Category Archives: Urban Farm

Village Rhythms: Weekly community dinners harmonize with morning greenhouse seeding parties

The past couple of weeks have gone by in a blur, the weekly winter rhythm of Thursday night Community Dinners punctuated by two or three mornings a week with people in the big greenhouse, seeding.

Dinner, last Thursday night, at the Overhill house, came after our bi-weekly 5:30 Board meeting, where we continue to discuss different models for the legal structure of Green Acres Permacultural Village.

Dan showed off his new American-made overalls.

And my son Colin spent time nuzzling with Stevie.


Meanwhile, the greenhouse! This morning I decided to meet with Rebecca and get the full rundown of what we’ve been planting, all with soil blocks in the greenhouse. Monday and Friday mornings see different people in the GH, one or, more often two, and sometimes three at a time.

Here’s the lowdown on what’s been planted so far, mostly with leftover seeds from prior years, so we have to wait to see what actually comes up! So far everything has.

First, cool weather plants: brussel sprouts, cabbage, mustard, kale, snow peas, beets and lettuce.

Next, tomatoes and peppers, both of which we put on heat mats.

Then, more lettuce, flowers, herbs (thyme, sage, basil, marjoram), plus squash, cucumbers, purslane.

For direct planting (after March 22, the last freeze date), more winter and summer squash, arugula and radishes.

Beans will go in last, after May 1.


Logan and Dan have been out there a number of times.

Christina and Payton have ridden their bikes over here two or three times as well. Here’s Payton, with Hankster, the “demon dog,” Christina in background, mixing soil.


Dan and Duncan — who, except for his arm and hand showing, is camera shy — also spent time recently, at their request (a first, says Rebecca, who is exceedingly glad).

Nathan has also spent time out there seeding, mostly alone, but also with Dan. And Rebecca says Alex was out there at some point, too.

Of course Rebecca remains as Director of Operations, until everybody gets the hang of just what needs to get planted and when, among all the other knowledge that she holds in her body from 40 years of growing food.

I asked her, this morning, how many seeds have gone into blocks so far. Oh, thousands! she said. Some of them, like teensy lettuce seeds, multiple seeds in teensy weensy blocks.

So far, everything is coming up!

Okay, back to the Community Dinner rhythm. Last night’s dinner also served as the inauguration of a new idea, thanks to Rebecca. That’s to have some kind of offering by one of our villagers after dinner each time.

So we gathered at the second DeKist house, where Andreas made a pork with potato and pea Greek dish, that was complemented perfectly by all sorts of other offerings, and ate dinner in small groupings. A number of people told me that they couldn’t make it this week, so I was surprised to find that we still had about a dozen people present.

Afterwards, the much anticipated first event in a series that will continue for the foreseeable future. This one, a demonstration of the Feldenkrais body method. So wow, there we all were, with one light dimmed, stretched out on the floor for an hour, while Alex took us through a process that helped us get in touch with the interstices of our bodies. Very valuable. Thanks Alex! Her website:

Puppy Shadow spent time walking through the bodies, before finally deciding to lie down himself.

Next week? Hmmmm. What shall it be? Who wants to present? I looked around. Anybody? Everybody looked nervous, shy, until Mariella piped up. Ann, why don’t you do a presentation on astrology. Okay?

Okay. I think I’ll look at the birthcharts of Donald Trump and the U.S.A., to better understand Trump, and his possible role in history.  I’m hoping that this may be one way to move beneath the current vicious frozen polarization in the American psyche.


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.

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