Category Archives: Urban Farm

December 7, Community Dinner with new dogs, plus work continues outside

Community Dinner, December 7th, followed two weeks of no dinners. Thanksgiving took us  all in other directions. Meanwhile, this last dinner featured lots of food, 18 people, and FIVE DOGS. Yes. You got it. Five. Two of them are new to the village. One lives here, the other lives with Mariella and her kids a few blocks away. Their squirmy presence among us was both fun and heartwarming.

Here’s (most of)  Hank, a yearling rescue rat terrier, whose primary caregiver is Dan.

And here’s Griffy, named after Griffy Lake, just north of here, where puppy Shadow and I often walk. Mariella walks there too, or runs! And Griffy, already, has begun to follow behind with no leash. Only ten weeks old, he will end up humongous: half Great Pyrenees and half Bernese Mountain Dog (I think she said).

Griffy is calm. But he’s still a lot of work! As Mariella will attest. (Not quite potty trained.) She wants daughter Asiri (above) to step up to the plate and take more care of him.

Hank is a nervous bundle of energy. In fact, one guest pointed out that it seems odd for nervous Hank to be calm Dan’s dog. Said Hank seems more akin to Logan! Here he is, nosing Logan:

The other three dogs, Rebecca’s two very old Jack Russells and my little middle-aged Shadow, don’t seem to mind the new additions. Plus, Logan and Dan are talking about doing an “Animals of Green Acres Village” calendar . . . for Christmas.

A few more shots from that evening:

Next Thursday evening I announced that we are going to celebrate the December birthdays of our two village elders: Rebecca and myself. Rebecca to be 64, was actually born on Thursday, December 14, and me, to celebrate 75 years, born on the 19th. Told everybody it was to be a surprise. That everyone needed to have some kind of a surprise for us both.

Then, two weeks away, we will celebrate Winter Solstice on December 21, which also happens to be on our regular Community Dinner evening. Mariella, Katarina, and possibly Brianna are in charge of the ceremony. All we’ve agreed on so far is that the evening is to include some kind of Festival of Lights, as well as a back patio fire with Smores.


Outside, still working on the gardens. Dan dug up old paths, put the dissolved chips, now transformed into dark rich soil, onto the garden beds, and then added new chips, from our new pile. Now we’ll have to add leaves or straw to the beds, since we don’t want any bare soil showing.

We thank Duncan for this idea. Amazing, how everybody that flows through seems to add one more good idea. Another example, Jim, from a few years ago, whose obsession with hugelkultur became our own.

Harvest News and more: Garden Tower planting, repurposed SWAT team tank, Army/Navy store purchase, dinner in the dark, and tiny shroom altar. YES!

If you recall, we had a work party in the dead of night last Tuesday evening filling Garden Towers with soil.

On the morning after, Rebecca started to plant the Towers with the greens we will eat this winter.

Meanwhile, Dan went on the hunt, and landed an insulated food carrier from the Army/Navy store for $50! (Internet price: $150.) This contraption is to work as his new tempeh incubator.

That afternoon, Dan harvested all the rest of the basil, and made pesto.

Speaking of which, all the rest of the vegetables, except for kale, need to be harvested by tonight, since the temp is supposed to go down to 32°. Last night’s work party featured harvests, of peppers and (still green) tomatoes.

I’ll get what remains of tomatillos and summer squashes this afternoon.

Last Thursday’s community dinner featured a guest and his unusual home-on-wheels. Chris is presently working as an agent for the woofer website, documenting woofer sites in the Ohio Valley. We are one of them. He took lots of pictures of the place. Meanwhile, I took lots of pictures of him —

— and his home, an old SWAT team vehicle!

What a great repurposing job! He painted it over, but you can see through the paint.

The truck (or is it a tank?) is huge, expensive on gas, but features a million-mile engine (with 200,000 miles on it now), and cost him at auction only $4475. Wow! He reworked it himself for his comfort, and as you can imagine, gets lots of stares as he tools down the road.

While taking a picture of the right front door, I saw something sticking from the handle . . .

What is it? Aha!

Love the artistry of the dirtied hands.

Unfortunately, nightfall was just around the corner, and by the time we ate, it was pitch dark.

But, beforehand, I did manage to notice the little altar Rebecca has created from the vast shroom that erupted out of the old elm stump. Remember it from last week’s post on Thursday evening dinner?

Well, now it looks like this:

Zooming in . . .

Yep. It’s the little things that count the most.

Here we go! Weekly community dinners begin again, YES! — plus compost struggles, and string bean tale.

This summer, we took three months off, rather than two months. And it was a wise decision. Not only were we ready and willing to start again, but by this time we were excited!

Plus, our dear Brie, who used to live here, was back in town for a few days.

Here she is, preparing the patio for Thursday evening’s commencement, Rebecca in background.

Plus, it was our dear Dan’s birthday. 26 years old! He had wanted an introspective birthday. Sorry, pal. But he did get a solo walk in Griffy Lake woods before the start of the party. So He grinned and let it all happen on schedule and with his special birthday song, of course! Also a birthday cake.

Plus, given that we have a plethora of unripe tomatoes (we got them in slightly late, and it’s not been hot enough lately for them to ripen),

he decided to fry up some green tomatoes in cornmeal for his contribution. Yum.

Meanwhile, as usual, the two tables were loaded with food for the 25 folks, all total, who showed up, including seven girls and boys, ranging from the age of one month to teenage, most of whom tended to sneak cupcakes while playing hide and seek throughout our extensive gardens.

“Asiri,” I commanded to one of the girls: “Make sure the kids don’t step  in the garden beds!”

“Oh we don’t!,” she replied. “That’s the RULE.”



From now until mid-June 2018, the weekly dinners will be held on the patio until it gets too cold, then back inside, one of the three living rooms in one of our three homes — unless of course, someone else in the hood wants to host one!

I totally forgot to take pictures of Tuesday evening’s GAV work party. Just know that we had several projects going, including digging a trench, and clean up of unwanted plants. Two young visitors, Peyton and Christina, who live in Bloomington but found us through the woofer website, came to meet and to join us. And returned two days later for the dinner. YES! Welcome to the village!

I did get pics of our two compost buddies, Dan and Sam, here all geared up:


Ye gods, how do you start that thing?

It took awhile, like twenty tries? Thirty? Forty? Until finally . . . yes, here goes, sawing through the brambles to make more compost.

They had already tried the new (to us: from Habitat restore) mulching machine.

Thirty tries, and the machine kept breaking. See it? On the right of photo below.

O.K. From now on, use the mulcher only to chew up leaves.


Oh, and BTW: Rebecca came in the other day to tell me that I shouldn’t have given the long old string beans to the chickens. That those are heirloom “string” green beans, and she wants to save them  for SEEDS.

“Oh!” I responded, “you mean that’s why I kept having to spit out strings when I was trying to chew them?”

“Yes! Haven’t you heard of ‘string bean parties,’ where farm women used to sit around together stripping the beans from the string beans?”

Nope. Completely new to me.