With social distancing being our new normal and having our grandchildren for 7 days we have taken this opportunity to teach them a few things in between their online schooling. We worked with them as we planted potatoes, asparagus, onions, and rhubarb. We have a trail in our yard and they have hiked and biked it and recently we took them rock climbing for the first time on a small ledge in our yard. We live on the continental divide and it is a wondrous place. It backs up to Mountain Bridge Wilderness and it is wild. They have learned to make homemade noodles and pizza in our wood-fired pizza oven. It is a joy to mentor them and spend time with them. We have also spent a lot of time on the phone checking in on neighbors and family. It is nice to have conversations instead of text and emails, which we get occasionally when we drive to wifi access. I am deeply touched by the amount [...]
Five years ago at this time, John and I were not cutting seed potatoes getting them ready to plant on St. Patrick's Day. We were not adding coffee grounds from the local cafe to our compost facility. We did have a small compost pile but we were not working it. Now it is a part-time job for John. Well, maybe not but my husband makes a darn good soil, something I would not have appreciated five years ago. I didn’t think much about soil. I have gardened for years but didn’t understand the value of good soil. I do now. Almost 3 years ago we started having zero-waste potlucks with 8 or so friends and studied the Post Carbon Institute’s online video course Think Resilience. It focused on life after fossil fuels. It was thought-provoking. As part of the study, the course had the group answer the question, “What do you wish you would have learned to do in school?” Almost all of us said we wanted to [...]
On November 7, 2019, a dozen or so of us enjoyed a potluck dinner with Barbara Grimm, principal of Davidson River School, at the school. Barb worked with us on our Use Food Scraps Symposium in March and recently reached out and asked us to visit the school to help them find ways to reduce their waste. What a beautiful school. There were definitely some conversations about how nice it is. As always, we enjoyed a wonderful meal. As always, we brought our own non-disposable place settings and left no clean-up for our host. We enjoyed listening to Barb as she explained the climate change curriculum the school was teaching in December. She asked us for help and ideas for next steps towards waste reduction. Our members were full of great ideas. The school recently received a grant for a greenhouse and we discussed ways they could divert their food scraps to a compost facility, we could help them construct. We have done a few in the community [...]
A friend recently mentioned a book she read, Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I have made a goal to read more so I went to the library and checked it out. Robin is a scientist, a Distinguished Teaching Professional of Environmental Biology and a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. The book compares the scientific communities views on biology to those of her nation. It talks about the community between plants and humans and how they have evolved. It talks about the honor and gratitude they have for each other. She talks about going out in the Spring to harvest leeks. She uses a hand trowel instead of a shovel. While a shovel would make quick work of the harvest it would also shorten her time in the woods. She says, “Not everything should be convenient.” Indeed. In our convenience economy that is a soothing message to hear, more as a form of reinforcement than a new message for me. My husband John and I have changed [...]
Thank you everyone who shared their ideas in our Use Food Scraps Essay Contest. Thanks to Althea for analyzing the essays (she said she teared up when reading them) and creating this fantastic poster AND presenting it to the Transylvania Natural Resource Council today. Thanks to Jinx for funding the printing! What an amazing community we have and how awesome it is when we come together and share our love.
In March, we hosted the Use Food Scraps symposium. A part of the event was an essay contest where members of our community gave suggestions for keeping food out of our landfill. Those suggestions have been used to create a community poster! We received a $100 donation to print the posters and the poster will be unveiled during our presentation to the Transylvania Natural Resource Council this Friday. Many thanks to everyone who made this possible and to Thea for using her skills to analyze these essays and bring them together as a community asset!
What a fantastic gathering at Cup and Saucer September 5th! Thanks to Gail for organizing our visit with them and thanks to Gail for purchasing a sampling of goodies for us to try. I know I am sold after trying their food. We enjoyed meeting Elisabeth, one of the owners. She explained all they do to reduce their waste and asked for input from us. We shared a few ideas and a joint event may be in the works! Pretty excited about it. We will announce more as it develops. Elisabeth shared they use Rooster Head Plantation's compost drop off for their food waste! Woo hoo! A few of us stepped up to take some of their compost. John and I are always looking for food scraps and coffee grounds to help with our soil production. Many thanks to all who made this possible and who shared the gift of community. It makes our world a better place.
Last week, Jacqui of Rooster Head Plantation asked if we could help with their community compost drop-off facility. "Sure" I said, "how can we help?" She told us some of the issues she was facing and we recommended signage and some gates to keep the compost in the bin, especially when the chickens work to mix it up. After enjoying a wonderful dinner, we headed to the compost drop-off site and got to work. James prepared to hang more signs James brought wood painted and ready to make signs and some giant markers. He also brought a drill and screws. We asked who had good hand writing and Justin stepped up and grabbed a marker and got to work making signs to help guide contributors to add wood chips to their donation. Su and Ed got to work turning the compost and soon a chicken joined in and started scratching around the pile. We had the site fixed-up in no time and Jacqui took some [...]
Making biochar at Mountain Speak Outpost and learning as a community how to use this incredible soil additive.
Thanks to Mountain Speak Outpost for hosting our class on making biochar. Thanks to John for sharing his knowledge on making biochar. Biochar is a charcoal that is easily made. It is carbon-negative and has increased our garden’s yield. It also helps us reduce the amount of trash our household produces. We have created ½ bag of trash so far this year. Thanks to everyone who attended and thanks to Althea for sharing these photos! It was a wonderful evening.
Thanks Kenn Webb, the Transylvania County Solid Waste Director, for sharing this manual on composting! It is quite extensive. Farm Compost manual