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 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.

Aug 252017

Wednesday the 23rd was a town day for me and included cheese cutting for a cheese delivery to Seaman’s. I experienced mold when preparing to cut the cheese and was uncertain how to deal with it so I consulted Constantine when I did not find any accessible information in the Google Docs. The following is a transcription of the exchange; I am using PR to represent myself and CF to represent Constantine.


PR: (sent with a picture attached) “Is this mold anything to worry about?”

CF: “What does the other side look like?
And The bottom”

PR: (sent two photos) “Other side is relatively flawless. Bottom had some mold”

PR: (sent 1 photo) “Some mold in box”

CF: “Though the sight of that mold might be looked upon unfavorably by many of our Seaman’s customers, there is some awesome tasting          cheese under that there mold.
I suggest cutting your wedge on both sides if there mold, and generously enough to then cut a half inch or so off the outside of that               edge, and bring it home. You’ll end up with mold free shorter wedges.”

PR: “So cut the wedge 1/2″ back from the mold on both sides?”

CF: “What do you mean both sides? Cut a wide 2 lb wedge top to bottom from the wheel, spanning both sides of the mold.”

PR: (sent 1 photo) “Copy that, I think we will end up with more than 2 lbs”

CF: “Lay the wedge down and cut off 1/2 – 1″ from the widest side of the wedge, with all the mold and side wax on that rectangle, and your          knife never touching mold.
It is suggested to sanitize as needed with quat, knife as well as board.”


Constantine was looking for 2 rectangular pieces of moldy cheese rind with 1/2″ of cheese on the inside of the rind to be brought home. What was brought home was 2 wedges of cheese with mold on the rind. How did this happen? How could we have improved the exchange so that the desired end product was produced?

I think an emphasis on the end product may have increased understanding. Before diving into the instructions for the cuts, Con might have described the end product he was looking for, 2 rectangular pieces of moldy cheese cut from two wedges of cheese, roughly .75″ wide.

I likened this exchange to putting something together from a kit using instructions. Because I did not have a clear picture of what I was trying to build or produce, I misunderstood the instructions and did not know the questions to ask to get me back on track.

Constantine was trying to have me cut one 2 lb wedge of cheese that had a stripe of mold on it, then cut 1/2″ of cheese behind the mold off this wedge, reserve the moldy cheese separately, then clean my knife and cutting board and cut the clean cheese left on the wedge into .5 lb portions for retail sale. As I continued cutting cheese and reached the second mold spot, I would repeat the process I used for the first piece of moldy cheese.

My key misunderstanding was a fixation on the idea of cutting both of the mold spots out of the cheese at once in one big wedge; because of this, I could not adequately process what Constantine was trying to convey; this led me to proceed without a full understanding and to a less than idea end product.


Below I have repeated the instruction that I did not understand clearly and below that have created an edited version of the instructions that I think would have made the instructions clear to me:

“I suggest cutting your wedge on both sides if there mold, and generously enough to then cut a half inch or so off the outside of that edge, and bring it home. You’ll end up with mold free shorter wedges.”

I suggest cutting your first wedge on both sides of the strip of mold on the right, and generously enough to then cut a half inch or so back from the inside of that moldy edge, and bring it home. You’ll end up with a mold free shorter wedge that can be cut up for Seaman’s. Repeat the process when you reach the other strip of mold.

I think these changes to the original instruction would have emphasized that I would be dealing with the mold spots separately, and that I would only be removing as much product as necessary to maximize the amount of product going to retail.

I am hopeful that we can continue to improve our communications here at AO to streamline our operation and promote understanding between ourselves and others.


8/25/17 Cheese Cutting

Aug 112017

Description of document:

The following document is a synopsis of information from the Athens’ Own (AO) intern website pages dedicated to describing AO interns’ “Internship Logs” and guidelines for composing these logs.


3 Main Purposes for the Internship Log

  1. Tracking – Logs help interns to record, remember and reflect on what they have done and what they have not done; logs can be used like a progress indicator


  1. Feedback – Logs allow the intern to demonstrate what they know and allows the intern’s mentor(s) to evaluate the intern’s knowledge; this allows the mentor(s) to offer feedback and reshape the intern’s internship based on what concepts they have mastered and what concepts are yet to be mastered.


  1. Community Outreach – Logs are intended to be a window for the community to look into and learn what AO is doing, and how AO is doing it, and in a way that minimizes the time required of members of the AO team to answer introductory questions such as “What does AO do?”.


4 Main Log Writing Considerations

  1. Audience – Logs should be written transparently and clearly to promote any readers’ understanding of what the author is trying to convey.


  1. Timeliness – Logs should be written in a timely manner, ideally at the end of each work day with Athens’ Own, during the work day if possible, so that the happenings of the day are fresh in the interns’ mind when they write their log.



  1. Concepts and Connectedness – Logs should integrate the interns’ lessons or actions of the day with the larger picture of their involvement with AO, such as the concepts behind what the intern has already done, what they are doing currently, and what they might do in the future.


  1. Do your best – Logs allow interns an opportunity to showcase their writing and communication skills that should not be wasted or taken lightly. Aside from this, logs are not editable after they are posted. Interns must do their best to prepare and post a log including proofreading. If a log is posted with spelling or grammar errors, a new revision or comments to a preexisting log can be added, though any previous versions will remain; this allows a depiction of the thought process behind the changes to the log.
Aug 112017

PR | 8/11/17

Last Sunday, 8/6, Constantine posed a question to me along the lines of “Imagine a door that calls you to open it. What does it look like to you? What form would it take and how would it be presented? On paper? A digital representation?”.

I had many thoughts about how the door might be represented. The Doors of Durin from Lord of The Rings floated through my head as well as The Room of Requirement from Harry Potter. I think the room that the door leads too is important in considering what the door looks like.

I am unsure what Constantine was looking for specifically when he posed the question to me. Was the point of this question simply to gain insights? I thought this was the case, but the question about what medium I preferred made it seem like I might be actually creating the door.

I feel that Constantine wants me to figuratively start opening doors into Athens’ Own, to rooms of further understanding and engagement. I think the doors are unlocked, but I do not think I can clearly see them yet. Maybe this question about the door that demands to be opened will help me with my vision.