Category Archives: Village

GAV news, second week June: Rebecca, our mentor, gone for two weeks. HELP!

Our master gardener (and property manager) Rebecca is in  California for a greatly needed two week vacation. However, I doubt she’s really getting away in her mind, given all the texts flying back and forth between her and us workers left behind. And this week, I’ll tell you, has been a tale of mistakes, setbacks, near-mistakes, and lots of laughing.

First of all, the long-promised tomato patch with 28 tomatoes is finally up and growing, after the work party  to dismantle all the invasives that had taken that area over even before I arrived on the scene 15 years ago.

Our wonderful nearly-a-month-long IU intern Grant, who was to stay on five days after Rebecca left, thought he knew which tomato plants she wanted planted in that new bed. (We still have tomato seedlings left over from sale and give-away, and, we realize now, they are of many different kinds.) Well, it turns out, he was wrong. Who knows what was planted! And Rebecca has very decided ideas about which types of tomatoes she wants in that new bed. So, guess what . . . all the work gone into that bed while she’s away is for naught!

Here are Dan, Nezhla (Rebecca’s daughter and dog sitter) and Grant, hard at work mulching with leaves and setting up cages around the (wrong) tomato plants.

Rebecca tells us she’ll see to the replanting when she gets back late June 22nd.. Meanwhile, we’re thinking about taking the plants that are in there now to Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard.

BTW: the project to set up a lattice fence around the pepper plants out front is still on hold, since I haven’t heard back from the Next Door person who told me she has plenty of big strong bamboo — what is her street address??? Meanwhile, we’ve almost forgotten about that project, given all the watering that has been necessary during the recent hot drought — until yesterday, when it finally rained.

I’ve been busy talking with folks who want to move here, both to the new DeKist house (where we would like to see a young family move in) and the two rooms, one available now, and the other in August, in the first DeKist house. All incredible candidates! Each of them just what we’re looking for. Will set a strong collective intention that all works out as planned, and meanwhile, not mention it here again until it does!

One of the people who might move here looked over to the gigantic elderberry bush in the front yard at the first DeKist house and exclaimed: “You should harvest the lower hanging flowers for tea!” Later she continued: “Just take the flowers that are still full of pollen, and dry them in wicker baskets inside out of the sun, where they get a breeze.  Well, what she said got in my craw, and so three days later, this morning, I finally looked it up on the internet, and then called Rebecca to make sure it’s okay. And yes, she liked the idea. So Nezhla and I set to work, emptying numerous baskets for the job.

Notice all the baskets! Had we gotten to it on the day it was pointed out that we should, many more flowers would not have already lost their pollen (all the darker ones).

We ended up with only two baskets, one full, one not.

Meanwhile, however, Nezhla noticed tent caterpillar webs on the bush, and said we needed to burn them, or they would take over the entire tree. “How do you know?” I asked. “Because that’s what happened to my mom when I was a kid.”

So I cut off the branches. And on the way to burning them, was interrupted by Shy (David), who is doing the improvements at the new DeKist house; he remarked, “Why not see if the chickens will eat the caterpillars?” So we tried.

“Here chick chick! ” he called out. But they didn’t take the bait. “Well, I guess then I’ll torch them,” he concluded.

Poor worms! “Torture,” as he pointed out. Reminded me of Vietnam.

Meanwhile, I was at the monthly permie guild meeting at the library last night downtown at the library. Rhonda Baird, permaculture teacher, designer and, recently, facilitator for this revived group and who now wants us to step up to the plate and co-facilitate, asked us to bring recipes. She did. She was the only one who did. But I took a picture of this one, which just happens to fit with today’s elderberry theme. Of course, as she pointed out, “the recipe is mostly lemons and sugar.” Oops. Can we make it with honey?

We did agree to hold two work party/potlucks for our next two monthly meetings at two urban farms nearby that meeting participants run. I think Rhonda can finally give up her facilitator job, for which she is grateful, and we, in turn, are ever grateful for her patience as the group finally jelled after, what has it been, five months?

Okay, back at our own urban farm, the Green Acres Village:

Early this afternoon I finally got around to doing another of the tasks Rebecca had assigned me, “putting up” food. To this end I picked lots of kale from one astonishingly productive hugelkultur bed (the trunk from a huge elm molders inside it) in the main garden and will freeze, after briefly steaming and cooling, then wrapping in wax paper either single servings or larger, before placing in plastic bags.

And Logan and Dan finally got around to one of their assigned tasks: planting beans, five kinds, Dan tells me: black, zuni gold, red swan, portal jade, and some kind of butter pea.

Some flowers currently gracing our beautiful land . . .

What are these? I’ll have to send a pic to Rebecca . . .

Here’s what’s loving one of our (original) Garden Towers: nasturtiums! So full, the tower is invisible.

I planted these next to the pond maybe five years ago, from a Green Acres Neighborhood plant swap. Didn’t know what I was doing at the time. But they did! And this is the year they really started to thrive.

Finally, I wondered about this plant, thinking maybe Rebecca would consider it a weed, because there’s sure plenty of it! I was all ready to step into my role as weed excavator. Took a pic and sent it to her, just to make sure.


NO! Those are goji berry plants!

Whew! Thank goodness I asked.

Here’s what the berries are supposed to look like.


GAV news, first week June: Bamboo! amidst garden abundance

June begins and we’re already way too stocked with garden goodness.

Meanwhile, we’ve been wanting to construct a bamboo latticework fence for the front yard of the second DeKist house, to discourage deer from the pepper plants. (Deer once ate 1000 pepper plants at Rebecca’s farm overnight!). Meanwhile, have ordered some remay to cover the peppers until we can get that fence built.

So, the first step was one week ago, for our weekly work party. We were able to get bamboo from the house across the street on Overhill. Not only that, but the little boy who lives there with his sister and parents wanted to help us. Here goes, a photo shoot of that evening. Dan chose and cut the stalks,

then gave them to Nolan.

 who carried them down the street,

and onto the pile with the others.

Meanwhile, here are the posts we put up to hold the stalks running horizontally and slanted up and down.

But we now realize that the posts are too far apart, and so are now looking for another source of bamboo that has huge thick strong stalks to be stood upright half way between the posts. I think I’ve found a source, and am awaiting the address.

Meanwhile, here are the stalks, piled up with their branches stripped. Nice and straight, but not enough of them yet.

Then, Saturday, neighbor Jelene and I participated in the annual Blooming Neighborhoods event, along with 27 other neighborhoods, tabling in the courtyard of City Hall next to the Farmer’s market.

Kat, who led the Green Acres Sign Saga, stopped by;

as did neighbor Mariella.

We gave away kale, cabbage and tomato starts to all who wanted them.

Mid-May, and huge activity — new compost roof structure, new gardens, seedlings and peas for sale, flowers galore, plus first garden dinner of new season!

It’s become clear to me that if I continue to document at this rate the profusion already present here this spring, I would get exhausted and not get anything else done. So don’t expect me to continue!

Meanwhile, tonight is our first one-hour work party (to replace Community Dinners until August), when we will prepare a garden for tomatoes in the back of the Overhill house. Will require uprooting trees and tearing up an old roof structure . . .

And meanwhile, here are some photos of various projects, etc. Including:

COMPOST ROOF completion.

Dan and Evan topped the roof structure entirely from old materials lying around here.


Lots for sale already, both seedlings, and peas! Our first sale to Uptown Restaurant downtown was 4.5 pounds of snow peas picked by Rebecca, Dan and Evan. Exciting. They told us just to let them know what’s available one week in advance. Okay! This will replace the CSA, which we decided not to do after Briana had to move. She had been the main driver for that way of selling garden produce.

Here’s the list of seedlings for sale that I asked Grant, our intern, to itemize:

Meanwhile lots of new forms popping up, both constructed and natural.


This is a new herb/rock garden in front of our new house, what we now call “DeKist 2.”


Next to the new greenhouse, bordered with rock.

Even a new bench appeared next to our patio the other day.

Unless otherwise noted, most of these constructions are made by either Rebecca or Shy, our builder. In this case, Shy, we presume. And Rebecca thinks he unearthed the limestone slab from the grounds of DeKist 2.

FLOWERS, symbols of beauty and evanescence . . .


Meanwhile, yesterday Rebecca and intern Grant were busy preparing to plant beets and beans in the backyard of the house across the street, which, we just found out, is for sale!

We sure hope the new owner will like to continue their partnership with us. Even more, we hope the new owner wants to join with us in this ongoing evolution of the Green Acres Neighborhood into Green Acres Village.

So, on that note of impermanence (house for sale, and who knows what’s next!), I conclude with a photo of the veggies I stir-fried last night from this little raised garden bed, in front of DeKist 2.