Welcome! Green Acres Village is a growing node within Green Acres Neighborhood. Our weekly dinners resume September 14, every Thursday until June 2018. 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. All neighbors and friends invited. You are welcome to visit anytime. Just call or email ahead.

The dinners are not potlucks, but giftings. However, you are welcome to bring food, drink or a donation, if that works for you. In any case, not necessary! Or maybe your guitar or banjo? In any case, come.

Green Acres Village

Want to build community, live sustainably, and, above all, have fun? Life in our growing ecovillage connects you on a daily basis with others who choose to live lightly on the land while deepening their connections with each other and the natural world.

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Green Acres Urban Farm

The Green Acres Neighborhood Garden (GANG) was established in the Spring of 2009, at the corner of DeKist and Overhill, Bloomington, Indiana. In the spring of 2016, while still continuing as a neighborhood garden, it evolved into the Green Acres Urban Farm.

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Green Acres Neighborhood Association

In 2006, in dialogue with the city of Bloomington, Green Acres created an official plan that is featured on the city gov website, and remains as the first and only neighborhood to feature the philosophy of sustainability in its official vision statement.

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Community Dinner, September 21 — and Equinox Ceremony, and more!

I was unable to stay for the duration of this event, but did get to take a few pics at the beginning. And of course, to eat and drink, and to be present for part of the ceremony.

A number of neighbors had told me they were unable to come last night, due to prior plans, but even so, at least 15 people arrived, three of whom are brand new. So welcome Annette, Rachel, and Annie!

It was podmate Sam’s idea to drag out the carpets, which had been rolled up and stored in the shed which, BTW, he had just reorganized. Thanks Sam! And, as he noted, since the carpets are old and thin, they’re easy to roll and store and drag out every Thursday. YES!

After dinner Sam had agreed to do the ceremony for Fall Equinox, which started with his reading of some information that he picked up from the internet on the symbolic meaning of Fall Equinox for us personally. How each person needs to learn to balance two opposing forces within themselves, the “dark” and the “light,” just as day and night are in balance only during the Spring and Autumn Solstices. What must be integrated over the next three months, until Winter Solstice, when the night is longest and the day shortest, is the “darkness” within ourselves, some part of ourselves that seems opposite to how we’d like to think of ourselves, and thus we prefer not to look at; what we sometimes call “the shadow.”

In Green Acres Village, we consider “shadow work” to be an integral part of viable community life. In fact, as I am always emphasizing: we need to work with both, each of us continually, our own individual nature and expression, and the needs of the community as a whole. Both, continuously rebalancing them, if we wish to maintain authentic aliveness and avoid the (boring, dead end) opposites of hive mind or mayhem!

Here’s C. G. Jung’s trenchant commentary on this subject, and why it is so crucial to living and loving.

As an astrologer, I then riffed a bit on what Sam had just read, mentioning, among other things, that Autumn Equinox inaugurates 0°00 Libra, the first sign in the zodiac that focuses balancing the two poles of any personal relationship. (Whereas the first six signs, from Aries through Virgo, are concerned with the more and more precise evolution of  individual growth, with Libra, we begin to learn to dance, in balance, with others.)

Sam asked us then to each get a piece of paper and a pen (both of which he had set out on a bench), and to write down whatever polarity within ourselves we are needing to recognize and integrate during these next three months until Winter Solstice; then we would all offer them to the small fire he had started in the corner of the patio. Meanwhile, he said, if you have a “blessing” that you would like to offer on this Equinox evening, then write that on another piece of paper and put it in a jar, provided for the occasion. I love that idea! And ask that we place out that jar for every Community Dinner! May the blessings accumulate!

He then invited anyone who wanted to tell the group about what they were to balance and integrate within themselves to speak out loud. And amazingly enough, everybody did. I was both humbled and astonished to see/feel how vulnerable and open people became (some of whom had not met each other before) when they spoke about the conflicts inside them that need to be reconciled — and yet, as Rachel commented, how everybody’s (seemingly private) “issues” resonate with everybody elses’!

Steve, who has trained to be a Native American pipe carrier, had emailed me to ask if we wanted to do a pipe ceremony at the close of the Equinox ceremony. Well, yes! He brought his pipe and conferred with Sam beforehand, and from what I heard this morning (I had to leave the gathering then for a prior commitment), it was a wonderful way to end our GAV Equinox Celebration.

I got home about 11:30 last night. Andreas, Logan and Sam were still out there, under the lights Sam had strung overhead, Logan on guitar and singing.

This place is filled with music. So grateful!

 

 

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.

 

 

GAV, end August: garden work parties, plus pod meeting — followed by, surprise!

Well, well. These past few days have been veeerrry interesting. First of all, we heard “through the grapevine” — I won’t identify the guilty party here — that podmates Dan and Logan, rather than returning from their three week road trip to the west coast on August 31, would extend it for two more weeks!

WHAT?

Okay. Regroup. Do stuff that would otherwise wait for Dan to come home.

Rebecca: “Sam! Will you fill in?”

Sam: “Yes.”

Rebecca: “Okay, read up on how to layer a compost pile.”

Not sure what Sam read, but here’s one:

How to Layer a Compost Pile

For sure we do have all the ingredients: both brown (carbon: mostly sticks, leaves) and green (nitrogen: veggie and plant leavings), and manure to heat up the layers. But: we don’t have enough for all the compost we plan to make. So, thanks to Rebecca’s sleuthing, we used her trailer to haul spent grains —

donated from Big Woods Brewery, lots of table scraps from The Farm restaurant, and horse manure from Devonshire Stables. All local, of course!

Here’s Sam, as he willingly begins to tackle his immense task, accumulated from Dan being gone nearly three weeks.

Several hours later, here’s his finished, layered, compost pile (that’s a red onion skin on top).

And here’s the entire compost area. Neat. Organized.

Meanwhile, I was out in the garden cutting off the kale leaves which had been turned to lace by all the cabbage moths. Grrrr. . .

Rebecca says they will grow new leaves, but we’re going to cover them all with shade cloth meanwhile to keep out the moths.

Meanwhile, the beans, on their tripod structure that Dan made (which you can’t see, to the left) are producing mightily. See Sam in background, hard at work.

We’ve already harvested beans once, and podmate Andreas will harvest again, today, distributing to all three village homes.

That was Monday. On Tuesday, we held our regular work party, and decided to do a pod meeting afterwards, rather than wait two more weeks for Dan and Logan to return.

Rebecca huddles with Andreas, Sam, Dario, and John, as to what’s needed now.

Basically, this is a clean-up operation. Andreas and Sam dispatched to the chicken yard to take out little trees with our nifty Puller Bear.

And Dario and John remained next to the garage wall, asked to start dismantling the short brick section that’s crumbling next to it.

Seeing me with my camera, they decided to add some drama . . .

Meanwhile, I was futzing around, pulling plants we call “weeds” and taking more pics. Here’s the gigantic and very productive tomato patch (planted on the old chicken yard) now.

Here’s the greenhouse, temporarily just for storage. However, Rebecca is beginning to plant seeds for winter green production in the five new Garden Towers and their greenhouse. More on that soon.

I love this giant leaf!

Finally, here’s the latest addition to one of the stone sculptures. A mirror! “So I can pluck my chin hairs,” Rebecca tells me. (That’s “crone hairs,” to me. )

Oh yes, on to the “surprise!  of this post: It turns out that our gossipmonger was wrong, Dan and Logan are on their way back now! When I texted Dan yesterday, the day of their scheduled return, asking, “Is it true that you won’t return for two more weeks?” I got back, “Huh, where did you get that? We’re heading to Denver now, probably Kansas City Friday, and back Saturday.”

Okay! So look what we got done in the meantime, just because we thought they weren’t coming home soon. At our pod meeting, BTW, we decided to begin our regularly weekly scheduled open dinner night on September 14, that’s a Thursday (note change from Wednesday), 6:30 p.m.

GAV News, last week August, 2017: another work party, and finally, we hear from the wandering troubadors

I hear that John, Dario, and Andreas, the three pianists who are now doctoral students in music at IU and who have moved into the new DeKist house, have actually managed to get the dusty old piano out of the garage and back into the house.

They are determined to fix it (some kind of structural problem), since it does have a wonderful (though of course out of tune) sound. Haven’t gone over there to take a pic  yet, and maybe will wait until they have their first piano concert in the living room.

Meanwhile, we are still initiating them to the ways of the Green Acres Village, and for this Tuesday’s work party, Dario was also present (on the right, below; John on left, Andreas in middle). The goal: to make another tomato bed, ready by spring 2018. But first, they had to dig out an old garbage can that had been there full of cat poo (now composted) from Leah’s cats. That was quite an ordeal.

Rebecca comes to check on their progress, Sam behind her with a wheelbarrow — he was cleaning up the back of the Overhill house — overgrown, with stones and old wood.

Okay. Now put down cardboard, which as she explained to Dario, who wasn’t here last week, will compost over the winter, along with the wood chips.

After the cardboard, then what?

Oh yes, just like last week, we’re both making a new bed and gradually whittling down that gigantic load of chips.

Done!

Meanwhile, check out the first tomato patch, next to the newly chipped bed. I asked Rebecca why the tomatoes are growing so well this year in a brand new garden bed. Usually it takes three years before full-on production. She reminded me: this was the chicken yard up until last fall. All their poop fertilized it.

Haven’t heard one word from Dan and Logan, even though they promised to stay in touch on their epic three week drive in a rental car to the west coast. So, this morning I sent a plaintive text, “please,  just one pic from the wandering troubadors!” Dan responded right away, from, he said, Cannon Beach, Oregon. YES! Thanks, Dan.

Dan in middle, Logan on right, with mystery friend on left.

P.S. While I was sitting in solitude inside during the 95% solar eclipse over Bloomington, Rebecca and Sam were sitting outside on the back patio, in meditation. About ten minutes prior to the darkest period of the eclipse, Rebecca tells me that a warbler joined them, landing about ten feet away — “and sang and sang and sang.”