Author Archives: akcrone

Mid-March: Apple Cider Making

Dan and visitor (and ex-podmate) Duncan, and friends Brin and Eliot took over the Overhill house kitchen one afternoon recently, and made a massive amount of apple cider.

I asked Brin, where did that juicer come from? Downstairs, they all chimed in. Huh? It must have been left here by a former housemate. Terrific for us!

Afterwards, Brin and Duncan cleaned up well, but left no cider! Hopefully some of it will return when it’s ready to drink.



Mid-March: Work, mostly in greenhouse, with seedlings

Though it’s still spitting winter/spring/winter/spring, with the seedlings needing to be protected at night (fire in greenhouse, coverings for peas) they are growing anyhow, most of them. However, the poor peas . . . Not sure how many will make it. Here’s Justin, watering them cheerfully, while they only barely manage to breathe hello.

The other seedlings, however, are doing very well in the greenhouse.

We’ve held two work parties since last I posted, first with Dan and Solan —

— then with a larger crew, including Solan, Gabby, Dan, and Eliot, a visitor.Notice the grey skies. That’s been the situation. Amazing the seedlings still get (enough?) sunlight through the clouds.

Two more community dinners, and another (likely) “Oops”

Valentine’s Day dinner at 2601 DeKist (“the first DeKist house,” or DeKist 1) I took only two pics, one of them way too dark, and the other one a pic of Mariella’s kids Asiri and Juakim on their screens. They hardly noticed their surroundings, plus she had fed them earlier. Oh well! Mariella tells me that they only rarely get to spend time on their screens, so she let up on them this time.



Last Thursday’s dinner at 2615 DeKist (“the second DeKist house” “DeKist 2), was somewhat sparsely attended. All but four of the nine of us were either out of town or working. BUT: Dear Aaron, who has returned to the Bloomington fold having spent a think a year or so in Asheville North Carolina, is back, and brought a wonderful woman whom none of us have met before. Also, a friend of Mariella’s — damn, can’t remember her name right now — brought another new person, again and woman, can’t remember her name either — and a bunch of us women had a conversation at the dining table that reminded me of the olden days in the 1960s and 1970s, when we women were starting to get to know each other, in a brand new way, beyond the roles we were playing for our boyfriends and husbands. A wonderfully stimulating conversation. Thank you! Here they are:

First new woman, on left, with Gabrielle and Aaron, in background.


Second new woman, in back, on the left. Justino and Andreas in foreground.


Justin’s massive meal . . .

The likely bigger oops came in the past two days, when the temperature plunged to 5°, and our poor peas, just planted, will they survive the ordeal? Right now, early afternoon, it’s 19° and tonight’s forecast to go down to 10°. After that it’s clear sailing, for awhile anyway. Solan popped his head under the double cover that the just planted peas are under yesterday and pronounced them “alive, but stressed.”

I just took this pic. We still don’t dare uncover them, even for a few hours, in this cold.

Work Parties, February: clean-up, plus plantings, compost — and one “oops”!

Let’s do the “oops” first. On February 10, during that extremely cold spell, Solan noticed that the person whom he had told to put the tomato trays on a shelf in the sunlight the day before had NOT put them back on the heat pad that night. HIs fault, he said. He should have checked, and actually, he didn’t tell the person to do it, so he should have done it. Plus, Andreas was supposed to build a fire in the greenhouse for overnight, but since he had never built a fire before, and so would need supervision, Rebecca told him to forget it, the seedlings would be fine so long as they were on the heat pad. Well . . . Yep. That’s the oops! Because of numerous people not going in the greenhouse that evening  for various reasons and inattention, the sweet delicate little seedling tomatoes all died. . . But then, Dan and his friend Emily stepped up to the plate and planted them again that very same day. Luckily, it’s not too late. Live and learn!

Actually, ever since Rebecca left, a few weeks ago, except for morning and evening watering of seedlings and regular caring for chickens, our work parties have been slacking off . . . Rebecca is also slacking off, deliberately, having driven all the way to Nevada, where she is glamping for a month or so in a glorious new Queen of Sheba tent with her two dogs in a desert campground near Las Vegas, where she can go work as a Uber driver, when she needs money. Unfortunately, I can’t find a pic of the tent.

But today, work parties resumed with gusto, four of us, plus Camden, who has been coming to dinner and wanted to join work parties too. The goals: to clean up the chicken yard, plant the peas, and make a new compost pile. All done!

Clean up chicken yard

Justin with chicken wire, lots of it, which we rolled and stacked. The pile beyond on the right is actually the beginnings of a new hugelkultur bed, however, so we didn’t touch it. Notice the new fence!

Plant the Peas

Here they are, on the right front, next to the beets at the end, ready to go out.


Solan, director of this work party, plants.


Camden overlooks Andreas and Justin planting, his water bucket full and ready.


Done! And notice the sticks inserted on the left for the peas to climb. The other side has wire for that same purpose. The peas will have to be covered, with both ground cover and tarp, every time it goes below freezing at night. We found those and stacked them next to the bed.

Making a New Compost Bed

I didn’t stay for this operation, and Justin had to go to class, leaving Solan, Justin and Camden to do it. I did go out to check on their progress mid-way through. It took about an hour altogether, layering leaves, food scraps, chicken poop infested hay, and spent grains which we get from a brewery. No manure for this bed, unfortunately, so it won’t compost quite as fast. Our three houses, with nine people total, all contribute food scraps, so we have lots of buckets. Half way through the operation, these had already been emptied.

And these awaited emptying.

Here we go.

Adding the leaves . . .

The pile slowly grows, layer by layer.

It’s 4:30, time to do my daily yoga, chi kung, and tai chi, then get ready for this week’s Community Dinner, to be held in our regular rotation, at the second DeKist house this evening. Tomorrow I will do a blogpost on that dinner, plus two other dinners from February. Tomorrow we march into March! YES!

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