Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Roadside construction!

Folks coming to pick up their mail at the Ester Post Office have noticed the flurry of recent construction and gardening activity across the street at the Ida Lane gazebo this last month. Many have come ambling across the street to enquire about the bustle or compliment the volunteers on the flowers and garden, and sometimes even to join in. The volunteers sweating away in the sun and rain appreciate it—it makes a difference to know that what we are doing is making a difference and is noticed. If you can help out, so much the better.

Next week we will be working to complete the outhouse near the gazebo in time for the Fourth of July; no guarantees, but we're doing what we can. One item we will need before the outhouse can be used is about 12 full bags of sawdust, or a large pickup bed full.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Your library needs you! or, Compost Happens

Poster for the upcoming trio of work parties to build composting outhouses on the library properties.  See the post below, "A walk in the sun," for more information on the library's plans this summer. Karen Jensen, librarian and Collection Development Officer at UAF's Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, did a little research and found a couple of scholarly works of reputable provenance that may be of use to those wishing to look into this in more depth:
"Guidelines for the safe use of excreta and wastewater in agriculture and aquaculture: Measures for public health protection," (PDF) by Duncan Mara and Sandy Cairncross; and "Health Aspects of Dry Sanitation with Waste Reuse," (PDF) by Anne Peasey. Both of these reports are available at the John Trigg Ester Library, along with The Humanure Handbook. The library will use the compost that results from the outhouses for landscaping.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sun and rain at the Ida Lane Clausen gazebo

Wow! Starting on Friday, June 1, and stretching out through Sunday, June 3, close to twenty volunteers helped transform the area around the gazebo to a little flower-filled park. College Peat delivered garden soil during the middle of the day on Friday, and Hans Moelders and a crew of teenagers (Oliver & Stanley Rogers, Chantz Turner, and Taylor) moved it from the edge of the road back behind the ridge of old clay and out of the ditch. It was HOT. Clutch Lounsbury delivered a load of well-composted horse manure, too, so everything was ready for Saturday.

Planting Day, June 2, started out cloudy, with a big noisy downpour during the night giving way to sun and blue sky by the time the work party got started. Joe Grill did some serious shoveling, and Mike Musick, Jimmy, and Hans entertained the rest of the volunteers with lots of grunts and sound effects from lifting Old Mining Stuff and big rocks and hauling them via the wheelbarrow to the new rhubarb/flower beds being created. Board members Greta Burkart, Nancy Burnham, Jan Omstede, Molly Rettig (and her beau Josh), and Trey Simmons fitted rocks, planted rhubarb, chives, delphiniums, raspberries, strawberries, daisies, nasturtiums, portulaca, and lobelia. Jennifer Jolis, Barbara Stone, Greta & Trey, Nancy, Jan, and Hans and I donated plants. Hanging baskets were planted, too, and several pieces of old mining stuff incorporated into the walls of the garden beds.

The grounds got a good stump-clearing and raking, too. Rebekah Gormish, Shannan Turner and her children Callista and Skyler, and myself worked on leaf-raking, wall-building, manure-shoveling, planting, watering, and brush-clearing. It was a good solid work party, and we got a lot done. THANK YOU to everyone who donated food and drink, plants, supplies, and especially those who came and helped!

On Sunday (today), June 3, Hans and Jimmy had decided to meet and start work on the concrete forms for the first outhouse. I decided to come along, and did a little tidying while they found a spot for the outhouse and built the form for the floor. Later, Margaret, Oliver, and Stanley Rogers and I went to Anne's Greenhouse and got some johnny-jump-ups and pansies, which I added to the garden beds.

The gazebo grounds are looking wonderful. Jimmy will continue working on them; wave as you go by, or feel free to stop and help!