Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New board, new charge

The annual meeting was a bit disorganized and began with a near-death experience for one board member, who is violently allergic to nuts (walnut caramel raspberry ice cream, even home-made, was NOT good for her health, and resulted in the absence of two board members and, as you can imagine, some consternation at the beginning of the meeting).

After things got going, sans agenda and the two willing but otherwise occupied members (one ill, one helping), we got down to the business of reviewing the year and presenting the annual report. The Annual Report was simplified somewhat from last year, offering:

  • the President's Report
  • Friends of the John Trigg Ester Library
  • Financial Report (to be corrected)
  • Fundraising & Grants Report
  • Program Overview for FY 2014
  • Acknowledgement & Thanks

The membership enthusiastically approved the proposed Friends. The board was charged with seeking professional assistance with bookkeeping. The new board of directors includes:

  • Deirdre Helfferich, president
  • Connie Huffman, treasurer
  • Varpu Lotvonen
  • Hans Mölders
  • James Rogan, vice president
  • Phil Rulon
  • Eric Zentner, secretary
The membership entrusted the board to find the needed two alternate board members.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Annual Membership Meeting October 19

It's that time of year again!

Your Board of Directors invites you to come to the annual membership meeting for some excellent food, fun door prizes, and for the business of the library. It's your library, so please join us—we promise it'll be short.

Location: Hartung Hall, Main Street & Ester Loop & Wellhouse Road, in Ester
Time: 5 pm
Day: Sunday, October 19

There's parking at the library (3629 Main Street) a block away, or, if you are inclined to beverages, at the Golden Eagle.

The board has no votes to bring to the membership, other than elections, but we do seek your feedback on the Friends of the Ester Library, and, of course, this is the ideal time for any member to bring forward any issue or idea.

We have a nine-member board, three of whom are continuing onward, two who are retiring with this election, leaving four members running for six spaces. We will need two library members to fill those remaining two board spaces.

Hope to see you there!

October lectures

The winter library lecture series has begun! October's lectures kicked off with Merritt Helfferich on Wednesday, October 8, speaking on the Berlin Blockade of 1948–1949, and the "Raisin Bombers" who dropped small parachutes of candy and dried fruit to the children at the end of the runway in Berlin during the Blockade. This was the first time an event like this was held at the Clausen Cabin, and the eleven guests were comfortable, but we were lucky more didn't come! Helfferich gave a slide show and illuminating talk.

Berliners in the ruins at the end of the runway watching the planes.

Our next lecture is scheduled for Tuesday evening at 7 pm, Hartung Hall, and will be given by Paolo Greer. "A Revised History of Machu Picchu" is about Greer's personal research on Machu Picchu, the most famous archaeological site in the Western Hemisphere, and what he discovered about the history of its looting. He will describe the purposes the most important building in Machu Picchu serve, something about which the ‘experts’ are very vague. Also, Greer will tell where the lost statue of the God-Inca (Pachacútec) stood in the city, where it might be now, where Pachacútec’s mummy may be now, and a little about ‘Plateriayoc,’ the sister city of Machu Picchu.

Left: Greer on the cover of South American Explorer, issue 25, in 1984.
Right: Geer in 2013, guiding a group of guides to Machu Picchu (in the background).

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Save seeds from your favorite tomato!

The Growing Ester's Biodiversity program is pleased to present for the second year a free workshop on saving seeds from tomatoes and other pulpy fruits. Many such fruits require a period of fermentation to remove the projective coating that prevents germination, while others, such as tomatillos, do not.

Aurora Siberian tomatoes grown in Ester, 2014. Photo and garden by Deirdre Helfferich, GEB director.

This year, as in our first year of conducting the workshop, we have the good fortune to have local grower and seedsman Kurt Wold of Pingo Farm / Zone 1 Grown in attendance; Wold has been finding tomato and pepper varieties that do well in our climate and offering them in his catalog. He is the only seed grower for vegetable seeds in the state. He is also a certified potato grower. Wold is the organizer of the Great Alaska Turnip Breeding Project, in which local gardeners grow turnips and harvest the seed or report on the results, with an eye to developing a tasty, tender, large, root-maggot-resistant turnip for the Interior. Wold will talk about the project and bring bouquets of lettuce and carrot flowers.

The workshop details:

  • location: John Trigg Ester Library Clausen Cabin, 3629 Main Street
  • time/date: 4 pm, Saturday, September 27, 2014
  • bring: heirloom/open-pollinated tomatoes, cucumbers, or tomatillos, a sharp knife, a jar and lid for each variety you'd like to save, towels, and a cutting board or plate
We'll provide labels, pens, informational handouts, and some extra jars if people run out. We will also have samples from our seed library. Bring extra tomatoes and we'll have a tomato tasting!

Horror at the JTEL and Readers on the Run

It's fall—and you know what that means! Well, yes, harvest and yard cleanup and preparation for the white stuff, of course, but also—Readers on the Run! (Or see our Facebook event page.) This year we are celebrating horror and the zombie phenomenon for Alaska Book Week. Runners will face a pack of hungry zombies somewhere along the route. Prizes will be given for best runner costume, best zombie costume, best poem, and, of course, best times. Download and post the poster!

Horror fiction is a well-represented genre in the John Trigg Ester Library's collections, both in the film and literature collections. Horror has its roots in folklore, myth, and religion, and often reflects, through metaphor, the larger fears of society.

So what can we make of the ever-increasing popularity of zombie-themed fiction? What metaphors does it play on? What does it mean that zombies have been gradually increasing their lurch speed? Hmmm. Come find out—at the library!

Authors of horror fiction represented at the JTEL include:
  • Ian Banks
  • Clive Barker (Weaveworld, Imajica, etc.)
  • Ambrose Bierce
  • Algernon Blackwood
  • Ray Bradbury
  • Ramsey Campbell
  • Roald Dahl
  • Ted Dekker
  • August Derleth
  • Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol, Tale of Two Cities, The Pickwick Papers, etc.)
  • Dennis Etchison
  • William Faulkner
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Nikolai Gogol
  • Laurell K. Hamilton
  • David G. Hartwell
  • Shirley Jackson
  • Henry James
  • Stephen King (Desolation, the Gunslinger series, Christine, etc.)
  • Dean Koonz (Midnight, Fear Nothing, etc.)
  • Tanith Lee
  • Fritz Leiber
  • H.P. Lovecraft
  • Brian Lumley
  • George R.R. Martin
  • Chuck Palahniuk
  • James Patterson
  • Edgar Allen Poe (collected works)
  • Anne Rice (Interview with a Vampire, Queen of the Damned, etc.)
  • Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Frankenstein)
  • Dan Simmons
  • S.P. Somtow
  • R.L. Stine
  • Bram Stoker
  • Peter Straum
  • Whitley Strieber
  • F. Paul Wilson
  • Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
And more! Aside from gothic horror, modern horror is often cross-genre, and includes science fiction, fantasy, and other genres.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Winners from the 2014 Pie Throwdown

We had a tie this year! The Best Sweet Pie was tied between Barb O'Donnell's All-Berry Pie (featuring raspberries, blackberries, and cherries), and Julia Mickley's Blue Comet (with lime zest and whipped cream!).

The four judges had a very difficult time choosing among the 34 entries. Becky Anderson, who brought tiaras and boas for all the other judges, said that every single one was delicious—except the one that they didn't have the nerve to try, which was Kristen Sullivan's pie crust for canines and humans (human-grade ingredients, including barley and carrots) and featured a stylized pawprint in the center. The judges gave it an award for Best 4-Legged Entry, and it went in the auction for $60. According to Maggie Billington, the winner of the auction, it was VERY popular with the dogs. (Sullivan operates a business, Ruby Snacks, that specializes in doggy treats.)

The Best Savory Pie was Carla Helfferich's Tomato Pie for Grownups (Helfferich had previously submitted a gooey pie called Easy Tomato Pie, made with Bisquick and especially formulated to appeal to youngsters—this one is for the adults in the family).

Most Unusual Pie was made by Sarah Furman, and was a Raspberry Jalapeño Pie decorated with nasturtiums.

The pie auction raised $310, and the judgeship auction raised $150 (helped along because Nick Gassmann's left hand started bidding against his right hand). Along with the generous donations of pie bakers and eaters, musicians and people donating at the door, we earned $4,600! Thank you, everyone!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pie throwdown 2014

Nancy Burnham is once again the Berry Pie Throwdown organizer. She's gotten three fine local women to participate as judges this year:
  • Becky Anderson, an artist who works in fused glass, has extra crowns for herself and the other judges, and is making a prize for the event. And she has a new kitten.
  • Marlies Guest, who is new to Ester and wants to get involved in the community. Ester's all about the can-do, volunteer spirit, so she'll fit right in, we can tell already!
  • PJ Strawther, who loves pugs! She's a fan of the Dog Park, and, obviously, loves pie too.
There will be room for a fourth judge, but you've got to get to the LiBerry Music Festival no later than 2 pm, because we'll be auctioning that seat off to the highest bidder!

Bring your homemade pies to the Golden Eagle between 12:30 and 2, and stick around for the awards at 3:30 (and the subsequent auction of the top winners!).The rest of the pies will be available for people to eat at requested $5 per slice donation.

Now, suppose you were here last year, or three years ago, and you recall a delicious pie that you'd like to make at home, but you're not sure how it was made? With so many original and unusual recipes, the LiBerry pies might be hard to replicate—that is, unless you had the Throwdown Cookbook!

For only $25, you too can make pies like these:
  • Porknberry Pie (winner 2012, Best Savory Pie)
  • Lenin Meringue Pie (winner 2011, Best Sweet Pie)
  • Miniature Tomato Jam Pies (winner 2009, "Most Sophisticated" Award)
  • Blueberry Chocolate Pie (winner 2009, "Most Surprising Ingredients" Award)
  • Parsnip Custard Pie (winner 2010, "Most Unusual Pie" Award)
  • Zucchini-Lavender Pie (winner 2010, "Most Savory Pie" Award)
and many others, including: Blu-Barb Crisp, Blueberry Rhubarb Pie, Cheesecake Pie with Blueberry Reduction, Chocolate Lingonberry Pie, Dark Chocolate Cloud Pie with Blueberry Topping, Easy Tomato Pie, Fauxberry Pie, Flower Power Pie, Fruit Pizza Pie, The Green Monster, Mixed Berry Pie, Raspberry Poppers, Spicy Blueberry Pie, and more!

Every year, you can add to your collection with individual recipe pages, available for a nominal price. Buy them all in a handy binder, or pick and choose from previous years and buy only the ones you want to create a cookbook to match your tastebuds. Available at the music festival!

Contact Nancy at 479-2507 for more information on the pie contest or to volunteer.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

2014 LiBerry Music Festival handbill

Here it is! Amy Cameron of Bad White Dog has created our poster this year. Pass on the word! August 30, Saturday, at the Golden Eagle Saloon.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Progress at the gazebo

The first work party to clean up and reinstall the windows went very well: it didn't rain! The turnout was good, and we got a lot done.

The old, broken windows were removed:

They looked very sad in the garbage can. Connie Huffman decided to see if she could salvage a couple of them.

Eric Glos and Hans Mölders did the carpentry and removal work.

With all the rain and sun we've had this season, the shrubs and weeds had grown profusely (as have the flowers), so we did quite a bit of weeding, pruning, and stump removing. Carla Helfferich donated a whole wheelbarrow full of flowers to the cause, both perennials and annuals.

Included in the mix are: lobelia (white, lavender, magenta, blue), geraniums (red and pink), a purple trailing petunia, two yellow nasturtiums, a Maltese Cross, a Scarlett, a six-pack of marigolds donated by Anne's Greenhouse, dianthus (red, magenta, white, pink-flecked), two columbines, and a brilliant white Asiatic lily. We also transplanted several columbines and delphiniums from Ansgar's cabin (escapees from the flower beds up there).

Mike Musick created a new access path to the gazebo around the southern end of the large flower bed, closer to the path to the park and more directly opposite the path from the post office. (He referred to it as the "Ester Post Office Loop Trail.") The large rocks from it will become a fire ring at some point in the future.

Ritchie Musick clearing the leaf litter between the gazebo and the outhouse. Weeds and leaf mulch were piled into the compost bins, almost filling one up. All that's needed now is horse manure!

Monday, July 7, 2014

July at the library

Fourth of July was HOT! We gave away loads of t-shirts and membership forms (not to mention pink lemonade) and talked with lots of people about the plans for the new library, the Clausen Cabin, and the gardens.

This month, our work party schedule includes repairing and re-installing the stained glass windows at the Ida Lane Clausen Gazebo on July 19 & 20th, 11 am to 5 pm. You recall these five lovely windows, created by Denise Akert-Mohr:

 The windows were destroyed, shot out by a .22, in winter or spring 2012-13. A sixth window, showing a robin, was left untouched. We promptly covered it with plexiglass to help protect it (at least from flying rocks or BB guns). Denise was crushed, and the community was, justifiably, outraged.

However, we rallied, and the library set aside monies through the Community Revenue Sharing fund program to recreate the broken windows. Denise provided original drawings to Expressions in Glass, where Debbie Matthews matched the glass and designs as closely as possible from the photos we took, doing a beautiful job.

At the annual meeting in 2013, the JTEL announced a fund drive to pay for Lexan to cover the new windows. The drive earned $1,020 by the middle of December.

So now it's time to put our plan in action, come together, and make beautiful construction music at the gazebo!

Come on down on Saturday & Sunday, July 19th & 20th, any time between 11 am and 5 pm. We'll feed the volunteers, fix up the gazebo, tidy up the gardens, and make our public art available to the public again.

And, as a bonus, Denise made another window! (We'll install it at the work party.)

See you there!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Birch syrup at the library

In the last weeks, we've had leafout, but before the buds actually burst, the sap was running from the ground up through the roots and trunks of trees. Millions of gallons of sap rise in the trees around us, and the trees change color as their bark and limbs prepare for spring, the catkins come out and the pollen from willows and aspens and cottonwoods spreads. That's the sap-tappers' time of year, and when birch syrup is made.

The JTEL is working with the OneTree Alaska program to begin a regular tapping program on our property on Village Road. After a Memorandum of Agreement is drawn up, we can arrange to use OneTree's reverse osmosis machine and tapping equipment. (You may have seen Birch Pavelsky and Jan Dawe of OneTree as well as Deirdre Helfferich and Hans Mölders of the JTEL board recently, traipsing about on the property, checking buckets.)

Sixteen birch trees will be coming down this summer when we start work on the driveway (more about that coming soon), so these trees were chosen for the first season's work, but instead of using only one tap, three taps per tree were used since they will be cut down. The peculiar weather reduced the tapping time, but the total collected was 57 gallons of sap. OneTree will receive two-thirds of this in exchange for the use of their equipment, and the JTEL will receive one-third of reduced sap (some syrup, some sap at 14% sugars), which can be used as prizes for upcoming events.

More to come!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Charity Walk for JTEL

It's the 12th annual Charity Walk! On May 9, Friday, aproned walkers will be walking on behalf of 58 charities in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, including the John Trigg Ester Library!

 If you would like to sponsor the  JTEL, contact Deirdre Helfferich, president of the library's board of directors (she'll be strolling downtown for the event, with apron!).You can reach her at 479-3368 or, or by Facebook

Or, if you'd like to walk in the event yourself, you can still register in person, although there will be a late fee.

Thanks, and enjoy!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

2014 Tape & Tarp Ball!

The Tape & Tarp Ball is fast approaching! This is your opportunity to show off your fashion sense and creativity using the most Alaskan of materials: duct tape, Ty-vek, tarps, visqueen, shrink wrap, and many other down-to-earth, utilitarian, recycled or otherwise dumpster-dived materials that can be found in every Alaskan's repertoire of repair and manufacture materials. Apply them to high fashion (a.ka. haute couture) and compete via People's Choice (ballot stuffing with dollars)! We have prizes from Tolovana Hot Springs, Water Wagon, Gold Hill Liquor & Gas, and more!

Tape & Tarp poster, designed by Sue Sprinkle, owner, 5th Avenue Design & Graphics, Inc. Photos by Monique Musick. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Happenings at the Clausen Cabin this month

Things have been amazingly busy at Ida and Ansgar's old cabin this month! We are converting it from a house to an actual library for children. Before we started work, we asked Ansgar's nephew, Edmund, what he thought about it, and here's what he wrote:
I’m sure that both Ansgar and Ida would be happy about the transition; Ida would be proud and Ansgar would be bemused to think that the site of so much good living and good drinking was now a children’s library. My, how times do change.…
I like the idea of opening up the inside space. Take out the walls and the bedroom closet and there should be plenty of space for tables and shelves. An office back where the heater is would indeed be small but it could work. Just remember to leave space on the windowsill to start your tomatoes in the spring.
 Many folks have been pitching in to help: Hans Mölders especially, but also Eric Glos, Shayne and Chantz Turner, and Deirdre Helfferich. Please thank them when you see them!

We could use some more carpentry and electrical help now, particularly some advice on how to deal with the log beams and distributing the weight. Call Hans at 687-6666 for more information.

On Saturday, April 26, two new volunteers showed up to the Spring Seed Library Cleaning. Callen Christiansen and Sol Traverso are interested in vertical gardening, and are going to set up a vertical bed on the back porch of the cabin, where it gets intense sunshine, and adopt a bed in the regular garden and help clean it up (plus, they'll get to grow vegetables there!). With Carla and Deirdre Helfferich, the seed library got moved off the sink and the seeds organized, and everybody had blueberry pie. Nancy Burnham, former board member, stopped in to pick up a few squash seeds, too.

Remember: if you are a library member, you can check seeds out from the seed library (just save some from your harvest at the end of the season and bring them back to us) or pick up trade seeds. We also have seed catalogs you can peruse, including local seed grower Zone 1 Grown/Pingo Farm.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Volunteering opportunity: seed library assistant

Wanted: Seed Library Assistant 
(volunteer, part-time: 4 hours per week) 

The Growing Ester's Biodiversity program is looking for a dedicated volunteer interested in improving food security, democracy, and sovereignty in the Interior and Alaska through preserving and increasing agrobiodiversity.

Duties include: assistance in maintaining and organizing collections, publicity for GEB program events, online database updates, working with other organizations both local and statewide to foster other seed libraries and seed exchanges and to create a state seed library network, and to help maintain higher profile in northern and other seed library networks to take advantage of help and useful information. 

The volunteer will work with the GEB program director to plan and conduct workshops and create handouts and other information as needed.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Double Your Dividend Sweepstakes

Donating to one’s favorite nonprofit groups, including the John Trigg Ester Library, through the Pick.Click.Give. program, may be a lot more lucrative this year—for ten people collecting PFDs! the Pick.Click.Give. program is a part of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend application designed to increase charitable giving in Alaska, and now 10 lucky Alaskans who donate through Pick.Click.Give. will win through the Double Your Dividend Sweepstakes, announced on Tuesday, March 4.

Here’s how the Sweepstakes works: Those Alaskans who choose to make a Pick.Click.Give. donation to one of the more than 500 qualifying 501(c)(3) Alaska nonprofit organizations (among them 24 libraries and library friends organizations, including the JTEL) when they file their PFD application will be entered into the sweepstakes. All non-anonymous donations made before the PFD application due date of March 31 will count for the sweepstakes. If you've already donated, but anonymously, you can go back in and choose to donate publicly, and become eligible. On Sept. 15, the names of 10 lucky Alaskans will be drawn and the winners will be announced on Oct. 1. The complete rules can be found here, at
One of the reasons for the sweepstakes is a technical glitch in January that prevented a lot of Alaskans from being able to make Pick.Click.Give. donations when they filed their PFD applications. The sweepstakes is an incentive to get those Alaskans who didn’t make Pick.Click.Give. donations to go back into their PFD applications and add some. The 2014 PFDs should be much bigger than the PFDs from the last couple of years, which makes this a great time to share the wealth with nonprofit organizations in your communities.
This is the first year the John Trigg Ester Library has participated in the Pick.Click.Give. program, which allows people to donate in $25 increments to their favorite statewide and local nonprofit organizations. When you choose to donate part of your PFD to the JTEL, you support our operations, our endowment, our capital campaign, and our educational programs, which include a winter lecture series on history, science, art, writing, geography, and much more, as well as a seed library program that hosts seed swaps, seedsaving workshops, and a seed collection for checkout.
The Pick.Click.Give. program is available only to people who file their PFD applications on line, and not to those who file by mail. Even though you can’t file a new PFD application after March 31, you can go in to your application and update your Pick.Click.Give. donations through Aug. 31 (but you won’t be entered into the sweepstakes unless you make a donation before March 31).
If you aren’t from Alaska or aren’t eligible for a 2014 PFD, you still can donate to JTEL by sending a check to PO Box 468, Ester AK 99725. Our EIN is 27-1297959. Please let us know if you need a receipt for tax purposes. For more information about the library, please contact us at

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Bryce Wrigley on starting a new business in agriculture

Wednesday's library lecture will feature Bryce Wrigley, a dynamic speaker and enthusiastic supporter of a strong local food network. His topic will be on the lessons he learned in starting his flour mill, the Alaska Flour Company. As usual, the talk will be at Hartung Hall at 7 pm. Parking will be available at the hall and at the library's Clausen Cabin (3629 Main Street).

Wrigley will also be speaking on campus earlier in the day on creating a local food system.

Friday, February 28, 2014

More on seed swaps and seed libraries in Alaska

The seed library craze has finally hit the 49th state! One aim of the JTEL seed library program has been to inspire other, similar programs in Alaska by setting an example. This year seems to be the year that seed swaps and seed libraries are blossoming:
  • with an article in The Ruralite about seed librarians, a University Park Elementary School librarian, Carol Smallwood, has become inspired. U Park has a small school garden that Calypso Farm & Ecology Center helped them set up, so this school is already involved with growing things for educational activities.
  • The Dillingham Public Library recently started a do-it-yourself seed package swap on their bulletin board. A local gardening club has a seedling swap that got going last year and proved very popular, and now is working with the library to coordinate their events.
  • Saskia Esslinger has begun work on a seed library and a seed swap with the Anchorage branch of the Cooperative Extension.
We hope this is just the beginning. Our check-out program just began this year, so with the book and film collection on biodiversity, seed swaps, talks by local experts, workshops, and now the benefit of seeds available (just like books) to our membership, the Growing Ester's Biodiversity program is slowly fulfilling its mission.
If you would like to start a seed library in your area and have questions, or want to volunteer for the JTEL's GEB program, contact Deirdre Helfferich at or 474-6923 (daytime work) or 479-3368 (home) or the JTEL, at 374-8080. 

Thank you!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Senator Begich and Seedstock

Well, Seedstock was a tiny affair, but we received a lot of seeds nonetheless: four varieties of tomatoes, one variety of peas, mixed greens, and six or seven varieties of grains (rye, barley, wheat, and oats). There was a lively discussion about the merits of hugelkultur, a type of permaculture gardening that works very well for at least one local gardener.

Senator Mark Begich showed up and was quite interested in our plans for the new building, asking questions about how it would work and offering suggestions for how we might get it funded.

Senator Begich at the John Trigg Ester Library's Clausen Cabin on Feb. 2, 2014, reviewing the draft plan/explanatory poster for the new library building's Passive House design with board president Deirdre Helfferich. 
Later, as people arrived to speak with the Senator, the topic shifted from the library to everything from Pebble Mine to Social Security.

From left to right: Senator Begich, Mike Musick, Ritchie Musick,  JTEL board vice president Phil Rulon, Charlie Gallagher. In the foreground: JTEL board president Deirdre Helfferich.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Senator Begich coming to Seedstock

Senator Begich will be one of the guests at Seedstock tomorrow, staying from 12:45 to 1:30. He'll say a few words and then take questions and comments.

This is a function that libraries typically fulfill: providing a public meeting space where ideas may be exchanged, both through the medium of the written word but also the meeting of minds through conversation. Senators, Congresspeople, legislators, and the like often meet people they don't ordinarily have a chance to talk informally with at events like ours, providing another means for democratic participation in government.

So come out and have a conversation with your senator as well as your neighbor!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Seedstock, seed catalogs and seed swaps

It may not be spring yet (even though the pussy willows are a bit confused), but the warm weather and the seed catalogs in the mail remind us that spring is coming soon! This year, the Growing Ester's Biodiversity program is hosting a new event at the John Trigg Ester Library: the Library Seedstock.

Seedstock is a special event to stock the seed library with locally grown, heirloom and open-pollinated cultivars. We are looking for flowers, vegetables, fruits, and grains.

Anyone may donate seeds, but seed stewards check out seed from the JTEL to grow it out to raise and save seed again, and are members of the library. After the harvest, seed stewards bring back about ten to twenty times the amount of seed they checked out from the plants they've grown, thereby replenishing and growing the library's holdings, and sharing those seeds with other members of the library.

That close relationship between you, the library's stewards of its genetic material, and your fellow members, is one that builds community and preserves valuable and increasingly rare  agrobiodiversity. To become a seed steward, simply sign up for membership at Seedstock and fill out a form indicating which seeds you've checked out, just like you would a book. Membership is only $10 per year, and not only do you join a committed group of enthusiastic gardeners, you can also check out anything else in the library!

This year will be the first Seedstock, but will be the third year the JTEL has held Seedy Saturdays.

Seedy Saturdays are straightforward seed swaps: bring seeds, share them with your neighbors. We'll provide some containers and envelopes, pens, and a way to organize the plants (by botanical family, with signs). Please see our seedswap guidelines on our website.

All events are free, but we do incur some costs, so donations are encouraged, and gratefully accepted.

Come join us!

John Trigg Ester Library
Clausen Cabin, 3629 Main Street, Ester (across from the Golden Eagle Saloon)
February 2, Sunday, noon to 3 pm

Seedy Saturday #1
Hartung Hall, Main Street & Ester Loop (one block east of the Golden Eagle's parking lot)
February 15, Saturday, noon to 3 pm

Seedy Saturday #2
Hartung Hall, Main Street & Ester Loop
February 22, Saturday, noon to 3 pm

Seedy Saturday #3
Hartung Hall, Main Street & Ester Loop
March 1, Saturday, noon to 3 pm

Parking for all events is available nearby with special permission for the event from Alaska Visit, as well as a limited amount at Hartung Hall and the Clausen Cabin. We'll have ushers to help you find a spot.