Category Archives: Village

4th Week May 2022: still planting, weeding — AND BEGIN PREP FOR NEW YURT!

PLANTING

On Tuesday four podmates prepared the raised bed in front of the third house and planted sweet potato slips there.

Daniel displays one of the “slips” with puppy Shadow, bottom right, watching.

Come on, Marita, Evaan, Daniel, and Aya, SMILE for the camera! (Evan, BTW, is here only for one month, about to take off for legendary Findhorn, in Scotland, to take a Permaculture Design Certificate course!)

I prepared a tiny bed and sowed spinach. Joseph, our go-to guy to remove any emerging poison ivy — he’s only mildly allergic — was hard at work. Thank you, Joseph!

Friday morning work party, more planting, this time peppers. Marita and I focused on removing vines, especially kudzu, which is trying to take hold here under the giant maple tree.

Meanwhile, the many sudden drenching thunderstorms have us wondering whether we really do need to take the seedlings in and out of the greenhouse over and over again. Did we do this in prior years? Don’t think so, or only rarely. Are there more sudden, strong storms this spring? 

YURT PREP

The yurt is to arrive June 1, from campingyurts.com. A long-held dream of mine (I lived in a 20-foot yurt in the Tetons for twelve years before coming to Indiana), the yurt will be a sleeping place for visitors, woofers, and so on. We decided on a 12-foot diameter yurt with 10-foot high ceiling, mold resistant marine canvas, and another cover over that in case of heavy rain. Other features too, like the number of windows, type of door, etc.

We will put the yurt on a platform, and set the platform at the northeast corner of the Overhill house back yard. We’ve had to remove or reduce several garden beds to do it, but it seemed like the most logical place. Even before the platform is built, the corner wall — an awkward, hard to repurpose remnant from the long strange, even fascinating, shadow-dancing story: the Cob Oven Saga — which has been standing about four feet out from that corner for years, has to be moved back. That will take a number of people to accomplish. But even before that can happen, we knew we’d have to eliminate what remains of a tree (plus a bird house, unfortunately), since both are obstructing any effort to move the corner wall back . . .

In any case, this whole project is my idea, and so I’m the one that has to make it happen. I asked neighbor Devin at our Community Dinner nearly two weeks ago, if he could cut down the tree. He agreed, in exchange for “two-hearted ale, glass bottled.” Okay!

That weekend rolled around. Nope. Several days ago I sent a pleading email reminder, and he responded, saying yes he would do it sometime this weekend. So yesterday (Saturday) morning I went to Big Red Liquor to get him not one six-pack, but two . . . And, when I got home — divine timing! — Devin was just arriving, with his electric saw. The tree turned out to be not so easy to cut down, but he got ‘er done, and luckily the bird house was not in use this year.

THANK YOU, DEVIN!

I’m thinking that when I send out the announcement to the Green Acres Dinner List Tuesday for this week’s 7 p.m. Thursday Community Dinner, I’ll include a request that anyone who is physically able, would you please come 30 minutes early and help us move that damn corner wall back four feet? It will take the coordinated effort of about six people. 

I’m going to sweeten the request by telling anyone who agrees to help that he or she can spend a night in the new yurt, once it’s up, likely by the end of June. 

 

 

April 19-24, 2022: Hilarious Discovery at Community Dinner, plus Garden Plantings and Pallets

Before this typically delicious Community Dinner, Thursday evening, Dan (facing the camera) — who lived here for five years, and my trek-mate for Easter Sunday’s outing, where he took photos of an entire list of what are called “ephemerals” (short-lived spring perennials) — sprung a surprise on the smallish group that had gathered for our weekly meal. “We need to go outside and see the trillium and bluebells, right in the Overhill front yard!” WHAT!

YES.

Trillium

Bluebells

These are two of the same perennials we found on a path in the woods around Yellowwood Lake, probably 25 miles away. They’ve never sprung up here at home in all my 18 years in the midwest.

 

Above, one more bluebell, hard to see, at center bottom of the leaves. (Wait a minute. Is that really a bluebell? Or is the other one, with no leaves showing, not a bluebell? Or does the bluebell flower come up before the leaves? Confused.)

Our work parties this week mostly focused on planting seedlings grown in the greenhouse. Our two rotating, worm-composting patio Garden Towers, planted last week with lettuce, got their compost tubes refreshed, with Marita doing the hard part: pulling out the compost made in them last year, and then washing off the trays and drawers.

The next day, I put new table scraps and newspaper strips plus worms from our worm gardens in the empty tubes to get the tower composting system going again. We have yet to decidde what to plant in the tops of these towers.

Joseph, Daniel and Aya focused on the main garden, planting bok choi on Tuesday, kale on Friday.

Notice the compost area in the background. Very productive (thanks, Marita!) but gross, falling apart, and right by the main garden gate (which itself needs to be fixed). We’re going to move the compost area to the back of the third house, and put a table inside the main gate, to hold extra vegetables we grow, to sell or donate to people who walk by. Probably put a chair or two out there as well, for a little neighborhood sitting area.

On Tuesday, Aya and I took her partner’s aging truck out to get ten new wooden pallets to make the compost bins, from the warehouse where Garden Towers are stored before being shipped out. (Damn. Forgot to bring my camera, as it’s a fascinating place. BTW: My son Colin Cudmore is the GT inventor.)

The arugula, planted two weeks ago? —  is finally sprouting. YES! Daniel is thrilled, says he’s been checking that bed daily, giving the seeds love, love, love. 

 

April 12-18: A Photo Diary, In the Garden, Inside Dinner

This place flourishes, especially from late spring on, when we can both start to hold our weekly Community Dinners on the patio and not worry about overnight cold zapping newly planted seedlings.

Last week was a rollercoaster, and it continues. Down to near freezing last night, and yet projected to be 80° by this weekend.

Work Party Tuesday, April 12:

This was the day we began to direct seed some plants outside — besides 2019 peas, which Annie direct seeded several weeks ago, but only one of them sprouted . . . 

Aya and Daniel (with my help) prepared, dug out an alley with two sides, and planted two new beds for direct seed arugula and spinach. We added our newly made compost to each row with the seeds, and covered lightly with straw mulch, hoping to discourage birds!

Plus, we took out the greenhouse seedlings for the first time for a few hours to “harden off,” i.e., get used to wind, etc.

April 14, Community Dinner

Inside, at the second DeKist house. About a dozen of us altogether. Warm. Good conversations, and plenty of food, as usual.

April 15, Work Party

Continuing to plant out the hardier crops. Daniel, Aya, and Joseph planted lettuces in two Garden Towers.  Marita and I cleaned out the worm bins, and I agreed to take over the weekly worm bin weekly for now, asking occupants of all three houses to please remember to separate out citrus, onions, and garlic (worms don’t like ’em), before handing kitchen “waste” to me. 

Aya, Daniel and Joseph prepared a bed for bok choi and other tiny cabbages.

 

April 18: COLD!

Luckily, we had prepared to cover newly planted seedlings if needed. Yes. For example, last night, Garden Tower lettuces . . .

. . . and the bok choi.

So dreary! Last night Marita started a fire in the greenhouse again, and Daniel fed it again, around midnight. This morning everything looked okay in there.

Green Acres Village, April 10, 2022: Community Dinners return, paired with steadily growing greenhouse plants.

Once again, Tuesday morning work party . . .

But the big news this past week is that on Thursday we restarted our weekly Community Dinners, after a four-month sabbatical. Yet even on that occasion when I impulsively invited folks out to the greenhouse to check on the condition of the plants, everyone eagerly agreed, leaving ale, wine and appetizers behind. That was exciting!

Then the fifteen of us present “circled up,” as usual, holding hands in a circle; and since everyone else seemed too shy to volunteer, I  said the blessing, mentioning a recent occasion outside of Aldi’s on a rainy day when a tiny old woman approached me with an umbrella, saying she keeps extras in her truck. “Do you want one?” Since I had a raincoat on, I declined, but thanks so much for the offer! She grinned. I grinned. And our day was made. 

Just about ten minutes into the meal I remembered to take pics. Just a few, quick, on the fly.

By the way, Sierra, on the right above, told me that we might not see her again, since she’s about to take off for India for the summer, and will move to either Ann Arbor or San Diego for a doctoral program in the Fall. Living in an academic town (Indiana University, Bloomington), such comings and goings are, unfortunately, for us who remain, typical!

Friday morning found Marita in the greenhouse, off to the side, transplanting.

And of course, Daniel, who tells me, with a giant smile, that he checks on the plants three times a day, he loves them so much. And yes, you can tell they are loved!

But then, oops! Today at 11:00 AM I went out there to take pics for this post and found both doors still closed, heat mat still on, fan off, covers on the tomatoes, and lettuces, and the temperature in there was 100°! Yeeks! I opened both doors, pulled the plug on the heat mat, uncovered the plants, and turned on the fan. Then came back inside and texted everyone about this, saying once again, that without a list in there of who is to water on which days, I didn’t even know who to remind! 

Instantly, Daniel texted me back. It was him. I presume my text reminder will prompt him to actually print out the list? (Or I will, hell! Just email it to me!)

Then, when I looked at the photos I took out there I saw that I had not removed one of the covers! So I went out and did that, noticing that the temperature, after that short amount of time (ten minutes?) had already dropped to 90°. 

Here’s the photo that showed me where I screwed up!

So while it may look like all is running smoothly out there in the greenhouse, know that we are all fallible, and that plenty of zagged human dramas accompany the steadily growing plants — which don’t seem to even notice our strange ways. Or maybe they just forgive us? Could be. If so, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my wild heart, dear plants, and dear natural world, and dear universal light/love that powers the entire panoply of Life here on our beloved Mother Earth.