Tag Archives: neighborhood-association

2 Pod Meetings, 2 Work Parties plus Blooming Neighborhoods! May 31st – June 6th

Long post! The last week of May through the first week of June has been chock full of activities both onsite and offsite for Green Acres! Without further ado…

May 31st saw us all gathered for a long overdue pod meeting, which lasted the better part of two hours and was continued on Sunday, June 2nd! Many ideas were brought to the table and discussed, especially the idea of community building and bonding over not just work, but activities we enjoy and can benefit from in intentional community. At the end of each meeting, we stood in a circle, holding hands with heads together. A cheer rose up naturally that ended loudly with enthusiasm before we took our leave: WhooooaaaaaHEYYYY! Like a football huddle for Team Green Acres, except we were speaking about the long game — a 2 year plan!

Saturday, June 1st saw Ann and myself at Blooming Neighborhoods Celebration at City Hall during Farm Market, seated in a half circle with a larger community of neighborhoods represented to meet and greet.

Gabbie, Georgia & Ann - Green Acres

Monday, June 3rd Work Party, found us working on the new chicken run after a short new moon ceremony as we said goodbye and let go of the plum tree in the front yard, which had ‘canks’ and would likely not produce decent fruit. Read more about this on Ann’s blog!


Many of the branches were tossed on top of the hügelkultur beds behind my house at DeKist 2 [my roommates: T: Andreas and B: Justin hauling them above], and the rest of the larger branches and logs used for firewood. Dan, however, saved the two lovely pieces below for a creative project: making wooden spoons.


Rebecca [L] and Ann [R] hauling the last of the branches to the back garden. Below, Ann stops so I can snap the ‘canks’ Devin told us about that prompted the tree to come down!


Afterward, Justin and I worked a long while on the fencing for the new chicken run, and behind the coop where there is now a second exit for the chicks. Rebecca and Andreas worked on the opposite side of the neighbor’s fence so they could view the chickens, too!


It ain’t pretty but it works! The chicks were big enough to join the hens this past week.

Thursday morning, June 6th Work Party


I arrived from a pet sitting job to find everyone already busy and as always, a warm greeting from our Smiling Dan! He and I worked to cover the cabbage beds in this photo after sprinkling them with a healthy amount of diatomaceous earth. “DE” is an off white talc-like powder that is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. It’s like kryptonite for bugs and moths who want to eat your cabbages.

L, Justin and R, Rebecca, weeding and working around the tomato cages. In the foreground are the Yukon Gold potatoes we planted back in April.

Where is Ann? Oh, there she is! Spotted in a jungle of jewel weed near the pond:


We tried to get a good photograph of the jewel weed she pulled, up close to capture it’s beautiful translucency. Unfortunately, it doesn’t show well here. I should have brought the good camera — maybe next time!


Back to work — the above Brussels sprouts and broccoli got a healthy dusting of DE, as well — after much weed pulling. We’ve had so much rain and warm weather that they are hard to keep up with. Below is more jewel weed in the back garden that’s waist high. A luscious green path to the back patio!


In closing — the hens love the new chicks and the new chicken run. The second gate has been removed since this was taken. Happy hens mean more eggs! [And quiche, yummm!]


First Annual Green Acres Yard Sale held on an “ambiguous” day

Yep. Wouldn’t you know. Our first annual Green Acres yard sale, scheduled for September 6, and which had around ten homes signed up for selling, contracted to about half that, due to the weather. We woke up in the morning to reports of “50% chance of thunderstorm in the morning hours.” Interestingly, only 50% of those signed up decided to go ahead anyway, most of those on one street, mine, Overhill Drive. It was fun, and lucrative, especially in the early hours when hardened yard salers stopped by. Apparently, they were cruising our street as early as 7 A.M.! I was still in bed, and didn’t roll out until around 9 A.M.

We’ve decided to hold a more comprehensive yard sale next year, with more planning, a festive atmosphere and hopefully, many many more people who want to let go of at least some of their stored stuff.

BTW: I bought a lava lamp, and was gifted with a long gown, which I decided to give again, to a housemate. Neighbors exchanging with neighbors. That’s what we’d like to see more of, eh?

Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos. But here’s one from today, leftovers from my yard sale. I just sent this photo to the Green Acres email list, in case anyone wants free stuff that mostly has to do with encouraging rain from gutters to go far away from the house. I’ll leave the stuff out there for a few days, and take what remains to the ReStore. Also, a few free plants . . .

P.S. It never did rain.


Bi-Weekly Uncanny Project Report: Progress! (and a personal confession)

Georgia collects Rebekka's bags to add to her own for the Uncanny Project's first trip to recycling center, July 12, 2014. Mark the day!

Georgia collects the bags Rebekka collected to the ones she collected for the Uncanny Project’s first trip to J.B. Salvage, July 12, 2014. Mark the day!

Well, well, after three times going out and around, Georgia and Rebekka, the two chief instigators of the Uncanny Project, are finally making some headway with this start-up project to collect aluminum cans from neighbors to take to J.B. Salvage in exchange for cash which will in turn help fund GANA, GANE and GANG projects. YES!

Georgia:  It was fun taking the cans to JB Salvage. Our cans totaled 13 lbs for a total of 6.89 + $1.00 for the small piece of copper pipe for a grand total of $7.89. We’re on our way!


Rebekka: Well, I guess that’s a good start, right? I think we should really start thinking about getting block captains set up. Possibly at the next meeting we could discuss further?


Georgia: That’s a great Idea. I’ll send some info later today about Block Captains. I tried once before and I didn’t do so well so we have to be very diligent this time.

Oops! True Confession time:  I, Ann Kreilkamp, a member of the Green Acres Neighborhood Association, (GANA) Ecovillage (GANE), and Garden (GANG), was the culprit who poo-pooed the idea of Block Captains to the group when Georgia first proposed it a number of years ago. Now I realize it’s obviously a GREAT IDEA, especially when initially fueled by the Uncanny Project.

Mea culpa!


June 29, 2014: Monthly Potluck with Speaker on Disaster Preparedness

Nine Green Acres neighbors met in Georgia and Bill’s lovely “Montana Room” (so named from  their fond memories of the year they spent in Bozeman, at Montana State University). Since I’m a westerner, I hadn’t even noticed that yes, the room does have a western theme! (As does the nearby bathroom and Georgia’s office).


Eating mostly salads on a sultry evening, we enjoyed each other and, at my urging, passed around some  of the wonderful collages that Georgia creates. And that led us to talking about the “ecowarriors” created by Harmony students that are about to go up on the outside walls of the DeKist House next to the GANG garden; how we want to include other art, public art, as we continue our slow, gradual transformation from neighborhood into ecovillage. (BTW: the technical name for what we are doing is “retrofit ecovillage.” In other words, we don’t build from the ground up, but instead change perceptions in our existing neighborhoods towards more of a sharing economy, where we depend on one another for some of our needs, rather than thinking we all have to do and have everything on our own. An example in our neighborhood is the GANG garden.)

Rebecca brought up the idea of having a weekly or bi-weekly get together, where we gather to do our own art, and share it in conversation with others. Weaving, collages, other art, journal work, whatever! We even thought of a name, the Soul Sisters (and Brothers?) Montana Group, since we’d like to meet in that same wonderful room. Joke? Not sure. We’ll see.

This light-hearted focus was a far cry from the intended agenda of the evening, a talk by Antonya Wallace, a new neighbor and AmeriCorps worker with the City of Bloomington. Antonya had presented her “You can build a NEIGHBORHOOD DISASTER PLAN in just 5 steps” to CONA (Council of Neighborhood Associations), hoping that individual neighborhood associations would then invite her to speak.

Well, guess what? She told us that Green Acres was the only neighborhood that contacted her!

(812-325-4159, wallacea@bloomington.in.gov)

She was surprised, as were we. But then we should get used to the idea that Green Acres does seem habitually ahead of the curve. After all, we were the first neighborhood in the city to make sustainability the keynote of our official plan as filed with the city! So apparently, we’re going to be the first neighborhood to actually admit that a disaster could happen — of whatever kind, natural (tornado, flood, earthquake) or man-made (e.g., spilled poisons from a tipped over truck on the Bypass or a train derailment; a crazed shooter, an extended power outage, and who knows what else!) — and it behooves us to be prepared.

Not only that, but as we focus on creating our disaster plan, we build our interconnectivity as a neighborhood — itself the most important thing we can do to help us all feel safe, no matter what.

Here, in outline form, is the summary of the “5 steps” needed to create a Disaster Plan.

First, realize that we need to divide disaster planning into Before, During and After. Most of the planning is, hopefully, BEFORE!


Step One: Define your area: how many households and people? Language barriers? What buildings or safe places exist? Where are the roads, entrance/exit points, hills, waterways.

Step Two: Recruit leaders: two groups — those to help with planning, and those to help with response.

Step Three: Scout your area. What are our threats? Determine our resources (transportation, EMT people, equipment, supplies). Discuss pros and cons of our landscape. Do we have any obstacles that would make entry/exit difficult? And most important: know your neighbors (skills/training, resources, make a neighborhood contact list (with people per household). What are the limitations (disability, elderly, children, etc.). Establish a system for lost/found pets. Establish a neighborhood gathering place. Need a care center for people who need extra help. First aid location.

Step Four: Build your team. Leaders should represent our community diversity (language, age, disability).

Step Five: Plan your strategy. Select leader for the overall effort. Develop an action plan. Establish teams of 307 people (communications, core, materials/supplies, search & rescue, transport, information team, rescue progress team.

This a lot to take in, and while it seems premature to establish a disaster plan now, if and when we are in the middle of a disaster, we will be very glad we did.

Thank you Antonya!

P.S. I asked her to please send us some further links. Which she did, below.

Here are some free FEMA trainings that I recommend:
IS-00022 (An in-depth guide to citizen preparedness)
IS-00394.A (protecting your home or small business from disaster)
IS-00010.A (Animals in disaster: awareness and Preparedness)
IS-00366 (Planning for the needs of children in disasters)
IS-00909 (Community Preparedness: implementing simple activities for everyone)

To access the trainings go to this link http://training.fema.gov/IS/crslist.aspx and type in the code in the bar on the top-right

Of course there are many more but I think that is a good foundation. There are a lot of elements that overlap, so its not too much work. After you finish them FEMA will send you a certification!

I’m not sure what PDFs you want, so I’ll just attach a few, and you can let me know what else you’re looking for!

Here is the neighborhood 5 step plan that I gave you: http://emergency.lacity.org/stellent/groups/departments/@emd_contributor/documents/contributor_web_content/lacityp_024010.pdf

Disaster planning for seniors by seniors:

Overview of animals in disaster:

Preparing for disaster for people with disabilities or functional needs:

What to have in your home disaster kit:


The ready.gov site has a lot of helpful information on it.

Click below for Antonya’s emergency preparedness card:

new site card