Category Archives: Urban Farm

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!


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.