|Ranch Status Update|
May 7, 2003
From: Charles Ottenweller
I thought that a few people might be interested in the little developments that I have seen at the Ranch. None of this information is of an artistic nature, but in case you are curious...
The off-season at the Ranch has been busy and fruitful.
During the Fall and early Winter the pavilion (food booth building) was converted into a club. A stage was built, furniture was brought in, and the space was decorated. The building was originally built with a permanent stainless steel bar at the back of the open area, and the walls between the food vendors are removable. In December the roof was insulated and heaters installed, and there were a half-dozen successful public events and semi-private parties with music. It made a cozy meeting place to gather during the work weekends that began in January. Even when there wasn't an official work weekend, there were more than a dozen people visiting on Saturday nights. It felt more like an old inn with Rose providing hospitality and taking care of the establishment. More flush toilets, showers and a Laundromat are in progress, but there isn't any money for all of the plumbing supplies and building materials.
Work weekends began in January rather than after Easter, as had been done in the past. The Octo-johns will be completed before the festival. The slabs underneath, fresh paint and additional ventilation makes them look complete. The slab height was carefully calibrated to match standard plumbing. The back row of crafts booths were torn down, and their rebuilding has almost been completed. It is sad that more of the oak trees have had to be removed. As a pilot project, there 15 to 20 new electrical outlets in the campground along the fence by the ticket road towards the gate. These are collected on a 3 posts, and they will be available for a daily fee of $5 per extension cord to the tent campers in that area. Water was also run to these locations. The Kidsville folks are installing ceiling fans, cabinets and electrical for themselves. The building that Dallis calls home has a new roof, so her clothes won't get wet when it rains. The 5 layers of rotten rolled roofing were covered with a solid insulated tin roof. Rick and I have plans to repair and improve the lower meadow potties during Land Rush weekend. (Let me know if you want to help that Saturday or donate a few dollars towards materials) These are only the projects that I have heard about. There is a 17 page prioritized list of projects ranging from trash pickup along the highway to improvements to Threadgill. The work weekends are a quiet and relaxing time to work and visit with people. www.kerrstaff.com has info.
And lastly, a permanent cinder-block shower building is being built on the slab behind the store. Bill McNeal (sp?) with the help of others has arranged materials and a crew to build the showers. The new showers will have both traditional cold as well as hot showers. Part or the showers will be covered and part will be open to the sun, stars and moons. Bill's group will be taking donations from campers to pay for the project. Even at a modest $.50 a shower or $10 a festival they should be paid for quickly. I am sure that this group would appreciate larger donations as well. The alternative was to spend another few days repairing the old showers before this festival, which would have been wasted energy and money. This group really is giving a great gift of time and energy.
Nancylee has ordered materials for her house, and the framing will begin next week. The goal is to have the house framed and sealed before the festival, so that the finish work can be done during the festival by volunteers.
I am only writing about what I have seen when I go to the Ranch for work weekends. The Festival and Ranch staff and many many volunteers have been working hard year-round to prepare for the party. As an observer for only a short time, I have noticed one thing this year. When talking with people you hear more creative and generative ideas being advanced and more plans being made. The festival has sent out several random requests in their periodic emails, and people are coming forward and meeting the needs. People have organized benefits around the country for the festival and for specific purposes, like the trash truck benefit in Austin this week. A group of women arrived at the kitchen this weekend with a LOAD of food that should last for a few weeks until the festival. The office wanted some Feng Shui help with its arrangement, and sure enough someone pursuing certification needed to do a pro-bono project. The facilities have grown into an interest of mine, so I don't see the administrative and executive, but I understand that heroic work is being done.
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