Category Archives: Village

Early November, 2022: Weekly Rhythm, plus Halloween and a Kids’ Garden Plot

The weekly rhythm here is pretty simple, consisting of two regular types of group endeavors. First, we meet for work parties outside on Tuesday and Friday morning for two hours, to decide what needs to happen, and then to git ‘er done. You’d be amazed how much can be accomplished when four or five or more cooperate on a task with a common goal. Besides, it’s fun! Those whose outside work schedules interfere with our work parties accomplish a designated task alone or with another at other times during the week. 

And second, we host a weekly potluck at one of our three houses (or outside on the patio when seasonal) every Thursday evening at 7 pm, inviting neighbors and friends from near and far. This event tends to be high energy, with terrific food, and done by 8:30 p.m. On each occasion, a brief, intense burst of energy, infusing us with a reminder that we have each other’s back, no matter what. Given the short amount time involved, it’s amazing how many conversations turn deep, quickly. It’s by no means just a polite occasion for chatting.

Here are a few photos from last week’s dinner, early on; more and more friends and neighbors kept arriving; ended up at eighteen strong!

Meanwhile, on Halloween evening I was very much looking forward to trick’er treaters, especially knowing that Ollie and Wyatt, who live just across the street, had been hosting their own Halloween party, which meant that their friends and parents all would come together to my front door for treats.

I waited and waited . . . I could even hear children yelling not far away . . . But . . . nobody came! Nobody showed up! I was devastated.

Their mom Carisa told me the next day that the kids all ran off to get treats without their parents, and that they never even headed my way. So I told them to come that evening, because obviously, I want to see their costumes and I still have my basket of treats! 

Well, that evening they were still too exhausted from the high time at their own party. But the next evening they did show up, in costume — although Ollie’s punk look was missing the purple mohawk hairdo he had sported on Halloween, and little Wyatt, of course, came as Batman!

I love these pics, especially the way Wyatt gazes at his big brother.

And I love the way Carisa and her husband Logan parent their kids. A wonderful young family to have living just across the street.

We give them a garden plot each year, and next year Carisa has agreed to also guide a new generation of gardeners, the kids with their own designated plot just inside the fence. (We were going to do this a few years ago in that same place, but that gung-ho young family moved. So very glad for this new opportunity!)

Here’s the kids’ long narrow plot that we prepped during Tuesday’s work party.




October’s end . . .

We’ve moved inside for our Community Dinners these past several weeks. Likely to remain here until some time in May . . . Thursday evening, Overhill.

We’re still “putting the beds to bed in the main garden.” Almost done! At Friday morning’s work party, Tiger, our apex predator, decided to gift us with his presence, on top of one of the newly cleared hoops.

Now, two days later, last night’s scattered rain and wind showered bright yellow leaves.


October 16, 2022: AUTUMN’S ALCHEMY: Plant, Animal, Human

Remember this photo of corn and beans?

Well, here’s what that garden bed looks like now . . . (it’s the one in front, with nothing there . . .)

Four of us “put the bed to bed” yesterday, during our Friday morning work party. For GAPV, this involves six steps:

  1. Final harvest: in this case an enormous bread bowl full of green beans, plus a pile of already dried up beans for seed.
  2. Pulling up the corn stalks by the root and throwing on nearby pile.
  3. Chopping up the bean plants with a machete and leaving on the bed.
  4. Adding compost from the remains of the old compost station, left over from when the compost was in that location. (We moved it to the back of the third house during a work party early this summer.)
  5. Digging up four to six inches of already trampled upon wood chips on the paths around the bed and throwing that on the bed, raking it even.
  6. Getting new chips from the pile outside the gate deposited by chipdrop some months ago and raking onto the paths.
  7. Oh yes, and we also added leaves to top off the bed.

For winter, each bed thus becomes its own layered composting station, alchemically changing green (nitrogen), from chopped up plants, and brown (carbon), from old, partially decomposed chips and leaves, into new soil for spring planting. Since we’ve been doing this for many years, the soils in the main garden beds are already rich and what’s the word, “friable”? (Loose, easily worked with.)

Each bed will get the same treatment. Tomato beds are likely next (though there’s still a few green ones on there and one large yellow one). 

The zucchini bed will likely also be very soon, despite its new flowers . . .

I’ve already taken some of the Coleus neighbor Devin gave us this summer from the garden to inside the small greenhouse, in a pot. It sprang back almost overnight.

The rest is still quite protected, by seeding perilla.

Monday night it’s supposed to freeze . . .

Okay, but the big news here is also, hopefully, ultimately, alchemical for both my son Colin and his dog Kona, only about 18 months old. One week ago, Kona fell off a 15-foot cliff while out for a hike with Val and Dan. Hearing him yelp, the two of them, shocked, ran to the edge of the cliff and there he was beneath, holding one paw up. Dan ran at least a mile back from where they came from to find where the path down began. He found it, ran that path to where Kona was, picked him up (Dan, 135 pounds? Kona 75 pounds?) and ran with him back that same mile and further, to the car, with Kona scratching his chest the entire way. Luckily Dan has been running lately, so was in shape; however, even he thinks some kind of energy took him over so that he could endure that tremendous feat.

And that was just the beginning. It turns out there is no emergency vet care in Bloomington, a small city of 100,000. You have to go to Indianapolis. Colin and Marita drove to Indy-Vet (one hour, 20 minutes) at about 5 p.m. and didn’t get back until almost midnight. It’s a long story. Kona, it turns out, will have to have surgery, since the break is clean through, horizontally. Colin doesn’t yet have a local vet (they are hard to get, all booked with regular clients). Luckily I happen to have met on my daily walk a mostly retired vet in a nearby neighborhood, willing to consult with Colin. She is going to draw blood today, and send it to three surgeons in three teaching hospitals, two in Indiana, one in Ohio. Hopefully, one of them (they are all very good, she says), will take him on. And then, of course, there’s the recuperation, which will take months . . . 

What is this ongoing ordeal doing for Colin? After mentally and emotionally processing — the ongoing shock, the mounting expense, the constant, detailed attention required, and, as of yesterday, the necessity for surgery — he’s amazed to find himself full of gratitude: for realizing just how much he loves his dog (by his side with one hand upon him continuously for one week now, watering, feeding, medicating, picking him up to pee, poop; transfering him from (required) small cage to outside couch and back again, making sure he doesn’t put weight on that leg etc); for seeing how much help and concern he gets from the people he lives with); and ultimately, for having, in the main, a very blessed life, knowing that whatever the setback he endures, it could always be so much worse.

Alchemy, all around.  

October 7, 2022: Harvesting Goji Berries — and more

Friday morning work party consisted of one tedious task . . . 

Five of us were home. All five went to work. Then Joseph realized he’d be late for work if he didn’t stop and get ready. Came back outside and hugged each of us in turn before heading downtown. Nice surprise! Though I didn’t catch any embraces with my ipad.

So then there were four . . . (Me too, I was working between Val, on left, and Adam, on right.)

This was a first for “city boy” Adam, who moved in several months ago, and works assiduously with us on whatever is required. A couple of weeks ago,  he told me, excited, that Marita, on far left, had started to teach him how to compost!

Here’s Adam, hard at work.

Oops! Still more!

A few days ago, Annie and Marita decorated their porch area in a seasonally appropriate way.

Looks good. However, see the rocks piled on the left of the sidewalk? That used to be a lavender bed, but the neighborhood cats, a long time ago, dedicated it to their own urine. And lavender is supposedly a plant that cats avoid . . ! So Marita took out the lavender, and piled rocks there. That seems to have done the trick; however, it appears now, given the continued odor, that the cats have been using the entire front of the house area. Now what?

Such is life in our “tiny little paradise.”

September 25, 2022: Autumn Equinox and Aftermath

Autumn Equinox this year happened to fall on September 22, Thursday, the very evening when we hold our weekly Community Dinners for neighbors and friends. Joseph set up an altar for our Equinox ceremony, which we performed swiftly, by holding hands as usual during our “circle up!” prior to dinner, and confirming as a group the value of each of us accessing, honoring, and integrating what is hidden (dark) within ourselves for the next three months as the equinox moment of balanced day and night tips over to the increasing dark.

Oops! Yes, that’s my “Wicked Grove” hard cider on the side of the table. Put it down to take the pic. . .

Then we feasted, topped by an extraordinary cream cake from Eva and daughter Sophia, which unfortunately, was gone before I could take its picture!

Notice, BTW, how much darker it is now, at around 7:30 PM . . .

The next morning, Friday, we spent our regular two-hour work party on separate projects. Examples:

Val worked for the second time on her vision for a sitting area and herb garden under the big maple tree, for both ourselves and neighbors.

Unfortunately, she was interrupted part way through by a wasp attack! Or was it yellow jackets? In any case, they erupted swiftly from the ground when she stuck her shovel in a certain area. Luckily, she doesn’t seem allergic; was much better the next day with just ice as a remedy.

Not unusual, this summer, all over Bloomington. We’ve now identified four spots where we must not tread. I myself have been stung, bad, twice, and had to lay low for a few days each time. 

Adam, John and I worked on weeding and mulching the outside corner. Lots of sprouted grass had begun to overtake the area. We were pleased with the result. Notice the rogue squash, front right . . .

Inside the main garden, a lone fig which will likely not mature in time. Year by year, we still hope for a mature crop from two fig trees, but unless “global warming” really is real, we’re likely out of luck. But their leaves themselves, so beautiful!