Category Archives: Urban Farm

Friday morning Work Party, March 22: Life in the Heartland! Gobs of photos

A number of podmates plus one friend (and possible future podmate) Camden, met in the morning and got a lot done in the greenhouse which, at least at this time of the year, functions as the heart and soul of community, as well as growing seedlings. We were repotting tiny plants, getting them ready for the great outside.

Meanwhile, Solan asked me to go to the hardware store and purchase organic soil and organic compost material. Both of us winced to realize that we still need inflows from outside to keep our operation going. Our compost bins are cooking fine, but none of our compost is quite ready.

So I did that. And our big strong beautiful young men picked the bags up off the driveway and hauled them inside.

Meanwhile, Solan (our director while Rebecca is gone glamping in the Nevada desert, now with podmate Andreas visiting for the week), asked Justin and Dan to mulch a few more paths, not sure where, but they did that. Here’s a posed shot:

Dustin and Camden, with Alex watching started to mix another batch of the Eliot Coleman soil blocks we use to start plants.

WOW! I noticed this shroom growing by the path between two of our houses. GREEN! What?

Solan came over and inspected. Aha! “Covered with algae” he said, and pointed to the faint green at the bottom of a nearby tree trunk. Good observation! Following the first principle of permaculture: “Observe and Interact.”

We’re interacting all the way now, baby, and spring has truly sprung. More photos from that glorious morning in the greenhouse, heartland of the Green Acres Permaculture Village.



Work Parties: Tool Care and Planting Seeds

We’ve upped our game. Now we ask that podmates devote four hours, rather than two hours, per week, to our common goal of evolving this permaculture village and urban farm into an living template that will inspire others to do the same in all the suburbs of America! I know it sounds like a big vision. And it is. And why not? What else are we here on this blessed Mother Earth for if not to reconnect with Her and each other? I mean, duh!

Okay, so two work parties this past week. First:

Tool Sharpening and Oiling

We have never done this task before as a group work party.! Yet it needs to be done yearly, in the winter months, when the tools are not being used and we’re twiddling our thumbs waiting to get back to the soil.

Four men and one woman gathered in the DeKist 1 living room about a week ago, and got right down to the task, mending, sharpening and oiling. (They were going to do it in the greenhouse, but it turned out to be too damn cold.)

Andreas, Joshua, and Alex all concentrated on sharpening.


Solan did the fixing, here tightening screws on our post hole digger.

Finally, Rebecca was the oiler.


These tools await sharpening and oiling.

And these shovels are already done, back up on the outside wall. Oops! Notice the tiny unoiled place on the left edge of the middle shovel . . .


Second seeding party 2019

Yesterday, on a very wet and thunderstormy early February day when I, Ann, was almost electrocuted by lightning, and water pooled for the first time in memory in the Overhill front yard . . .

Josh, Andreas, Solan, and Dan gathered in the greenhouse to replant tiny seeded soil blocks into larger soil blocks . . .


Dan took time to rev up the fire . . .


Then they planted these new seeds:


I noticed that a coffee cups had “Mathematical Reviews” on it, reminding us all of my deceased husband Jeff Joel, an Editor at Mathematical Reviews in Ann Arbor, for 17 years, until he moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to live in a 20-foot diameter yurt with me. My inheritance from Jeff, who died in 2003, ended up funding this Green Acres Permaculture Village and Urban Farm. We are forever grateful!

This morning I went out for another look at the situation.

Oooo! Pea sprouts!

The 2019 growing cycle begins, on the coldest day of the new year . . .

10° outside, but the greenhouse was plenty cozy —

— thanks to the fire, which will keep first the seeds, then the seedlings, equipped with a heat mat underneath, all night long if needed.

Photos by Gabrielle.  Solan and Josh, directors of the project, with podmates Gabrielle, Justin, Andreas, and Dan.

Lots of varieties of tomato seed. Also planted a few peppers and eggplant.

Andreas concentrates on coaxing down each itsy bitsy tomato seed . . .



A VERY hot pepper.

Dan takes time off to wrestle with Hank (otherwise known as “Satan,” or “Demon Dog”).


BTW: Justin wants to grow avocados . .  .


(What? In this climate, this zone?) So he filled five planters and planted the pits. Hmmm. I just looked it up, avos thrive in cold-intolerant zone 8, and I think we’re zone 4 now here in south central Indiana. Oh well! We learn by doing.

The seeds all into the soil blocks, Josh sprays to water them, so as not to disturb them from their tiny holes on top of the soil of the soil blocks. Notice the heat mat underneath.




The reward? Omelets, for a group brunch.