Feb 222019



The Athens’ Own Intern Handbook compiles many of the ideas presented throughout this intern website, whether through information AO has provided, or through intern logs. It is the essential guide for interns to follow while working with Athens’ Own, but also contains principles that can help anyone towards their goals. Below is a summary of the handbook:

Guiding principles and procedures include a tailored experience, an interns maintenance of running work logs (for reflection, communication, and progress reporting), mutual learning, a desire for “life-long learning”, adherence to established AO communication systems, open discussion, experiential learning, and development of a personal holistic goal (search the web for Allan Savory and Holistic Management for further info).

Athens’ Own goals for interns are to “awaken”/increase systems thinking, community involvement, networking, and community resilience.

Internship learning objectives include an increased sense of purpose through resilience, holistic and systems thinking, informed decision-making, adaptive strategies through holistic management, incident command systems, the Worker Readiness Certification, and resilience theories/practices.

Athens’ Own expects interns to do their best, enthusiastically participate, improve themselves through “life-long learning”, be humble, respectful, eager, and adhere to established AO communication procedures.

Athens’ Own promises to create a tailored experience, integrate an interns goals with that of Athens’ Own, provide hands-on learning, develop new skills/ideas, certify an intern as a high quality worker through the Worker Readiness Certification and one-on-one mentorship, and increase an intern’s resilience. [End of handbook summary]

An Athens’ Own internship is a mutual learning arrangement, which requires a mutual agreement. Athens’ Own promises to work tirelessly to help interns reach their holistic goals; but, this requires an absolute dedication by the intern to commit to doing their best at achieving the above stated principles and procedures. What are you passionate about? What drives you? What are your skills, your talents? You can work towards all of these with Athens’ Own, while also working to identify and improve your weaknesses along the way. If this sounds like an exciting experience for you, and you are willing to commit to these principles and procedures, the first step of the process of application is to scour and for information.

For anyone thinking of applying to work with Athens’ Own, if you could do anything right now, and you had no obstacles in your way, what would you do? Athens’ Own can be the force to help you overcome the obstacles that are in the way of your goals.

Feb 092019



Beginning a new way of life is always an adventure. It can be exciting and it can be difficult, but it’s always an adventure. Coming from a suburban lifestyle, as a recent environmental science college graduate without a job in my field of study, I was excited to have the experience to learn more sustainability practices and live off-grid. Broadwell Hill Learning Center is located in Stewart, Ohio, and I’ve been living here since November, working alongside Con Faller and his business, Athens’ Own.

Part of the holistic goal of Athens’ Own is to build community resilience. In order to do that, one must be adaptable. In order to be adaptable, one must be open to new ideas. I will admit that adapting to life here has not been easy for me, but it has been a learning experience. I came into this opportunity knowing I would have to change how I live and operate, but I did not understand the degree to which I would need to do so.

Every day, every decision involves the constant consideration of its effects, something I think many of us are not used to. Initially, I was not fully open to this thought process, though I did try. It also involves a lot of continual practice, and is a gradual process. It has been one of many new ideas necessary to learn for life out here, off-grid, and necessary for me to form my own holistic goal. The development of this and many new ideas requires a constant openness and willingness to adopt them into my own life. Without doing so, I would be unable to adapt to this new situation, and miss out on a huge opportunity to increase my own resilience through Athens’ Own.

My time with Athens’ Own and Broadwell Hill has been an adventure thus far, and I know it will continue to be one. Using every day to learn is an opportunity we all have, but it is up to each of us to seize that opportunity. The first step is being open to new ideas. Sometimes they manifest in considering simple, yet complex thoughts; insignificant, yet meaningful actions: what if I didn’t have a thermostat I could just turn up if I was cold?

Sep 262017


Recently, Constantine and I discussed the idea of independence. The main question behind the discussion was “What does independence mean to you?”. This log entry is a reflection on that discussion.

Well before the discussion, I had ideas about independence, I believed it was important to me. I specifically included it in my holistic goal stating “I want to be independent”.

What did I mean by “be independent” though? When I was creating my holistic goal, I was thinking about my life to that point and what had shaped it, mainly what I had allowed to shape it. I was thinking of my dependence on others, especially financially, and socially. I want to be better equipped to provide for myself and to be more resilient; I want my ship to be ready for the storms ahead and I want to be ready to captain the ship alone if need be, that is what independence means to me.

Con brought up the idea that independence might manifest as freedom from the need of something, I agreed with him and drew parallels to the Buddhist concept of non-attachment. Independence in truest form would freedom from the need of anything. I do not think I will be transcending in this lifetime.

I plan to keep “I want to be independent” in my holistic goal, and focus some of my behaviors and systems on increasing financial and social independence; I think chapter 8 in Ann Adams “At Home With Holistic Management” could definitely help with the financial aspect.

Moving forward, I will continue to think about what independence means to me, and what aspects of independence I am dependent on.

Sep 152017

Written 9/15/17

In this log I am reflecting on my experience so far with Chapter 8, “outfitting your ship: financial planning” from Ann Adams At Home with Holistic Management.

As the title of chapter 8 highlights, the chapter is about financial planning in the context of holistic management (hm).

Holistic financial planning makes sense to me for a number of reasons, the main one is that it is holistic goal (hg) oriented. Because of the orientation towards one’s hg, one has increased personal buy-in in hm financial planning because they can clearly see that the financial planning will help them in achieving their goals, not only financially, but socially, and environmentally.

hm financial planning is about continuous progress towards one’s holistic goal through breaking past paradigms and fostering innovation for the future. The chapter also focuses on the importance of balancing income and expenses to generate profit, with an emphasis on planning income before expenses.

I look forward to better understanding the concepts in chapter 8 by applying them to my own finances and I am interested to find out what my planning will reveal to me about my current situation, and my future.

Sep 112017

Workday Outline

Day: Monday       Date: 9/11/17



Time slot: 0830-1045      

Activity: Check-in


Paul and Kathy (PR and KJ) participated in a meeting covering a wide range of topics discussing personal and group goals, qualities of life, and behaviors and systems.


A recognition that a prepared agenda would be helpful to bring to Monday morning check-in meetings to help keep on track with identified goals and projects and stay within time constraints; the prepared agenda would be based off followups from the previous Monday’s events, running project updates, and feedback on bWh related work activities. Another result is that PR recognizes the importance of development of conversation redirection skills.


Time slot: 1045-1100

Activity: Break




Time slot: 1100-1400   

Activity: GIS Project update, dialog on running tasks, dialog on shared goals for AO, bWh, PR and KJ


PR and KJ discussed the bWh GIS Project by itself but also as it related keeping to other running projects and a need to improve task management and accountability.


PR agreed to clarify how he saw his role as part of the bWh mapping project, either in a leadership position as project co-manager or as a project technician in a more applied role.



Time slot: 1400-1600

Activity: Preparations for rain from Hurricane Irma


PR brought in household items as well as tools before rain. PR also transferred invasive plant matter from golf cart trailer to burn pile located near the the north-west cornerof the forest opening along the driveway.


Preparations were made for incoming rain.





  • bwH sub-log topic has been covered by KJ and addressed for now
  • PBW info. has been recorded and will be sent to KJ for entry in bWh manual
  • PR contacted Athens Hocking Recycling about coated milk cartons and gave KJ update. Issue is still being pursued.
Sep 072017

Thursday 9/7/27


Morning – 0800-1130


  • Finishing yesterday’s bWh delivery (transporting gasoline and distilled water to appropriate locations)
  • Log writing and posting (based off yesterdays events)
  • Meeting with Con (C) about delegation to bWh to contribute to work party focused on invasive plant management
    • PR delegated to bWh, Kathy (K) is incident commander.

Lunch – 1130-1200


  • Meeting with K to discuss my role in invasive plant management event
    • PR to clarify specifics of delegation to bWh w/C
    • PR to be educated on brush cutter operation
    • PR to be familiarized with manageable unit of the day (stilt grass management area)
    • PR to begin bWh mapping project, using the stilt grass management area as a warm-up

  Afternoon – 1200-1630


  • Check-in w/ C and K about my delegation to bWh for the day
  • Way-point collection with GPS following K to establish boundary of stilt grass management area
  • Verification of Stilt Grass identification ability
  • Brush cutter education (Brush cutter was not used, neither K not I could get it started)
  • Compost (helped collect and dump compost, loaded trailer with hay for compost bin)
  • Garden work (pulling invasive grasses)



bWh mapping project: I was weary of starting the mapping project as I felt I was relatively unclear of what K was looking for. Based off further explanation and a walk-through, K helped me to better understand the concept of the project and the specific area that was mapped today.

I will follow up with K next Monday on thoughts for going forward with the project.

CommunicationsI felt that communications between myself and K, and between myself and C went fairly well today. There were a couple issues, such as when C brought up the topic of my delegation to bWh. In this exchange, I did not get enough information to be able to clearly explain the details of the delegation to K, which then required a second meeting with C for clarification.



Sep 072017

Written on 9/7/17

Workday efficiency

Yesterday was a full day, despite a late start. I inventoried and delivered to Seaman’s, Bagel Street Deli, Restaurant Salaam, Fusion Noodle Company, and Jackie O’s.

Due to my late start, I ended up delivering to Jackie O’s after the restaurant had already opened. While this was not ideal for me, I was less worried about being a nuisance during my delivery after a talk with Con about my role as a product distributor and collaborator from Athens’ Own.

Aside from deliveries there was plenty to do at the warehouse. I was loading the truck for a delivery when a FedEx driver showed up with 20 cases of chips for AO. It took me 30 minutes to take care of the chips. “Taking care” of the chips entailed unboxing the cases, breaking the shipping boxes down, stacking the broken-down boxes, writing a date on the cases, and stacking the cases for storage. Given there were 20 cases, that is 1.5 minutes per box.

I hope to reduce this time as well as the amount of time it takes me to do other common AO production and distribution activities. I plan to do a better job of tracking the time it takes me to do specific tasks and work to continually improve my techniques with an eye on a more efficient, and possibly shorter, workday.






Sep 062017

Written on: 9/5/17

Today was my second sausage making and I felt more confident in knowing what to bring with me; I had everything ready to go when Constantine asked me if I had checked the sausage making supplies checklist; I had not.

I did remember that Con had the box the night before as he was sewing more sausage bags, but this was no guarantee that the box was ready to go with me to make sausage. This got me thinking about assumptions. How many assumptions do we make every day? How many assumptions do we make subconsciously? How much risk is involved in all of these assumptions? Some food for thought.

Getting back to the food for survival I was making, sausage making was both more and less efficient today.

The session was more efficient in that there were more skilled hands on deck. Since this was not my first time at the rodeo, I was a much better assistant when it came to helping others, and I was better prepared to work independently, which increased my efficiency.


One area of improvement that reduced the efficiency of the process was the sausage bags. Based off feedback from the previous round of sausage making, we noted that we needed to increase the weight of our sausages pre-smoking so that the product would have the appropriate weight after it had been smoked. While the amount of meat I added to the bags increased, the size of the bags stayed the same; this led to many of the sausage bags being hard to seal as there was not much material left at the end of the bag.


Aside from this issue, the rest of the production went smoothly.


To sum the day up, I continued to improve my sausage making skills and general knowledge of meat processing. I recognize my need for better organizational skills and becoming more aware of the assumptions I make so that I can better assess them and reduce the number of high risk assumptions that I make. “Make no assumptions” is one of the 4 agreements of working with Athens’ Own, and it is something that takes continual improvement, as do most things in life.


Aug 292017

I am trying out a new log format for my BWH day entries. The idea is to give a synopsis of my day followed by comments and any additional information I need to convey.


BWH Workday

8/28/17 – Monday

Time                                      Activity

8 am – 8:30 am                 Morning check-in

8:30 am – 10 am                Washed dishes, researched PBW

10:20 am – 12:13 pm      Garden work (invasive grass management)

12:13 pm – 12:43 pm     Lunch

12:43 pm – 1:03 pm        Consulted Con on PBW

1:03 pm – 1:32 pm          AO Business

1:32 pm – 3:45 pm          Garden work (invasive grass management and fall crop planting)

3:45 pm – 4:15 pm          Wash up and prep. for afternoon check-out

4:15 pm – 4:45 pm          Afternoon check-out


Running projects:

  • PBW Protocols write-up (part of bWh systems manual)
  • Consideration of GIS Project (interest, resources available, resources needed)
  • Call to recycling center to get more info about recyclability of wax coated milk cartons
  • Consult Con on setting up a sub-thread for BWH logs


On running projects:

The topic of PBW, Powdered Brewery Wash, came up when I was washing dishes and will be addressed in a later blog post as well as in a bWh systems guide that is under development. The GIS Project is a synthesis of my knowledge, interests, and abilities, as well as Kathy’s, and the forest stewardship goals for bWh.

On communications:

Communications  are an ongoing improvement process at bWh. We (KJ and I) plan to implement a supplementary system of a listener repeating back a message or process that has been described by a speaker so that both the listener and the speaker are in closer alignment on what the intended message is to promote understanding.


I spent most of my day working in the garden preparing it for fall crops. My time in the garden manifested multiple qualities of life for me. I learned more about seasonal gardening, crop rotation, soil pH impacts, companion planting, and plants’ needs in general, which helps me to be more independent and resilient in the case that I must grow or forage food for survival. My time in the garden also helped me to manifest a healthier earth; I worked in an organic garden and learned about ways to reduce pests and plant diseases that might otherwise require an inorganic solution. Overall, I had a good day.

Aug 252017

Written on 8/25/17

On Tuesday I made sausage at Dick’s Meat Packing in New Lex, OH. My day started on BWH of course though. Constantine gave me a box of supplies containing what I would need to take make sausage and some basic instructions.

After making sure I had the box of supplies and boxes for the finished product to go into, I set out for New Lex.

Shortly after arriving, I greeted Rex and Diane and started getting aquatinted with the meat processing room. There were many machines around the room. The machines we used in the sausage making process were a sausage stuffer, a meat grinder, a meat mixer, a bag neck sealer, and a scale. The machine I used most was the sausage stuffer, which Rex taught me how to use.

In total we packed 152 and a half sausages that day.

After packing all my equipment up, I helped load up the AO truck with a delivery bound for ACEnet and set off. After unloading the product at ACEnet I took inventory of all our Athens’ customers and headed back to BWH.

Thinking about the day, I enjoyed learning how to make sausage and getting a firsthand experience of some of the processes and the people that are behind the meat product production and distribution activities that I have experienced with AO. Now I just have to get a tour of the farms where AO sources its meat, and I will have a view from farm to plate.