Yestermorrow. Subtitle: My Quest to Become a Pioneer Woman

This is going to be the best $800 I have ever spent.

Hands down.

Feet up.

No questions asked.

Sometimes you just know something is right.  And as if the world wants to make sure you get the message, it plays a vintage Casey Kasem Top 40 Countdown on the radio while you're driving home from said right thing.  A countdown from the 80s with Journey and Michael Jackson on it.  If that isn't a divine message from higher powers then I don't know what is.

This evening was my Yestermorrow orientation for a week-long class called Carpentry for Women.  Before I left the house my mom insisted on taking "First Day of School" photos. Yes, I am 34, and yes, I gladly posed. Some traditions never get old. While I didn't have a lunchbox to pose with, I think you'll agree that the level served as an acceptable proxy (see left).

I arrived at the school (located in Waitsfield, and across the street from a nudie swimming hole) not having any idea what to expect. Entirely by design. I like throwing myself into new and potentially uncomfortable situations to test myself.

First up was a campus tour by Kate, the Exec. Dir.  She looked familiar. I'm pretty sure that at some point in my life we have been in a foursquare court together. I think she was in square #1 and got me out with a tough serve. If you aren't familiar with the ins and outs of Vermont, here's a pro tip: we do actually all know each other. It's that small here. When we get bored we play Two Degrees of Ben Cohen or Three Degrees of Phish.

There were 20 of us in the tour group: 10 in the Carpentry for Women class and 10 in the Green Roofs class. Kate showed us all around the main building, which used to be a condemned hotel. Yestermorrow bought the property 12 years ago and has been fixing it up ever since.

After the tour we had some free time and then dinner. WOW. The meal was insane. There's nothing like a meal made out of fresh, local, organic food to get my excitement zooming.

After a bit more milling about it was time to assemble the class and meet the instructors. I was leery of taking a segregated class, but just five minutes into the orientation I cast aside all concerns. For the first time in my life I understand the appeal of female-only courses/schools. It's an entirely different energy, and in a good way. It's supportive. It's fun. And everybody laughs at my jokes. 

There is a woman in the class from Vermont who said that she wants to learn how to build a shed for the "30 horse tractor" she has her eye on. The announcement scarcely left her lips before the entire roomful of women was nodding and sighing in agreement. Meanwhile I was trying to figure out if I could justify buying a John Deere and using it for living room furniture (since I don't have much else to do with it in Oakland).  

A woman from New York plans on building tool sheds and hay bale stations for the farm she works on. My fellow Californian has a dog house on her mind.

Do you know how many times a tech bubble was discussed? Here's a hint: 0.

Ahhhhhhhhh. Refreshment. 

I mean, I love the tech scene just as much as the next Bay Area gal, but sometimes I just need to get out from under it and return to my roots.

The women in my class are smart, interesting, off the grid (some still use dial-up modems, many lack TVs, and virutally none are on FB), and they make me really miss life in New England.  Fun fact: I'm on a quest to feed the New England/Maritime part of my soul this year.  I want to become a more self-sufficient/pioneer women version of myself.  I already learned how to make perogies and bread from scratch; now it's hammer and nails time.

This week my class will be constructing a garden shed for a woman in Waitsfield.  We kick it all off tomorrow with a trip to a mill, lumber yard, and hardware store.  We also get our tool belts and something called a cat's paw, which I can only assume (hope) is less literal than it sounds.