This week Los Gázquez has been filled to the brim with 14 British art students and their instructor, Alan. Alan once spent two weeks here as an artist-in-residence and donated a sculpture that looks somewhat like a white multi-floored treehouse/fire lookout. The students are very nice, but set a very different tone here than usual – something a little more like a college party. David was asked to cook a paella for dinner to welcome the students on Monday night, but aside from that first evening our interaction with them has been quite limited. Unlike other guests, this group is self-catered and has come equipped with all of the provisions they need for their stay. They prepare all of their own meals and this means one very important thing to the two of us: NO DISHES TO WASH!
“But David and Austin, what on earth do you do when there are no dishes to wash?” you may ask. Well dear friends, we make firewood! We had very nearly run out of one of the most precious resources here next to water, so this week we made a serious effort to replenish the nearly nonexistent stack of logs outside the boiler room. We took trips into the forest almost every day to process into usable sizes the trees that have been felled and stacked by the national park crews and left beside the access road. In the mornings Simon would drive us out into the woods armed with our tools and supplies for the day: a chainsaw, a jug of engine oil, a small gas can, two chain files, a ratchet, two sets of ear defenders (isn’t that a great name?) and our lunch. He would come back for us later in the afternoon to retrieve us and the firewood we had created. Due to a few unforeseen interruptions earlier in the week (a heavy rain that had us contemplating a squishy walk home, an out-of-the-blue snow storm, a jammed saw clutch that required a visit to the mechanic and resulted in us weeding the courtyard for a full day) we were asked to work Saturday (normally our day off) to make up for lost time. Since we actually enjoy throwing and stacking logs and operating the chainsaw we were more than happy to oblige. In fact, when Simon asked us to work on Saturday and take Monday off instead we were totally unaware that it was already Friday. That’s how much we enjoy our work here. We are happy to see the fruits of our labor (not something either of us got enough of at our previous places of employment) in a nice sized row of firewood outside the boiler room again.
Friday night we made breakfast for dinner Israel-style, and served our host family a meal of shakshuka. Shakshuka consists of eggs poached in a spicy sauce of tomatoes and peppers, though there are many variations and may have originated in Tunisia. Today is the start of our weekend and we had planned to spend a sunny day walking an unknown distance to visit some 14,000-year-old paintings in a cave that is visible off in the distance. Unfortunately we woke to the sound of rushing wind and wet stairs down to the boiler room. The cave paintings may need to be seen another day soon.
Kitty fight (Two Socks and Sooty) on the wood plank upon waking this morning (note the ominous grey sky that is foiling our plans to trek to the cave paintings). See also the rough draft of the graphic for our soon-to-be-designed disc golf course.