Saturday, September 5, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

future woodworker in training

Where a six year old learns how to build a chicken coop

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

too much of a good thing

A banter year for both the cherry and apricot resulted in broken branches. Our new mantra - Thin the fruit!

the chicken team in action

Monastary Mustard with dinner

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

Happy Kids Live here!

Pizza Night on the Deck

                                    Lots of fun and food for all ages....

Time to hang out together and enjoy each others company....

"Thymely" Poem from Larry...

Plant three rows of peas:
Peas of Mind
Peas of Heart
Peas of Soul.

Plant four rows of squash:
Squash gossip
Squash indifference
Squash grumbling
Squash selfishness

Plant four rows of lettuce:
Lettuce be grateful
Lettuce be faithful
Lettuce be kind to one another
Lettuce be happy

No garden should be without turnips:
Turnip for service when needed
Turnip to listen to and respond to one another
Turnip the music and enjoy life.

Water freely with patience and cultivate with love.
There is much fruit in your garden because you reap what you sow.

Take care of the thyme:
Thymne for appreciation
Thyme for relaxation
Thyme for one another.
- by Anonymous

Friday, May 29, 2009

We Received a Vermiculture Grant from the City!

Portland Recycles! Small Grants Program funds 21 community organizations


Asian Pacific American Senior Coalition (APASC): Promoting Sustainability in the Asian Pacific American Community. Projects focus on increasing knowledge of recycling practices and the reduction of waste in the Chinese and Vietnamese communities. Purchase durable tableware from second hand stores for use at the Fook Lok Hollywood Loaves and Fishes program. Offer door-to-door educational training and demonstration program within homes of Asian American community members in SE Portland.


Center for Environmental Equity (CEE): Clean-to-Green.  Public education projects offer interactive workshops for targeted households regarding proper recycling and disposal of hazardous household wastes and utilizing low-cost, low-toxic alternatives.


***Columbia Ecovillage: Large Scale Vermiculture for the Columbia Ecovillage. Urban co-housing community will utilize large scale composting system to handle 60 residents' food scraps.  Offers educational opportunity to tour groups.***


Historic Kenton Firehouse Committee: Composting with North Portland community groups. Neighborhood Coalition partnering with North Portland Tool Library to implement composting at Historic Kenton Firehouse rental and office spaces. Includes educational workshops and signage for site.


Holy Redeemer Catholic School: Holy Redeemer Recycles!  Students and staff play active roles in creating and maintaining green programs. Funds will be used to upgrade the lunch program at school by purchasing durable utensils and bowls that will replace plastic and paper currently being used.


Impact NW (formerly Portland Impact): Save a Plate, Save the Earth. Congregate Housing Services Program (CHSP) provides eight meals a week to an average 90 seniors and adults with disabilities residing in public housing. Funds will be used to replace foam delivery trays that are disposed in the garbage with reusable, insulated meal delivery containers.


Jackson Middle School: Jackson Middle School Logo Bottles.  School-wide campaign to decrease plastic water bottles being discarded by the Jackson community. Funds will be used to purchase logo bottles that will be advertised and sold daily at the school and at special events.


King School PTA: Reusable Flatware. This is an initial project for greening the King School community by replacing the use of disposable eating utensils at the school. Currently use non-recyclable flatware that creates a large amount of waste.


Montavilla Farmers Market: Durable Dish "Vendor of the Week" Pilot Program. Pilot project to declare August "durable dish" month at the Montavilla Farmers' Market. Durable dishes will replace disposable service ware for one rotating ready-to-eat vendor each week during the month of August (5 total). This pilot will result in data and documented experience using durable dishes in a public, outdoor setting that can be shared with other groups for events. 

Northeast Portland Tool Library: Neighborhood Tool Sharing for Economy and Ecology.  Helps residents borrow and share home-repair tools instead of purchasing them. Offers workshops that teach people how to repair and remodel their existing homes. Funds will be used to increase tools for lending. Partners with other groups for a series of workshops promoting recycling, waste reduction or other sustainability themes.


Oregon Green School @ Laurelhurst: Vermicomposting of Edible Garden Waste at Laurelhurst K-8 School.  Funds will be used to extend current school-wide edible garden by supplying compost bins and books to support efforts to expand green program and educate students about the environmental benefits of composting.


Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc.: Building Girls Go Green at Emerson Garden.  Project will provide middle school girls with the opportunity to work as a team on building a community garden shed and raised garden beds to benefit the residents of the King neighborhood in NE Portland. The girls will learn about recycling, waste reduction and bio-remediation of contaminated land at Emerson Garden.


Our United Villages: Community Outreach. Purchase durable dishes for various community events held or hosted at the Our United Villages space where people come together, discover their common interests and develop their ideas that benefit the community as a whole.


Portland Community Reinvestment Initiative, Inc (PCRI): PCRI E-Newsletter Project.  PCRI residents are low-to-moderate income families of diverse backgrounds. Quarterly newsletter sent to families living in PCRI housing will now be produced electronically.  Result in 90% savings over hard copy version, reducing need for paper and ink.


Rigler K-8 School: Rigler School Waste Reduction. Rigler K-8 School has strong gardening and recycling program that has been supported by the local community.  Rigler's SUN program includes gardening and composting and funds will help expand the program to offer more food from the garden and increase amount of waste composted. Funds will also replace plastic and Styrofoam with durable trays and flatware.


St George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church: Durable Dish Project. Grant funds will target entire parish population and frequent visitors by providing durable dishes for church related events. Signage will appear in three languages (English, Arabic and Russian) and target the large immigrant community who attends this church.


Swapnplay: Swapnplay Home Library. Swapnplay is a cooperative organization that exists to build community while reducing dependence on new goods through the sharing of resources. Funds will support the Household Goods Library that includes durables for events and food preservation equipment.


Sylvania Environmental Center (Portland Community College): Vermiculture Project.  Grant will fund construction of composting worm bin to contribute to the Vermiculture Project on PCC Sylvania campus and the Science and Engineering Department. Increase program to handle capacity of food generated through cafeteria in sturdy structures designed and built by students of the Environmental Center.


The Ainsworth Street Collective: Ainsworth Street Collective Shared Resources & Waste Reduction.  The primary aim of the Ainsworth Street Collective is to create a neighborhood dedicated to sustainable living, working together to develop a self-reliant community. Host and attend monthly gatherings as potluck/social events and gardening group. Purchasing durable dishes for monthly gatherings and food preservation equipment.


The Collective of Geniuses (CoG): The CoG Reclamation Factory.  Goal is to support emerging and disenfranchised artists through environmentally and socially sustainable means. Multifaceted project that incorporates purchasing equipment and reusing materials to create notebooks, sketch pads, greeting cards and other paper items.


Whole Child Montessori Center: Waste Watchers.  Hands-on way for young children (3-6 years old) to explore what gets wasted and how waste can be seen as potential new products. Purchase worm bin, composter and books to create Waste Watchers program.

My Boring Night at Home- from Stacy

Just another boring night at home. Jef and I sat down for dinner under the cropped sequoia, ready to bicycle to the Last Thursday Art Walk when we were finished eating. Ken walked by and we invited him to join us for dinner. He accepted, and raced off to pick raw asparagus in front of the farmhouse. I love “A” meals – asparagus and artichokes! It was fun recounting some of our youthful antics to Ken, who is receptively interested in life. What a gift!


              The three of us watched Dennis and Rowan walking in lock step through the parking lot, a father and son duo, with Anne lagging behind. Moments later Rowan and Garth were carrying a long red couch back our way, and trying to maneuver it through the laundry room door. They ultimately had to step through the herb bed I’ve been working on, with Dennis directing and me shouting, “Watch out! Not there! Oh no!” (just to taunt them.)


              Rowan started balancing on a parking curb with Dennis spotting. Suzanne balanced on the next curb. Marlene joined in. Garth grabbed Suzanne around her waist and twirled her around. The two of them giggled. Garth and Suzanne formed a chair with their arms and carried Queen Marlene off to bed.


              Then Linda and Larry got home, carting plants from their old home to their new, their patio and frontage a blooming mass of foliage. Linda and I caught up about our stairwell garden plot and our bounty of tomato plants. Larry told me where more lettuce could be planted. He assured me my end-of-the-workday-exhaustion “was just part of getting old.” Linda said, “It was the-end-of-the-school-year-zoo.” Jef and I cleared the dishes and decided not to bicycle to Alberta Street.


              I took out the compost, running into Dennis again. We went to check on the baby chicks in the storage building and I couldn’t believe how much they had grown since Monday! Today one of the chicks flew up onto the top edge of their nesting box. Larry and Joe got worried they’d get lost in the storage building, so Larry scavenged around the chicken coop in search of wire mesh and jerry-rigged a covering for the eight foot long box. Dennis and I agreed it was valiant of Larry to protect the chicks, but Dennis wasnt sure it was necessarybecause chickens are “flock” animals and like to stay together. I thought it might be good for their wing and body strength to fly around. I envisioned our chickens bending their knees up and down, lifting weights.


              I ran into Peg on my way back to my condo She said I looked sparkly with my glittery shirt and hair wreath. Peg’s such a sparkly gal herself! Jef was editing photos on his computer,

so I put together a get well card and care package for Jon’s friend Inga, who had hip replacement surgery on Tuesday. I left the package on Jon’s patio and thought how warm and inviting his patio looks, just like Jon himself. As I inventoried the clutter on Jefs and my patio, I vowed to improve our feng shui this weekend. Just another boring night at home. Who needs television when you live in an ecovillage.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dayenu- from Stacy

During the traditional Passover Seder Jews around the world say "Dayenu" which means "It would have been sufficient." As I reflect upon our Parking Lot Sale the term "Dayenu" resonates.

If we had just made $1717 from the sale. Dayenu

That we donated over $2000 worth of stuff to The Children's Club.   Dayenu

That Amigos de Los Romeritos made $520. Dayenu

That the "Tamale Ladies" sold out.         Dayenu

That more folks know about Columbia Ecovillage. Dayenu

That we sold everything so cheaply that folks felt GREAT about the purchases they made. Dayenu

Sweet Home Band played marvelous music for us and had a great time doing so on such a beautiful day.  Dayenu


and most importantly.....

We worked together to make this happen, both Friday and Saturday, with positive, loving energy.  DAYENU

It takes a Village to put on a parking lot sale as big as ours was, and we were a hard working, caring village.  In trying to live more sustainably, I think we live more abundantly; with more laughter, joy and friendships.

Special thanks to Sabrina and Peg who always seemed to be hauling stuff somewhere else for the past two months. Thanks also to all of the Villagers who pitched in. I'm going to try and list them, but I'll probably leave someone out by mistake and for that I apologize ahead of time. Evelyn, Mac, Marilee, Patrick, Peg, Barbara S., Barbara F, Don, John, Liliane, Jeff, Jef, Sabrina, Judith, Marcia, Sara, Dennis, Merm, Heather, Dave, Garth, Suzanne, Marlene, Suze M., Susan B., Deborah, Jesse, Lexi, Joan, Kathleen, Ken, Larry, Maggie, and many of our friends as well.


And we learned some interesting stuff:

We can put the bike racks on their sides, put doors on them, and have a big picnic if it's raining. (Thanks for that insight Marilee. Your enthusiasm ignites us all.)

The idea started floating around that perhaps we should have the "Tamale Ladies" cater some of our community meals when Villagers are too busy to cook. Perhaps Sivalaya Thai Restaurant could cater also. We brainstormed a lot working together!


Peace and blessings on all of us and our emerging village. We Rock! And that is DAYENU! 



Sunday, May 24, 2009

To Be Of Use- Saturday Planting Party

To be of use

The people I love the best

jump into work headfirst

without dallying in the shallows

and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.

They seem to become natives of that element,

the black sleek heads of seals

bouncing like half submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,

who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,

who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward

who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge

in the task, who go into the fields to harvest

and work in a row and pass the bags along,

who stand in the line and haul in their places,

who are not parlor generals and field deserters

but move in a common rhythm

when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.

Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.

But the thing worth doing well done

has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.

Greek amphoras for wine or oil,

Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums

but you know they were made to be used.

The pitcher cries for water to carry

and a person for work that is real.

-Marge Piercy

Monday, May 18, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The chicks are welcomed to their new home.

The Chickens Are Coming Home to Roost!

New chicks arrived in the mail, to bring our flock to 35!

Dennis and Anne have brought their chickens from home to join the ecovillage.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lisa and I Meet the Bees!

This past lovely Saturday, Lisa invited me to join her to check on her new beehive that she had installed a couple of weeks before, and to check on Joe's older hive, that needed a spring inspection. I had taken a beginning beekeeping class recently, but had no "hands on" experience, so I was eager to go take a look. I borrowed Joe's gloves, helmet and face net, and put on my bike rain suit and wading boots to minimize sting potential.

We opened her hive, and the bees seemed happy and busy. I was surprised to find that it was a no fear, all fascination experience for me. What an opportunity! I had thought for years about learning about beekeeping, but the idea of figuring it all out myself was daunting. To be able to learn with other knowledgeable folks is a great gift of community.