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On balancing: 
     One of the struggles we face at Koviashuvik is balancing the desire to create programs and work with the public, with the physical needs of family, home, garden, and facilities.  When a building needs a roof and rain is falling, it becomes a pressing issue!  Financially, we have not yet reached the point where programing makes enough money to hire workers. So we do it all, and some months go by during which we don’t get into the office much.  The good thing is that, in the end, we uphold a way of life that allows Koviashuvik to be genuine.  We don’t just teach how to eat acorns, we put in the days of harvesting and countless hours of processing that allow us to live the way of the acorn. 
     Koviashuvik is a lifeway, and in the upcoming year we have decided to focus our efforts on three programs that truly share this lifeway: The Family Sustainability Stay, The (NEW!) Simple Life Internship, and The (NEW!) Simple-life Immersion for Schools.   These programs provide first-hand experience of a life wherein daily needs are met straight from the earth.
  For youth, in particular, it is so important to connect with this “real” world.  How can our next generation of policy makers come to decisions regarding bio fuels, chip mills and ethanol, if they have never gathered a handful of twigs, lit a fire, and boiled up some potatoes?    We are honored to be among the ones who hand them the match and, once the twigs are burning, ask, “So where did the energy for those flames come from, anyways?”


“The work of intellect is to examine, develop and express the place of human beings in the world.  This work cannot, however, exist without humans being in the world.  Make fire, carry water, plant seeds…….”
-Chris Knapp


 
Apprenticeships:  Big thanks to Ben Spencer who spent the spring with us and grasped so wonderfully the importance of the little things as well as the big.  For Ben, eating dandelions and dumping the compost bucket became acts of deep affirmation.  Ben was a hard worker, a deep thinker and joy to be around. Thank you, Ben!  It was during this apprenticeship that we made the decision to formalize the apprentice model and thus was born the Simple Life Internship.  Ultimately, we seek to align this educational opportunity with a local university much like our former University of Maine at Farmington’s “May Term” which, sadly, was discontinued this year when Dr. Eason moved away to be near family.


The Year in an Acorn Shell:                                                                                                                                             
School Programs:  Koviashuvik continues to do day programs for public and private schools.  This year we worked with two new schools, The Bay School from Blue Hill and Georgetown Elementary from Georgetown.  Programs involved a lot of hands-on activities including acorn pounding, corn shelling, string making, shelter building, even birch-bark bracelets sewn with roots that students dug.  All good ways to get hands dirty and hearts giving thanks.
Kroka Expeditions’ Vermont Semester Program For the first time ever Koviashuvik hosted the Vermont Semester program.  It was an honor to have this program “break in” our new classroom, and a joy to see the building comfortably accommodate, feed and educate a large group of wily and wise teenagers.  While here, the students wove pack-baskets, honed knife-sharpening skills, processed acorns, baked bread, felled and carried cabin logs out of the woods, and created a theatrical presentation for our local schools and beyond.
Brown Ash Pack Basket Weekend: Continuing to be a signature Koviashuvik class, in 2016 we saw full attendance including three mom/child duos! Lots of great baskets walked away on the backs of happy people.
Kroka Expeditions’ Staff Training:  Dedicated to keeping traditional knowledge and handcraft a strong component of its already amazing programing, Kroka sent its entire summer staff to Koviashuvik for a multi-day training.
Coming in 2017:
Koviashuvik’s Simple Life Internship
Family Sustainability Stays
Expanded School Programs
Kroka Expeditions brings its Arctic Dreams Semester for two weeks to Koviashuvik
Day and Weekend classes: Wild Greens, Spoon Carving, Acorn Processing, Pack Baskets
Springtime Open House

 
Knapp Family Home Life:
     When Ashirah and I started here we built a little cabin, thought we might live in it a few years, then build something bigger and turn the cabin into a sauna.  Eleven years later we have built a root cellar, apprentice lodge, workshop space, classroom, Family Stay camp, outdoor kitchen, subterranean greenhouse, goat barn, and beautiful public outhouse.  There is still no sauna and we are still in the cabin!  
     This fall the universe pulled a little divine intervention.  Ashirah and I were up late discussing the kids’ asthma and I said, “Step one is to do a deep clean of the entire cabin.” About three seconds later Ashirah stumbled in the dark and our large-sized fire extinguisher starting emptying its contents into the room!  The house, everything in it, and all of us were coated with chemical dust! 
     Thus began an epic reorganizing and cleaning, leading to many ideas about how best to live with two adults, two kids and a business in less than 300sq. ft. We’ve now got a new cook-stove, bigger sink, reorganized office space, new bookshelves, and different systems for clothing storage.  It was also the Knapp’s first foray into house paint (purple is nice,) and there was a whole lot of quiet disposal of kids’ unneeded stuff!  
     During the Great Cleanup we relocated to live for a month in the Koviashuvik classroom and, as a side, got to experience life in a home that actually has enough room for everything.  What we discovered was that kids just get louder and messier to fill the space!  In the end, the Knapp cabin has not gotten any bigger, but it feels a lot more spacious and every item has a distinct purpose. 

    
Ashirah is working “off the farm!”  She does in-house care-giving for two elderly women, and enjoys the experience of interacting with people in whatever way they need.  She also successfully raised a bunch of rabbits on pasture and is preparing for our two Nigerian Dwarf goats to kid in spring. Thanks to our neighbors the Ketchums for the loan of their buck goat, “Handsome”!
     Chris is grateful to be where he is: in the process of creating a great facility, enjoying being a homestead dad, and having opportunities to teach.
     Owen and Bee are both at our local public school and doing very well.  Bee has begun to play the piano, is amazing at making friends and thinking about others, and faithfully cares every morning for our buck rabbit, “Okapi.” Owen reads 18th century art history as though it was a comic book, tends the ducks, and just achieved his yellow belt in Jujutsu.  Everyone loves the chance to hang out with Mom or Dad and play games…
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