Artful Land Care

Archive for the ‘SAGE Quest’ Category

Of Roofs, Horses, Vino, and Sleep

In SAGE Quest, YCM on August 28, 2012 at 7:37 am

August 28, 2012

Roofs are different from walls.  No kidding?! Yeah, I know, not much of an insight.  However, when framing moves from walls to roof a whole new perspective comes about, for most of the work is in the air…or at least eight feet off the ground.  And hanging out above the ground has mattered to homebuilders and the homes residents for a long time.

Roofs are often multifunctional.  Their basic function is to keep weather out of the home.  But roofs also do well as a place to check out the surrounding countryside.  If you take the time to climb up on the roof of your home you will find a wonderful place to quite down and experience the world from a perspective you cannot get any other way.  Of course, if it is a pitched roof, be careful!  Then again, even if it is not pitched and lies flat as a board, be careful!

Unlike walls, roofs carry a certain amount of danger.  If you, or anyone for that matter, fall off, someone is going to get hurt.  This reality is probably why the earliest building codes don’t talk about walls but they do about roofs.  For instance, you can find an early building code on roofs in the Hebrew Bible, “When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof; otherwise you might have bloodguilt on your house, if anyone should fall from it.”(Deut. 22vs8)  Unlike the pitched roof being built in White Swan, in some areas, roofs are additional living space.  Today, as well as ancient Deuteronomic times, roofs also provide space for eating, socializing, and sleeping.  It makes sense on a flat roof to build little wall (parapet) around the edges of the roof to keep people on top…should teenagers horse around a little too much, the neighbor have a little too much vino, or dad rolls around a little too much in his sleep (Imagine falling off your bed if it is a roof!).

So, as the roof goes up we become aware that building codes matter, safety matters, and the creation of a home does lead to a place where our children can horse around, our neighbors can have a glass of vino, and our families can sleep well.


Walled Feelings

In SAGE Quest, YCM on August 27, 2012 at 8:10 am

August 27, 2012

When the walls are finally framed, up, squared and plumb a feeling settles in on the jobsite.  Everyone knows they are experiencing something old and new.  Walls still have the smell of freshly cut lumber, and folk are nursing newly busted thumbs and fingers—thumbs have a blue tinge that anywhere other than underneath a thumbnail might be thought of as pretty, newly embedded splinters, and new cuts that when washed that evening will have to start healing all over again.  Yet for all the damage, everyone looks at a set of walls and knows they are part of something very very old.

For as long as any of us can remember, including our collective ancient memory, having shelter matters, and being able to create that shelter matters even more.  Looking at walls—wood, stone, or hide—have always instilled a since of wellbeing, for shelter from wind, rain, snow, or sun, means survival.  We may not all be carpenters, but somewhere deep in every one of us is knowledge we must have shelter and it is from such knowledge a feeling wells up when we see walls rising up out of the earth.

The new wall feeling is enhanced when we know our shelter is confirmed and these walls will give protection to one of our neighbors.  Such caring of neighbor and the corresponding feeling of wellbeing probably has something to do with why some folk can tell stories about participating with their parents and their grandparents in a barn raising or a home build.  If you feel it is time for you or you and your children or you and your parents to begin a legacy of helping neighbors obtain a home, come out to White Swan, Washington over Labor Day weekend and help build a home for a single father and daughter—your presence is welcomed!  (Contact David at for more information.)

Volunteering: Active-Theology

In SAGE Quest, YCM on August 25, 2012 at 9:48 am

Framing The Lemus Home (Destroyed by Fire February 2011)

August 25, 2012

Volunteering is a word used to present an idea of caring.  However, it is not always adequate to relate what is really happening.  Showing up and offering free tutoring, being a foster grandparent, ladling soup at a kitchen or helping distribute food at a food bank is volunteering.  However, when such work is tied to faith it is more than volunteering, it becomes active-theology.

Active-theology is an intentional theology.  One cannot fall into it accidentally.  Rather, active-theology is a choice.  When the writer of the Gospel of Mark tells his story, he images Jesus’ intentional movement to active-theology.  Jesus begins his theology much as he had experienced growing-up, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.”  Jesus had healed a few folk by now, but the tie of healing to proclamation was yet to occur.  A leper, one who society held at arm’s length, changes that when he hunts Jesus down and says, “If you choose, you can make me clean.”  The leper asks Jesus to risk his theology with his word of choice.  Jesus is asked to choose to move beyond the healing of those who are like him and his friends, to move beyond societies acceptable healing, and reach a hand out to one whom society holds as other—as one who does not matter.  When Jesus takes the risk of alienating friend, neighbor, and family by saying, “I do choose.  Be made clean!” and touches the leper, a paradigm shift occurs and Jesus intellectual theology becomes active-theology.  Active-theology makes a practical difference for it intentionally feeds the poor, houses the homeless, and welcomes the alienated.

An opportunity for active-theology occurs next weekend.  Thanks to active-theology volunteers, a home will be ready next weekend (Labor Day weekend—Friday thru Monday) for siding, roofing, and maybe some painting.  If you would like to actively explore your theology, join others doing the same in White Swan!  Contact David at for more information.

Body At Work

In SAGE Quest, YCM on August 24, 2012 at 6:10 am

August 24, 2012

A cool thing happens when you volunteer, more than once.  You begin to create family.  For instance, as framing began on the Coburn Loop Home (2011fire destroyed home) Rita returned and it was like a homecoming.  Rita and her children had dug footings and plumbing trenches weeks earlier and now here she is again!  Some might say, “Only weeks ago and you’re already calling her family?”  Well, yes, partially because more than a decade of working with volunteers has made it apparent, at least to me, they are the part of the body that does physical work.  Nothing wrong with the head and intellect, but when the foot and hand get going they just know they are related.  There is no need to reason it out, for in the dust of the ground, the dust of the saw, and the sweat of the brow family is known.

Life Begins After Fire: An Opportunity to Help

In SAGE Quest, YCM on August 23, 2012 at 6:31 am

August 23, 2012

As we watch fires around the country yanking folks lives apart and taking out family homes, it is good to take a moment and remember prayers are needed now and physical help is needed in the months and years ahead.

In February 2011 a windstorm and fire destroyed homes in White Swan.  Families became homeless.  It has taken time, but money for rebuilding the home of a single father and daughter has been raised and construction is under way.

Fires remind us we have an extended family, members who we never knew before, a family who is made up of both fire victims and volunteers.  If you are interested in helping rebuild a home for a father and daughter, join us Labor Day weekend.  We expect to put up siding, roofing, and maybe get some painting done.  It will probably winter over in that state, so there will be opportunities to help again during 2013 spring break and 2013 summer if you like!  Get in touch if this opportunity interests you, your family, and/or your friends!

First Days

In SAGE Quest, YCM on June 19, 2012 at 6:12 am

June 19, 2012

A day of firsts defines yesterday.  The summer after-school program began (our latest start ever…snow days kept school in session longer than normal).  And the first workgroups of the summer arrived and began working on a number of projects—one of which is clearing a lot where we will build a home destroyed by the 2011 February fire!

Metamorphosis: Walking The Line From Volunteer To Server

In SAGE Quest, YCM on September 18, 2011 at 4:38 pm

September 18, 2011

There are days when falling all over one another is a good thing.  Volunteers plowed their way through installing doors and trim, covered windows for interior painting, laid underlayment, and engaged in a little painting.  Having such a list of jobs going on all at once can only mean, eventually, everyone meets in the hallway.  What happens when folks trying to paint, lay underlayment, and install a door meet at the same time in the small space of hallway—each wanting to get their job done?  Relationship…and something more.  In the space of hallway, folks begin to get a glimpse of something more than volunteering.  There is a sense of change from volunteer to server.  As if one walks away from, the I feel good of volunteering, into relationship where caring for my sister and brother overwhelms and server emerges.  Who knows?  It might be my imagination, but I think, at least I choose to think, servers are sometimes born in a hallway.

Texture and Fence: Shaping Interior and Exterior

In SAGE Quest, YCM on September 17, 2011 at 7:16 am

September 17, 2011

Today is the Blitz Build’s last official day (much more to complete after today—so, if you would like to help during the next week or two, we can put you to work!).  A lot of prep was done yesterday for today.  From a run to the dump, to cutting trim-work, to texturing the interior walls, to placing posts for a fence, folks were busy.  Today finish work begins, and then tonight the first coat of interior paint goes up, with a second coat tomorrow!

Rebar and Concrete

In SAGE Quest, YCM on September 16, 2011 at 7:39 am

September 16, 2011

Yesterday the painting of the home’s exterior continued along with the second coat of mud on the drywall.  Late morning a concrete truck arrived and the front stoop and garage slab were placed.  Then during the afternoon, folks began cutting trim for installment on Saturday.  A busy Thursday!


Drywall and Mud

In SAGE Quest, YCM on September 15, 2011 at 6:52 am

September 15, 2011

Thanks to a group from Blaine Memorial UMC we have been able to make a push and now have drywall mud on the walls and the better part of the exterior painted!