camping together, and spent some days in silence and retreat to renew our connection with Great Spirit-Great Mystery. Its a beauty-way life and we are so grateful to be living the dream.

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO SUPPORTED US WITH YOUR LOVE, YOUR DONATIONS, YOUR PRAYERS and WELL-WISHES! May the time you spent here at the Groves continue to bless you in 100 beautiful ways!

Gratitude as 2014 slides to its end….

Winter Solstice

Our year-end gratitude letter…….

As 2014 winds to completion, Tere and I have been reflecting on the many blessings in the form of all the women and men (and children too) who showed up at the Groves over this past year, supporting our work and our vision! Without all of you, we would not be realizing our dream of sharing this land, our sweet structures and the medicine of our healing ceremonies. We feel so blessed in our lives here at the Groves with so much beauty, abundance, love, and connection. The many guests who come here each bring a special gift for us and for the land.

The ceremonies and circles we host have drawn many wonderful folks this past year. We continue to be touched and awed by the healing magic of sitting in sacred circle! Whether the connection is a one-time event that someone happens to drop by for, or takes place over the course of months (and years!) in an ongoing group, it is our pleasure and deep honor to be sacred witness to each person’s unfolding journey.

Our B n’ B continues to thrive, drawing a steady stream of folks from all over the country ( and the world!) who stay with us for a night or two, a week or two. People find us through our Airbnb site, our Sacred Groves website or through the ephemeral web that ‘calls’ folks to our little sanctuary. From one guest: “You are both such lovely stewards of this little piece of Earth. Thank you for tending to it and others so well. Your care and reverence is palpable.” When folks leave notes like this, we are humbled – and we say: this Land is the REAL healing agent here! And we are so blessed to call this place Home.

We’ve enjoyed opening the Groves up to outside groups. For the 14th year in a row, Rite of Passage Journeys brought girls groups to the Groves! Aleen (Dawn Whirlwind) and Templedogs brought the “Origin Teachings of The Delicate Lodge” at 4 week-end retreats at the Groves this year. In addition, we hosted a Bikeworks staff retreat, Vickie Dodd’s Sound Healing, Port Townsend ‘Global Visionaries’, Amy Jo Goodman’s “Healing Sexual Trauma” Retreat and a few others. This has brought many folks here who might otherwise have never visited. And, We feel so blessed that wonderful teachers and teachings like these are drawn to the magic of our place here.

The current crop of full-time residents here at the Groves is a group of wonderful young adults that we are delighted to share the land with! Chris and Katey are holding forth in the Log Cabin – creating wonderful art (they’re both artists), and co-creating a little community of friends transplanted from Michigan plus new friends gathered from the Pacific Northwest. Their midwest can-do, helpful spirit is evident in the little ways (e.g.trail clipping) and in larger ways too. We’re so grateful for their efforts in the gardens and with our guests when we’re away. Oh – and we really really like them too!!

Did we mention the children yet? Our grandson Tavi and the twins Liam and Gigi who were born when their parents were living here at the Groves have been such a delight for us….these children enliven us with their laughter and their play and we’re always happy to welcome them (and their parents) for a visit.

As you can see…..there is much to be grateful for and we end the year with a sweet sense of satisfaction, feeling awash in blessings as we live our beautiful life here at Sacred Groves! So we sign off for now, wishing all of you a beautiful holiday season full with good food, loving friends and family, a sense of peace and contentment. HAPPY 2015 and we do hope to see you here for a visit sometime!
Therese and Tere

Day 5 – we’re ready for the roof panels!

We’ve spent the past two days scrambing up ladders and climbing rolling scaffolding and kneeling in the crow’s nest and dancing on canted top plates – as we haul the beams up and against the center ring and onto the top of the walls. Once the beams were in place, there were many other tasks to take care of : nailing them off the to the hardware on the top plates, running the rafter cable thru the beams at the wall line, cutting and nailing the back-blocks, and a myriad of other tasks that Jonas was able to convey in a cheerful and patient way that allowed each of us to feel like we were contributing something important to the project. And then there were the frustrations of removing hardware (on the top plate: which means everything is done from a ladder- times 32)) and replacing it 1″ from it’s original position, the occasional head wounds ( Sophie and Sarah are both OK), trying to get the walls of a round structure plumb (you push one wall out, and the others come in), looking for nails and hardware beneath the sheets of black plastic everywhere, covering and uncovering the piles of nails and hardware depending on the precipitation…. The truly amazing aspect of this project is that no one has totally lost it yet – everyone is gracious and polite – and the air is full of laughter and jokes and wisecracks… however every once in a while I slip back into my construction worker mentality and yell something- like when the power kept going out due to the rain- and in my frustration at picking up the saw, and not having any juice, I yelled POWER!!! And Jonas turned to me and said ‘Wow, really old school’ and I had to laugh at myself and take a step back from the brink of being a total asshole. We’ve been helped this week by Terry Kelley – who showed up and threw himself into the project with great skill and grace and humor. Dave Leslie worked with us on Saturday and stayed the whole day despite the rain. Kendra and Mia have provided amazing and delicious lunches each day and have pampered us with snacks and mid-morning coffee and tea!! The crew is awesome – so many talented and willing and wonderful folk putting their hands and hearts into creating this great home!! more pics here


Jonas arrived last night while we were all in the log cabin eating dinner – we finally caught up with him around 8:30 PM – after he had taken measurements, checked the squareness of things, and generally gotten a handle on the site. We started this morning at 8am with a little circle and a blessing – asking for protection and health and well-being from the powers-that-be….. and then we kicked butt! Or rather, my butt got kicked!! By lunch-time we’d gotten most of the main floor installed. And by 6pm, when we stopped for the day – we’d stood the walls at the main round part of the house. Jonas is a wonderful manager and a great guy to work with. We were eager to ‘get things done’ and he was great about helping to keep us on track. At noon, we took a lunch break – and Kendra had created a delicious and amazing sandwich bar that all we had to do was show up with our appetites and eat, and she generously took care of the rest! Thank you Kendra for lunch AND cleaning up!! Yeah – one of the many benefits of living in community – lot’s of hands make light work of everything! The day essentially passed in one long adrenaline run – from huffing the floor panels into place, and nailing them off – to hoisting the wall panels up on their ends and nailing them together at the top and then at the bottom. Not much drama or excitement – but verry satisfying and gratifying in the progress department. Well, it’s true that the ‘womens’ team dropped one wall as just a couple of us were trying to do the work of at least 3 – 4… but no big deal… just a reminder to slow down, wait until all of us were able to be there before we stood the wall… By the end of the day – we all stood back, amazed and awed by how much we had accomplished – this pit that we’ve been working with for months suddenly took on the shape of a dwelling – a habitable structure! And tomorrow – we will see all the walls up, and at least some of the beams installed – as the roof begins to take shape as well! Wahoooo! And whewweeee – are we tuckered out!

It’s official – Thursday we start the building!!

In the world of construction (and nowhere else does this hold true…) – things always change. I used to tell clients that being a contractor was like being a juggler on a surfboard – the challenge was not only to keep the balls in the air, but to anticipate the next big wave and try to catch it before it sideswiped you. So here we are – having another relaxing day before the BIG PUSH. Our scheduled Oregon Yurtworks team-leader was sidelined by a hernia (ouch!) on Friday – so the start date has been pushed back. His replacement – Jonas – called this morning . We had a good talk about what he’s bringing with him (tools and know-how), what we’re providing here in the way of accommodations (a rustic ‘cabin’) , and when we’ll gather the big crew. Since he’s not getting here until late Wednesday, our official start date will be Thursday – 8am sharp!! This phase of the project has been a testament to the ‘let go let god’ philosophy of construction. In our original version of things (or in revision #56), we’d anticipated jumping on site first thing this morning and getting the floors and possibly a wall or two installed with our gang of 7 or 8. As it turned out, I didn’t get up until almost 8am, had a leisurely cup of tea and then spent all day connecting the rest of the water line up from the pumphouse to the new house (mostly running to the hardware store for parts – it is plumbing, after all.). Therese and Sarah worked on getting the ‘cabin’ ready for Jonas and tending to general Groves business as well. All the delays we’ve encountered thus far have been to our benefit- we’ve learned to not sweat the small stuff, and in fact are approaching the next two weeks of work with a sense of spaciousness and relaxation.

the house has arrived!!

It’s been an exciting week here at the Groves! Therese and I made a languid return from a sweet camping retreat in the Olympic Mountains on Tuesday evening. We received a call Wednesday morning at 7am from the truck driver saying he was in Poulsbo and would be at our place in 1/2 an hour!! Whoa!! We weren’t expecting the truck until sometime later in the day…. And in fact, two trucks arrived by 8:15 Wed morning!! We called David K – who valiantly jumped out of his morning schedule and into the forklift – and masterfully managed to unload all the bundles and pallets without mishap. We are so grateful to have him as a neighbor and a friend! What a gem! It was sooo hot Wednesday that when Kendra( our Grovesmate) arrived with a plate of watermelon I fell into it and gulped watermelon with both hands!! Delicious and much appreciated! Thursday we expected 2 trucks – but after an easy unload with the first truck – David and Troy went back to their ‘real’ work – and we made several calls to Oregon Yurtworks concerning the whereabouts of the second one. Turns out, there was a big accident on I-5 that shut the free way down for hours, our trucker was stuck in it – and decided to call it quits and make the delivery on Friday. ( I thank my lucky stars that I’m a carpenter by trade, and not a truck driver…) This morning, the truck showed up, David performed his magic on the great Genie reach-lift -and the trucker was on his way by 9:30 am!! It feels like Christmas in July out here!! Dozens of huge packages wrapped in black plastic with my name on them- all waiting to be opened and assembled! (see more pics)

OK, now we’re really READY!

Wahoooo!! We’re ready for the house delivery! Sarah and Eddie and Therese and I cleaned the site up, moved material, spread pea gravel, and generally tidied things up for the big day. Since the trucks are not due to arrive until Wednesday – Therese and I are heading into the mountains for a few days of chill-out. I haven’t been out in the wilderness at all this year – and I know I can use a little bit of ‘not-doing’. I feel so much gratitude for all the help that has come our way ( Eddie, Austin, Sarah, Gordon, Francis, David K, Troy, Josh and crew, and many many more friends), for the weather, gratitude that we’ve all been safe and healthy, and that we seem to be getting things done in just the right amount of time. I’m excited and looking forward to working with the big crew that will assemble on July 16!!! (more pics!)

We’re READY!!

Sarah and I celebrated the 4th of July by installing the ring of beams in the main house. It was a hot one – and we really felt it in the pit. We also finished the center platform where all the pie shaped floor pieces will come together in about 2 weeks! Eddie ‘gets’ to hand mix and pour concrete into the ‘cosmetic curb wall’ ( it ain’t gonna be pretty…) that didn’t get filled the other day. Sarah and I are going to finish installing the center platforms for the two small yurts. I feel the usual aaahhhhh out-breath of post-concrete pour. The fawn made an appearance yesterday, the crows-chasing-hawk-troupe made several noisy splashes across the deep blue sky, the water in the round tank is getting close to perfect dunking temperature… ahhh – summer! (PICS) Tomorrow we’re getting a truckload of pravel for the pit – and then we’re pretty much ready for delivery!! The trucks start arriving on Monday – and Oregon Yurtworks has scheduled one truck a day for three days to head up to our little island. Therese and I hope to take a short camping trip to the Olympic Mountains after the third truck is unloaded – to catch our breath, do some intensive relaxation before the BIG PUSH – which starts on July 16.

the joke’s on me!

We poured the sonotubes and footings for the smaller yurts ( we’ve dubbed them ‘Cedar’ and ‘Plum” for the trees and shrubs nearby) yesterday in a chaotic frenzy of unwieldy hoses, splooging concrete, and a willing crew. Yes, it took us forever to clamp the hoses together that delivered the miniscule amount of concrete to the far yurt ( Plum – in honor of the Indian Plum that hangs over it) – and we slopped more concrete on the ground than actually made it into the forms. And we did a much better job of delivery into the forms for the Cedar yurt. By the time we trained the hoses on the cosmetic curb inside the main house ( this is designed to keep the dirt from spilling from one level to the other) – we were more or less experts. Most of the mud made it into the forms – and then, there was no more concrete! Half of the curb wall remained empty!! A contractors nightmare ( # 305 ). Shit! I was pissed off – but tried NOT to take it out on the great helpers who were sweating and straining to move the hoses and concrete under the hot summer sun. I yelled “GOOD JOB” and then scurried over to ‘finish’ off the forms at Cedar – where the concrete was globbed and piled high covering the formboards and braces and everything!! Francis left without saying goodbye – and I feared that he was upset with me for not masking my frustration adequately – and I feared he thought I was pissed at HIM! When in fact, he had done a heroic job of pulling this very green crew together and getting them to help him with the very physical work of hose-hauling, hose-control, hose-lifting, etc. BOO HOO! Therese corroborated the notion that Franics was upset ( ‘he said he heard you say ‘fuck it’ and then you ran off into the woods..) which made me feel even WORSE. As soon as I finished working the stiffening concrete away from the forms and attempting to smooth it out – I called Francis. ‘Sorry for being such a pill’ says I. “WHAT? I LOVE working with you guys and gaias and feel honored that you called me to help out! I WAS JUST KIDDING!!! In fact, Dave elaborated on what I had said, and told Therese that you didn’t just run away – you ran CRYING into the woods!!!” Oh – I guess Therese did not get the JOKING part…. Anyway – we ran into both Francis and Dave at the Bainbridge Island Downtown 4th of July street dance that evening – and we all had a great laugh. Who knew we’d get so much mileage out of a ‘measly’ 6 yard pour. (more pics)

The heat is on!!

I’m channelling some major PUSH energy – as the countdown to T-day bears down upon us! Fortunately, Sarah is a powerhouse herself, and together we’re raising some dust! Yesterday was deliciously warm – it felt like summer. Unlike the past week – where the air was thick with drifting mists and Carmi said to me – ‘nice day….for early spring…’ C’mon summer!! And yes – when it’s warm, it gets really warm in the pit. I have renewed appreciation for the gladiators and lions wrassling it out on the floor of the Colosseum in those hot dog-days of the Roman Empire. Eddie joins us in the physical realm when he returns each afternoon from his physics class – and we give him a practical physics lesson… with a shovel. We were all on shovels yesterday as we laid out and dug the piers for the small bedroom yurts. We’ll install the steel today, and maybe get the second yurt piers ready for steel too! The structures at Oregon Yurtworks are pretty much complete – and they’re getting the pieces ready for their long truck ride up here. We’ll be ready. (view pics here, or go to the Sacred Groves homepage and find them there.. I’m encountering techie difficulties with the flickr site – it’s not letting me label the pics – and I often can’t find the pics I’ve uploaded… a call to Ariel is in order – or I’ll just wait until Therese returns from her monthly wilderness retreat and ‘let’ her deal with this glitch)