Weekly School Update: Session #4
Session #4: July 3 – July 9
Good teaching and the NBA
by Diane Olthuis & Annie Hopper
New students, Nichole (Fairbanks), Sarah and Damon (San Clemente, California) started cutting bent #4 on July 3. Larry (Delta Junction) was back from fighting wildfires. He says that he prefers joinery to fire fighting. Joel (Florida) stole hours from his campground duties at Donnelly Creek to cut more joints. He plans on being a comedian and chef in his next life, which we hope will be with us at the Rapids! The groups are strong and feel more like family as the week progresses!
Students have been giving Jon high praise for his instructional style. He knows an incredible amount of information on tools, techniques and wood. Yet, Jon is low-key, explains things simply and is very patient. His sense of humor is appreciated by all.
This has been an eventful class week. The group celebrated the fourth of July by having a barbeque and hiking up to a nearby waterfall. The children celebrated with sparklers and a trip to the festivities at the Delta Junction fairgrounds. Huck won first place in egg tossing and the sack race. Katie and Huck won second place in the relay races, with Katie a contender in the egg tossing contest. Her mom was also second in the egg tossing covered with egg by the end of the event. Stephen donated his first place ribbon to the children of the relay race! Showers were welcomed on this hot summer Alaskan day.
On July 7th, two children of the group (Huck and Stephen) joined a Delta Junction basketball camp picnic. They joined the basketball camp sponsored by the Delta Junction Chamber of Commerce with camp coaches being former NBA stars: Norm Nixon, Rick Mahonu, Rob King and Earl Cureton! Wow! The basketball hoop set up on site has provided endless entertainment for our basketball hopefuls! The local artist, Katie Hopper, painted the off pink connex with lovely flower designs! The children are becoming quite good at identifying local flowers which are in full bloom!
Historian Rex Fisher stopped for a visit on July 8th and impressed everyone with his knowledge of the Valdez-Fairbanks trail. Steve Fernaugh affectionately known as the “Rock Man” by the children, provided inspiration and a fantastic education about the local geology. They are now determined to polish it all! Hours are spent looking for precious stones! Mary Liston rode in on her Harley Davidson and volunteered with her wonderful skill in the kitchen. Her cookies are now a legend in these parts! She continued to do what she also does best and helped educate the children about the local fauna and the many other gifts of nature. She taught us how whittle our diamond willow (donated by the Rock Man). Carolyn Hage, our adopted daughter and right hand “gal” also joined the group and completed the circle.
The course has had intermittent down pours primarily at night, with sunny miraculous days! The course ended with Damon taking a hike until after midnight on the ridges behind the cabin. Sarah regrouped in Fairbanks and will pick her brother up on the way to raft some outrageous white water near Copper Center. He decided to stay on an extra day as once you are hooked on timbers, you are truly hooked! Taking a few extra days in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park area of the state with the “Alaska Wrangellers Wilderness Rafting Adventures will top off their visit.” Damon says he hopes to come back for the bent raisings in August. Nichole will finish her course next week during the last five days of the 5th session. She is strong and willing…….ready for most anything and quick to learn.
Terry Ann brought moose ribs again and wooed the crowd! Oohs and aughs could be heard for miles! Kelly and Tomika brought the group fish from the Copper River. Some Chitna folks claimed they all made their limits this week compared to the efforts of folks last week! The bison are again visible on the shores of the Delta River. High school reunions are in order this week in Delta Junction and four classmates from over 30 years ago stopped by to spin a few tales. Their fond memories in the old lodge were great! They promised to send a few stories back our way1
Will Harrison and his crew of UAF professors stopped by to admire our progress and the wind study being completed in partnership with UAF. We hope to keep working closely with them all. Other folks stopped by and made donations to the restoration project while admiring its progress!
Photos from Session #4:
Articles and Photos:
Session #1: June 2 – June 8
Session #2: June 12 – June 18
Session #3: June 23 – June 29
Session #4: July 3 – July 9
Session #5: July 14 – July 20
Session #6: July 24 – July 30
Session #7: August 4 – August 10
Session #8: August 14 – August 20
Session #9: August 18 – August 24
The Final Push: Weeks 10 and 11
Letter to Prospective Students and a Letter from Jon Gantenbein, one of our Timber Framing Instructors.