Meet a Westsider:
Nikolai H. Woolf

Profession/Occupation... I'm a writer and editor, natural builder and urban farmer. My day job involves much staring at a computer, while my weekends are full as I lead natural building workshops, primarily in the form of cob (clay, sand and straw).

What I like most about the Westside is... the people and the history here on the Westside. Everywhere you go, chances are you'll run into a neighbor. The place also imparts a certain sense of freedom that's not so present in other parts of town.

If I could change anything about the Westside, it would be... the constant hum of cars rushing down Highway 24. I do appreciate the easy mountain access the highway provides, but a little more quiet now and then would be nice.

A good movie I’ve seen recently is... “Back to Eden.” It's a documentary about a man up in Washington state who got fed up with tilling the soil and sought ways to simplify growing food, hoping to find the way it was in the Garden of Eden. He found the answers in wood chips and now has a 30-year old orchard that he's never had to water or fertilize. His work and humility are inspiring.

I'd like to discover... A way to live without having to stare at a computer for any length of time.

If I could meet someone famous, I’d like to meet... Ron Paul.

The next time I travel, I’m going... Paonia and the surrounding area. Not only is it gorgeous there, the drive out takes you right through the Rockies.

My favorite childhood memory is... There are so many, I can't pick just one. I grew up in the Air Force, so we were always moving, always starting over. Camping in a snow cave in the middle of a northern Maine winter stands out. Don't do that much these days.

My favorite spring pastime is... Planting seeds, nurturing the garden, watching plants grow and transforming mud into buildings and ovens.

Something good I’ve read is... “The Sheer Ecstacy of Being a Lunatic Farmer,” by Joel Salatin. The man is a modern day messiah for the local food movement and the shift away from industrial agriculture. Hopefully it won’t be long before Salatin's lunacy becomes the norm.

My pet peeve is... When things don't go back where they belong. There's enough chaos around here as it is.

If I didn’t have to work for a year, I would... probably do the same kind of thing I did last time that happened and go build a cob house for my family.

Enjoy living on the Westside? You can tell the world why! Call our ‘Meet a Westsider’ editor at 471-6776.