Sunday, March 27, 2011

Last Day of First Week

Our last day at the site this week was very productive, but we really needed a team of 10 strong teens or 20 somethings to get the whole brush drain finished. Despite emailing friends, our volunteer list and others, and placing ads on VASHON ALL, Facebook and at the Skate Park itself, offering free pizza to those who came before 3 pm, we succeeded in getting only a small group of volunteers. Deston worked devotedly all day, and the other wonderful people (Nan, Dana, Shannon and Kyle) came and went, putting in as much work as their schedules allowed. It was great to have whatever time and sweat people could donate to the task.

I will leave for my lecture tour next weekend, and Shahreyar will work with Deston to complete the food forest bed before I return on May 1st.

Today Sam and I placed a sign at the site to share what is happening with the community that uses the park. Hopefully things will remain as they are until our team returns.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Digging a Brush Drain/Desperate for Volunteers

Due to personal illnesses, injuries, and various crises, most of our volunteer pool has been absent. We will probably not meet our deadline for transplanting by the end of the month since Deston needs to get back to Portland for another job. Shahreyar will have to supervise the transplanting in mid-April.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Big Week - Happy Spring

Getting ready for breaking ground this week, and I'm concerned about having enough volunteers to help out. Deston is coming in from the south tomorrow, with a borrowed truck and all his tools. He will fell a dead alder tree on our property, and then we will use it for building the beds. This will happen on Tuesday. On Wednesday we hope to have an excavator at the site to dig up the trench for the brush drain. The biggest challenge right now is to find clay soil to line the trench. I put an ad in Vashon All and Vashon Freecycle but there's been no response. I will contact Vashon Parks tomorrow to see if they have a suggestion. So much to figure out. I have to borrow a peavy and some rope, get a bunch of rakes and shovels. Then there's the plants themselves and the fence making. All of this has to happen before I leave town, and I have to get it down while commuting from Seattle to the Island everyday. I leave town on April 3rd for a whole month of giving talks. Too busy. Well, the good news is that I'm almost finished with day five of my spring detox (Panchakarma) and I only have four more days. Not the best time, but it is, afterall, the spring equinox today.

If I didn't have this project to distract me, I'd be more focused on the grim state of the world right now - nuclear catastrophe and natural disasters and more violence being provoked by my tax dollars in Libya. It's sickening. Thankfully we have little ways to heal the planet...they may not be enough to compensate for the damage being done, but they are our only hope.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Staking the Site

Despite the drizzle, all of us were in good spirits today, as we staked out the footprint of the site, and tested the soil. Here are some photos of our merry crew: Deston (permaculture designer extraordinaire, Shahreyar (co-conspirator/artist), Shannon (environmental studies grad student at Evergreen State & soil remediator)and Dana (gardener and volunteer). We discovered that the soil is mostly sand fill, under which is thick gravel. We have to find out if we can get some equipment (a back hoe) and two truckloads of clay (for the brush drain) for the 22nd of March. Lots to do.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Marching Along

On March 3rd we had a meeting at the BARC site. I was joined by Marisha Auerbach, permaculture designer and Shannon Clay, environmental studies grad student at Evergreen. Cold rain was coming down at the site, so we didn't stay there too long and returned to our home for warm soup, tea and muffins. We discussed the orientation of the two arcs of Eden Reframed, and I received helpful advice from both Marisha and Shannon. We decided that the Food Forest arc should face south to embrace as much sun as possible.

Here are issues that we need to address in the coming weeks:

1. We need to make a list of things we want to plant in the Food Forest arc. The plan is to have things growing all year long. So far we discussed strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, kale and lettuces for spring, summer and fall. We discussed fava beans and radishes for the winter. We need to decide on what flowers to put in. Marisha said she would make us a timetable of when to plant what and make sure to highlight any maintenance concerns. We will be transplanting currants, blueberries, salal and some other edible plants from Emet's garden, as well as the apple and cherry tree that have survived the winter intact.

2. After staking the site on March 13th, we will need to make a timetable for digging up the Food Forest bed. It is unknown whether we will need heavy equipment to break through hardpan or not. If we can assess that need, I will make arrangements to rent or borrow the equipment needed.

3. Deston Denniston, another permaculture designer, needs to give us a sense of when he is available to help supervise the process for creating the "brush drain" pit and for sheet mulching. This work will need to be done during the last two weeks of March before I begin my travels. I will need to coordinate volunteers to dig based on Deston's schedule.

4. Shannon needs to find out the costs of soil testing for the other arc. We are talking about dividing the arc into 6 slices, each with different recipes for the remediation process. Shannon feels we will need 18 tests - we have to find out if we can afford that. We will not need to dig a bed for the soil remediation arc, but we will need to do soil testing there before the end of March, and eventually we will need to till the soil lightly for the mushrooms, mustard, etc.

So my next few weeks are going to be quite busy. I'm going to put off collecting more stories about gardening until after my April trip. In May, Shahreyar and I will be very focused on building the deer fence, benches and story hives, and if I feel I need more stories then, I will harvest some.