29 December 2012

Little poem

Little wind little sun little tree - only one. Little bird little wing little song he can sing. Little need he should stay little up and away. Little speck and he's far - where all little things are. Little things for me too little sad that he flew. --David McCord 1925

13 December 2012

New House Update

Well, this post is long overdue but hopefully it won't disappoint! Most of the house is still very much in flux. My studio is not quite in useful shape but I'll be working on that as soon as the semester ends. Our dining table is still in the living room while we put on finishing touches in the dining room, not all of our books are on their proper shelves in the library -- and the list keeps going on. But here is where we are at the moment. I'll go room by room with before and after photos. This is our living room. The off-white and pink paint job is before, red is after.
The dining room.
Our bedroom. It was a crazy electric blue (first photo) when we bought the house, not really our style. So we toned it down with cool blue grey.
This is Joel's workshop. We still need to paint this one since neither of us is wild about the sunset mural on the wall.
My studio. The first photo is as it was when we toured the house. It was the master bedroom of a 50-something year old woman. Now it's my studio and at the moment is covered in seed pods and photo prints. Again, I'm tackling this after the semester is over.
This is the study inside my studio. It's a funny little room under the eaves that is big enough for my computer and a pull out couch (for guests, or knitting -- win-win!). You can see it in the second to middle studio photo (in the doorway).
And the library.
Joel's parents came down to help us move in one weekend and it was super helpful! We got two rooms (library & bedroom) painted, the wallpaper scraped off the dining room and a whole slough of odds and ends. Our friend Mike also helped us move in (we helped him move into his new house just a month before).
More photos of the house will come as soon as things start to fall a bit more into place. I'm already designing the front and backyards in my head for next spring. The backyard is not my first priority because it is ornamental, as opposed to our front which will be edible (though still ornamental.) I wish someone would have told me that buying a house during your first semester of your masters degree was a crazy idea -- or at the very least that it was hard work. So, if any of you are contemplating these two things: highly consider waiting until your second semester when you have already found your groove! That is my word to the wise for the day.

13 November 2012

Life Happens

Sometimes blogs have to hibernate for a little bit while the rest of the world around them is going on. That time is now. Joel and I just bought a house in Cincinnati, of which I'll be posting photos of hopefully by the end of the week. And by "just bought" I mean a total of two weeks ago. We're currently working on painting the house and getting the furniture we need to get by, or at least enough to keep us from looking like total slobs. Last night we started painting the basement. There is some pretty dated looking wood paneling down there that we're covering with some paint until a later date when we might do a little more than that. We started stripping the wallpaper from the dining room (also pretty dated, though admittedly in good shape). And we now have a full yard to mess about with. Hurray! It's easy to get carried away with all the things we would like to do, and lose track of reality. But thankfully it all seems relatively manageable. We originally considered purchasing a fixer-upper because there are a lot of those in Cincinnati but then we found this house and couldn't say no. It's really fantastic and we're both really happy to have found it.

25 September 2012

17 September 2012

End of Summer Resolution

Just in case you wanted to look at the things that I've been making as of late, check out my art blog for regular postings of daily sketches and drawings. My new end of summer mantra is this:
So I'm hoping to post more because of that. I'm also hoping that this will be the right kick in the pants I need to keep up a good creative habit and not get too overwhelmed with school.

15 September 2012

Red Bank/Erie Food Forest

The Red Bank/Erie Food Forest plot is a somewhat troubled site. Because it doesn't have any city water attached to it it is completely dependent on rainwater -- of which we've had very little for the majority of the summer. As of now, it looks really great and green because we've had rain off and on the last couple weeks. Yesterday we went out and readied the area for an art project that will combine the arts and agriculture. The round tilled area will be planted with a paw paw colony (a native fruit tree to Southwest Ohio). We removed a lot of rotting logs that were used for h├╝gelkultur beds, weeded, leveled the area and then tilled.
The site will still continue to make use of berms and swales as a means of catching water and keeping it on-site.
As my time in the community gardens comes to a close, the Civic Garden Center has been fortunate enough to get a work study student from Cincinnati State College and our time has overlapped.
Peter has been gracious enough to keep extending my hours (to the end of the growing season?) even though my internship has technically ended. However, my internship has morphed into being a Field Trip Facilitator at the Green Learning Station. I now work with middle and high school aged children talking about compost, diverting rain water from sewers, and growing vegetables in gardens and on roofs. So far, I'm really enjoying myself. Today I was in the West End Community Garden working by myself. I've been working on getting their compost in order, and Peter and I have been working on getting the fence free of unwanted vining weeds (aka morning glory, bind weed, wild grape, etc.). I don't know why it took me so long, but it occurred to me that I had a macro-focus on the camera I've been using all summer long. And I hadn't been using it! How barbaric. The lovely/disgusting and oh-so-damaging tomato horn worm.
Locust.
Monarch butterfly ex-body.
Morning Glory and bind weed pretty bits.
I really can't believe I went 4 months without using macro-focus.

10 September 2012

Tiny Asparagus

In the middle of August I collected some asparagus seeds from a female asparagus plant. A week later I planted them, unsure of what would happen: germination? failure? Anything was possible. So when the first asparagus germinated I squealed with delight!
Then each pot germinated, some starting shortly after the first, some taking a week longer. They're growing at the rate of about an inch every 24 hours. Wow!
In July I was given some Malabar spinach and it's growing steadily. It's not super prolific at the moment but at the very least I'll be able to collect the seeds and plant it again next year. This is what the berries look like.
I thinned some strawberries at work and took some home and these guys are doing really well.
And my basil is doing remarkably well too. I've been able to harvest a good deal even though I planted really late. Hello pesto!
My cactus set out a baby but it didn't do so well and gave up pretty quickly. Not sure what happened. This is what a baby cactus looks like on the mother plant.
All in all, my fire escape "garden" is doing well. I'm hoping next year I'll be able to have a garden in the ground. We'll see how that goes.

05 September 2012

Site Under Construction

I've been feeling very non-commital to my blog layout and design lately. I'll be playing around with the look and feel of my blog for a bit longer until I've found something I enjoy. In other news, I just read Youth in Revolt by C.D. Payne and I highly recommend it. I haven't laughed that hard since I read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson.
Go ahead and read it.

26 August 2012

End of Summer

Life is clipping along at a quick pace, as it is wont to do. My time at the Civic Garden Center is coming to a close in the next week, I'll be starting my Masters program in a week, and we're getting close to buying a house. As I mentioned, I will be starting school soon and a couple weeks ago I went up to Madison, WI for my orientation week. Because we're distance students we had orientation a bit earlier than the on-campus students. I took the train to Chicago and stayed with my cousin for a night. Then the next day we drove up to Madison together. It was really lovely there and I'm mad at myself for not taking more photos.
Then at the end of the week my parents picked me up and we drove down to Cincinnati together. They got to join us on the house hunt for a day.
While they were here I had to work, but they got to visit me while I did. I was tabling at the Second Sunday on Main, giving out information on the classes, events, and gardening spaces that we have available.
Looking to my left.
And to my right.
For my internship we had to have a summer project and mine started in a very different place than it ended up. Originally I wanted to help with the Rockdale Community Garden but the manager didn't respond to the calls or emails that I made. So I moved on and set up a weeding day and compost education time with the West End Garden. My contact there was Gerri, and she was absolutely wonderful to work with. We worked together to get the day set up, she contacted the gardeners from the WECG and I set up our side of the day (tools, education, food donations).
The day started with the compost looking like this.
And ended the day looking like this.
The rest of the garden was weeded really well and made it look really lovely.
The following tuesday I gave my presentation about my summer project. I focused a lot on the communication and networking aspect because that seemed to be the reason why one project worked and the other didn't. We had a good discussion about community garden involvement and why it is dominated by retirees and very few young people. How do you change whatever stigma young people have against gardening? Wednesday we went to Compost Cincy for a tour of their facilities. The whole thing was started up in mid-July by Grant Gibson. He had originally worked in the tech industry, started up a company and then after five years (I believe he said) sold his share to his partner and started investing his time into starting a compost facility. He determined to go into this because he wanted to get into the "green" business, as it was something he was passionate about. After assessing Cincinnati's needs he decided that this was what the city needed and has begun diverting a lot of the food waste from area factories/processing plants that would have otherwise gone into the landfill.
In early August Greg, the garden education intern, and I went to an education and CSA farm for a tour. They have a 40-member vegetable CSA and a meat CSA, and have summer camps for kids. They have several interns and a veteran farm fellow. All their farm is tilled by draught horses and in the fall they have hay rides.
While there Greg and I helped with the potato harvest, then got a ride on the draught horse trailer. It was a very different set up than a lot of CSA's that I've seen implemented, Gorman for example, so it was nice to see how they can be organized and set up. Lastly, this last week I spent some time on the Green Learning Station (the GLS) roof garden and planted lots of vegetable seeds, including a cover crop mix. This is a very intensive square-foot style garden and a lot of food can come out of it.
On a completely different note, my computer died last week, taking with it hundreds of unpublished photos (and all of my summer photos, published and unpublished). I would have liked to post more of the community garden "profiles", but unfortunately some of them will never make here. I suppose that will teach me to back up my hard drive more than twice a year.