Tree Limbs and Hand Rails
October 08, 2010 by Yugen
The happy workers of Yokoji unite.
This week seems to be flying by before I even have a chance to write about it. We have a 7-day sesshin starting on Sunday so this is a short working week for us, today being both the second and penultimate day. We start our hosan (rest time) tomorrow at 5:20pm and have Friday night and Saturday off, bar 7-8am zazen followed by service on Saturday. Plus a bit of cleaning. Plus some dishes to wash. Plus breakfast, lunch and dinner for 50 people. That's right - I cleverly scheduled a guest group the same weekend we start a sesshin, effectively eliminating the time off for at least a few people. I was aware of this when I took the booking, but we are not in a position to turn down any guest groups - as I've said before, they are our main source of income for the Center and we need the money, to put it bluntly. So to give the Jishin, the tenzo (head cook), a break, I will take over in the kitchen on Saturday. There are 4 or 5 volunteers coming up for the day, and I've planned some very simple meals so it should be fun. I was tenzo here at Yokoji for my first year in the States, so it is familiar territory.
Ilene—Queen of the Kitchen (on Thursdays).
Today, Ilene came to cook for us again. This is the third Thursday she has come up and the food is getting better and better! Black bean chili and rice for lunch and sweet potatato and ginger soup for dinner. Travis has been busy limbing trees, some of the other guys are making good progress on the retaining wall, and the cleaning crew are whizzing around getting everything ship-shape for the upcoming group. Jim Prall is working with Tenshin Roshi on hand railings that our insurance company insisted that we erect any place where there are more than three steps. This makes sense, but it is yet another job to get done. The working days are short during training period (4.5 hours as opposed to 7 during interim) and it can be tough to fit everything in. I started yesterday on the road, doing some more trenching with the tractor and hoped to get out there again today but one thing after another in the office lead to the tractor sitting out front looking somewhat forlorn and dejected. There is still a lot of work to do on the road before the bad weather hits for real, so I'm hoping for some clemency from the weather gods until we've at least broken the back of the project. The serious snow and rain can start any time now, but more often November or December is when things get nasty. Or fun. Depending on your disposition in regard to a large volume of either frozen or none-frozen, but always cold, precipitation.