I continue to be amazed at how much I enjoy our twice-weekly morning work parties. Around 10 AM Charisse texts everybody: “We will meet at this house,” or “we will meet on the patio,” or we will meet in the main garden,” etc. We straggle out from then until 10:30, prepared to do an hour or two of work together, depending on the tasks she sets for us. Most of us make these work parties; a few of us have to “work” outside then, or are in school, but make it up in other ways throughout the week. Some of us work more than that. There’s no limit to what needs doing, especially during this high summer-turning-into-fall season.
This three home village has transformed into a world of its own (first time visitors invariably call attention to this fact: “It’s as if this is another world!”). And part of that has to do with all the big and little outdoor spaces we’ve created here, each with its own function and evolution. Today, BTW, I’ve got to go get some kind of netting, so we can catch the kiwis as they fall from the rafters at this Overhill house . . . Otherwise we just squish them unknowingly, with our footfalls on the porch, or they land on the plant covered ground beneath, never to be seen again by humans. See ’em? Mostly in the light, on the right.
In this compilation, two work parties, plus composting.
WORK PARTY 8/23/19
Three tasks: one group to put fix the chicken house to the point where the weasel can no longer get in (we figured out it must be a weasel that, one by one, killed five of our eight young chicks with a wound behind the head, and then did not eat!). Others to harvest beans and tomatoes. Still others to grind up a bale of straw for a new compost pile.
Fixing the Chicken Coup
Alex gets rid of old, torn plastic, and, using a power tool for the first time in his young life, replaces it with new, strong wire mesh, where we’re pretty sure they’re getting in; we’ve already fixed the holes into the ground from underneath.
I was assigned to beans. And once that was done, took it upon myself to clean out our two worm bins, a truly groady task. Daisy helped. Thank you! (My hands were too dirty to take pics.)
Gabrielle harvested tomatoes and not sure what else.
Chris and Solan ground up the straw bale.
One day later, we all got a text. Solan and Logan (he and his family live across the street, AND THEY HAVE A TRUCK!) were coming in with a load of horse manure from a nearby farm, thanks to Annie’s agency (see last post). YES! Who can help? Chris put on his boots immediately.
New Compost Pile
Straw (for carbon) and horse manure (for nitrogen) were the ingredients needed for the new compost pile, which Solan called for that very day, but nobody could do it. Next day? I put on my shoes and went out to help, so that I could learn how before Solan and Daisy leave for the Denver area at the end of this month.
He tells me that the food waste (of which there were probably 20 buckets worth at that point from the three houses) was just extra — to layer with the carbon and nitrogen. Okay!
Manure layer, followed by food layer, and then straw.
By the time it was done, layering manure, food, straw, over and over again, it was four feet high, the minimum, Solan says, for the pile to get hot enough. (When we ran out of straw, we added dry leaves instead, for carbon).
Then, he says, stick the thermometer in it, and every time the pile gets to 150°, turn it. Shouldn’t take more than six weeks this time of year, and 10 to 12 weeks in the winter. YES!
WORK PARTY August 26, 2019
Two tasks: one group to strip the dried perilla, which began to grow wild here a few years ago, and we didn’t find out until last year, thanks to Jenny, who’s from Asia, and tells us that it’s the world’s best herb! I’ve tried the leaves as a tea. Strongly warming!
Plus another group to continue the work of making sure weasels can’t get in to the chicken coop. (The young chickens have been roosting high up in a tree ever since their horrible ordeal. We can’t put them back in the chicken house (and clip their wings), until we’re sure they will be safe there).
Andreas, Solan, Daisy and me stripping.
Charisse and Camden in the chicken house.
BTW: the chicken house is still not secure. Charisse and Gabrielle are out there again this morning.