TogetherFarm – Everything is Awesome!

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My kids are obsessed with LEGO (the plural of LEGO doesn’t have an ‘s’) and we have them all over our living room. All. Over. And LEGO games. LEGO Marvel is played for a couple of hours a week, as is LEGO DC. We already played LEGO Harry Potter, Star Wars and Indiana Jones. I love them all. As they say in the LEGO Movie, everything (LEGO) is awesome!

So, when I saw TogetherFarm on Kickstarter last year I jumped on board. TogetherFarm has made LEGO-like bricks, made from food-grade recycled plastic,  for enclosing raised bed gardens  – you can buy them now on Amazon. The sets are pretty small but our plan is to combine our set of blocks with our Nourishmat system, also something we funded on Kickstarter, or the “Salad-a-Day” seed pack that came with our 4’X4′ set of blocks.

The boys are already interested in gardening but I feel like they need their own garden space, not just mine. They can use these tools to help them learn and get started, with guidance from me. Not exactly permaculture for kids but I like how many fun tools there are to involve children in the garden.

First light

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First light: Remember yesterday, when you wrote down the first thought you had this morning? Great. Now write a post about it. (prompt from DailyPost)

Maybe not first light so much (it’s coming soon and I promise to take a picture) as much as first notions.

It must be spring because my head is filled with more ideas and new life for old ideas than I can handle. It’s almost completely overwhelming. I have been keeping notes on my phone, on scraps of paper, in a little spiral journal I uncovered while cleaning off my desk. 

I think I’m going to take over this blog and get into the habit of writing every day. I love to write. I’ve written a novel. I teach writing. I love to read and read and read. So I’m going to write using these handy prompts a few times a week and then write more about permaculture principles and how they apply to how we parent our children or, in some cases, how we could parent our children a little bit better and more intentionally than how we do right now. When I began studying permaculture I realized that much of what I’ve done as a parent, and as a person too, has always gone along with the principles of permaculture.

I’m also going to apply to begin earning my EdD in transformational leadership. My intent is to focus on applying the permaculture principles (yes, again) to educational institutional change. 

So, this blog has a newer look to it and I may change and tweak it some more before the sun’s first light has even come up over the mountains. 

Happily Ever After

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“And they lived happily ever after.” Think about this line for a few minutes. Are you living happily ever after? If not, what will it take for you to get there? (prompt from DailyPost)

We started this blog with high expectations but, as always, life gets in the way. Winter is hurrying into spring in a series of five minute jumps of light; the sunlight was just coming up over the mountains as I made my journey into school this morning. The air was warm this morning when I left the house (34F?!?), albeit a little later than usual because I slept until 6 A.M. instead of visiting the gym.

I’ve been daydreaming lately about our permaculture plans for our yard – at some point during spring break I’ll need to finish getting them on paper. What I’ve learned from studying permaculture though is that there is no happily ever after. You start from where you are and then make slow, gradual progress toward your goal, adjusting and readjusting as you go. You may be progressing happily, but without reflection and assessment it won’t be an “ever after” situation. That goes for this blog as well – we can’t keep it up without a plan, without reassessing our goals and figuring out what we want to do with our writing and our lives. We can live happily ever after, but need to remember that a lot of effort and commitment goes into creating that fairy tale.

Gazing and grazing on Williams St

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On Thursday evenings, Saskia Esslinger of Williams St Farmhouse has been hosting tours of her yard, explaining the systems and the principles of permaculture.
It was a treat last night to go with my parents – the sun popped back out just for us! There was a big crowd, with lots if kids and lots of food questions.
For a suggested donation of $25 this is an educational and beautiful two hours. As always, Saskia’s home is inspirational and fun.

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Grey water

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Here is an interesting post from a tiny house blog on grey water use.

Greywater Systems

Small worm bin

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I have a large worm bin at my house, but I wanted to make a bin that I can keep safely at school, under my desk. This would also work underneath a kitchen sink or another small space.

My worms are mostly eating coffee grounds and shredded paper, but they also get some leftover vegetables from lunch and from home.

I used two smaller bins that fit under my desk.

After drilling holes for aeration, I covered the boxes with paper (to keep the worms in the dark), added food, soil and dampened paper for the worms to dig in, and put the boxes together.

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clear boxes need to be covered

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adding in organic matter after it is chopped up

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I use a Keurig at work. This kind is easier to add the grounds and filters to the worm bin.

 

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But with scissors and a little effort it is possible to use the regular K cups.

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Poke a hole, dump the grounds, and peel the filter out.

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I drilled aeration holes and then covered the bin with paper. I poked holes through the paper too.

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Here’s my worm bin, expertly covered in leftover scrapbooking paper.

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And here’s the bin, tucked away under my desk.

Biomimicry

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A few weeks ago I was completely fascinated by scientists putting UV threads in window panes in order to prevent birds from crashing into window panes and dying. They’d noticed that birds don’t “see” glass but are able to avoid spiderwebs when flying quickly through a forest. Spiderwebs have, you guessed it, ultraviolet light that birds can see, and know to avoid. So I’ve been talking about these ideas and biomimicry with Cormac, because it’s cool.

This afternoon on NPR we heard a story about hagfish; the slime they create to fight off sharks and other sea creatures has threads in it that are strong, like silk. The hope is that the thread can be used to replaces fibers like spandex, which are created from oil, a non-renewable resource. Hagfish threads are made from proteins which can be created in a lab rather than directly from the hagfish, creatures that are difficult to raise in captivity. ”

“Proteins are a renewable resource because we can get organisms to make them,” says Douglas Fudge the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

Here’s a link to the NPR story: http://soundcloud.com/theworld/hagfish-slime-could-provide

And a cool video of hagfish being attacked by sharks! Biomimicry is cool for kids.

Winter Adventures

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I’ve been envious lately of the green grass and gardens I see in the Facebook postings of friends. I spent a little time looking through my own photos from this winter to see the outdoor (and indoor) adventures that are available during our extended winter season.

Indoor jumping

Indoor jumping

sledding at a nearby elementary school sledding hill

sledding at a nearby elementary school sledding hill

"I love to be cold, Mom!"

“I love to be cold, Mom!”

watching the Iditarod start from an urban ski and bike trail

watching the Iditarod start from an urban ski and bike trail

a newspaper lets us yell out the names of mushers as they go by

a newspaper lets us yell out the names of mushers as they go by

mush on, doggies!

mush on, doggies!

ice skating at the local school's rink

ice skating at the local school’s rink

indoor rock gym

indoor rock gym

family walk in the wooded dog park

family walk in the wooded dog park

family dog - she was born last year while I was at the Earthship with friends

family dog – she was born last year while I was at the Earthship with friends

snow sculptures during the winter festival, Fur Rendesvous

snow sculptures during the winter festival, Fur Rendesvous

snow sculptures are better with friends

snow sculptures are better with friends

an afternoon of snow tubing

an afternoon of snow tubing

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