Ending of the Hootenanny Phase - was it worth it?

Sunday, November 27, 2022 6:19 AM

The Hootenanny will end today with the leaving of Scott and Amy Hartwell.  There are no more gringo visitors planned, and Kate and Eli have just two more days till their return to CA.  The question of whether to add a giant social mixer to a building proiect is certainly worth analyzing for anyone who wants to build with earth.  The process is so ‘open’ to share with people of diverse ages, backgrounds, and abilities, as there are so many little things anyone with a desire to participate in, can help with.  Thus, I’ve found that anyone who comes can add great value to building up domes.

But making a Hootenanny has it’s costs.  Managing logistics, housing, food, beverages, and entertainment for a big group adds to the energy reuired to lift up domes from earth. But I find it a big part of the adventure, and an inspiration to witness folk’s enthusiasm as they work all day to build domes higher and higher.  Since it’s so easy to teach, groups form and learn whatever technical needs (filling bags, tamping bags, cutting and managing barbed wire, running a cement mixer, driving wheelbarrows, etc) from each other. And then these groups get to know each other while the work progresses, because an earth dome project moves along at a steady, though not rapid, pace. Plenty of time to chat.

Watching friendships being made, stories shared, and improvements made to the process is a joy to witness.  And I’ve watched different groups approach the same processes with new innovations, making enhancements occur naturally that we later adopt.  

Finally, the Hootenanny added a neighborly dimension I hadn’t predicted - because so many great people came here to El Cardonal to help, they infected my neighbors with an enthusiasm that I found awesome - neighbors jumped into the project, as well!  Watching neighbors Frank, Mickey, and Teressa jump in day after day to assist has been a joy to witness. And watching my Hootenanny friends share themselves with the local community - all of our local restaurants, El Veciono's bar, the llcal construction workers and vendors who come by - well, I couldn’t have invented better ambassadors for America (and some Canada) or the Tweddale family to the El Cardonal community.

So, yea, to answer my question: is making a Hootenanny worth it?  I can’t imagine building an earth dome project without :-)

Please check out the section ‘Building Crew Hootenanny II’ of the website for an introduction to all the amazing folks who helped me do this project. Our thanks to them all!