HOT compost system – now what?

Let’s resume  this cliff hanger from the previous post

TA-DA!
Words can’t begin to praise Kurt and Nils for how skillfully and amicably they work together. Their creation is so beautiful I don’t want to get it dirty!

Soak the earth-floor of each bin.

Finished compost left in the old hot compost system was spread on the bottom of each section and soaked to create moist conditions for composting critters.

Sort garden waste into green and brown piles, max. 1/4″ diameter & 18″ long.

Let greens dry before adding to compost because there’s enough green from kitchen scraps to make a 2:1 ratio of green to brown.


Add a layer of reedy stems – breathing tubes – if you have them.

Layer dry – brown – leaves & stems

Collect vegetarian food scraps

Add food scraps & spread them out.

Cover with another brown layer, rinse out the food bucket & add water around the pile.

If you made a mess when you added garden waste, please sweep it.

Now you have composting bragging rights.  When we left off composting last year, we were processing at least 2000 lbs – 1 ton – of food scraps per year.   We have more people living here now, so I bet our numbers increase.

Hot Compost System

On one of summer’s hottest days, several of us die-hard composters made a pilgramage to Cottonwood Urban Farm , one of LA Compost’s regional compost hubs.  On our arrival, Elliot Kuhn pulled himself away from unloading and deploying a truckload of food scraps to give us a tour of the composting systems.  Several volunteers continued his work while he explained the features of their system that made it possible to safely compost in an urban setting.

I came away with compost-system-envy and hope that we could resume composting after last years rat invasion forced us to put all our food scraps into the city’s green bins.  As luck would have it,  eco-villager Kyla  suggested that we build a system based on the model that LA Compost built at her urban work site.  A group of us met to assess the plans she had, select a site and ask community for approval.

Our enthusiastic plans were interrupted for a few months by the  COVID19 outbreak that forced projects onto back-burners while we established protocols to safely shelter at home.

Eco-villager Kurt, and Kyla’s friend, Nils – who was temporarily off work – committed to the COVID social distance/ mask wearing protocols while building the system.  Nils launched the action with a comprehensive materials list.

component parts

Assemble the frame

Challenges as they assemble frame.  In addition to wearing mask & working 6 feet apart for COVID precautions, they are being attacked by the thorny bougainvillea, which I had trimmed to accommodate shorter people – like me.

Attach rat resistent hardware cloth to back, sides & bottom.

Move it to it’s new home site.

Add slats to facilitate turning and unloading compost.

TA-DA!
Words can’t begin to praise Kurt and Nils for how skillfully and amicably they work. Their creation is so beautiful I don’t want to get it dirty!

In the next post, you’ll see that the thought of sending more food scraps to an outside composting site is a strong motivator for me, and as Kyla says, the food will add a new patina to the wood!

results of garden work party 12/15/ 18

participants: kurt, sam, irma carol

applied tanglefoot to all fruit trees: the initial application several months ago has worn off or attracted so much dirt it needed to be re-applied.  We’ve observed much smaller aphid infestations since the initial application has reduced the  ability of ants to protect the aphids & increased the possibility for natural aphid predators (ladybugs) to control the aphids with out being bitten by ants.

cleaned out greywater outlets for 105 & 106 and discovered that 104 has been disconnected.  Most of the outlets were buries & required considerable excavation to find the.

there is a proposal to make higher covers for the outlets to they are a few inches above ground level for outlets that are not in pathways.

scheduled garden work parties are 3rd sat. of each month with spontaneous acts of gardening in between.

meetings happen when there’s something needs discussion.

New Intersection Repair Street Mural

L.A. Eco-Village’s new intersection repair mural – finished mural photos: Joe LintonThanks to the hard work of lots of local residents and many people in town for Bike!Bike!, last weekend the community repainted the L.A. Eco-Village street mural at the intersection of Bimini Place and White House Place.

The street painting is inspired by a group called City Repair from Portland Oregon. They do intersection repair murals as part of to make crossroads places where people come together.

Eco-Village has done earlier intersection repair murals three times: in 2011 and 2009 and circa 2006. The mural gradually wears away and after a half-dozen years needs repainting. Lately  the city has resurfaced the local streets, erasing worn murals.

Continue reading

Jimmy Lizama on Voyage L.A.

jimmy-lizama-cargo-bike

Jimmy is a powerhouse. Voyage L.A. did an interview with him recently, you can read the whole thing here, but I’m going to leave you with my favorite quote:

My legs are pumping, face in my wind, the sun shining down upon rays of pure joy and adrenalin. 10 minutes later I’m at Hollywood and Wilcox and wouldn’t you know it: a third fucking bus and I was 10 minutes early. I had just taken the bicycle red pill.

Job Opportunity in L.A. Eco-Village: Resident Co-op Apt. Manager

Our dear apartment managers of the past several years, John and Sandy Maliga, are retiring and moving north to be closer to grandchildren. What a treat it has been to have this team with us for almost five years, and I’m happy for them to be closer to family.

Entrance to main building in L.A. Eco-Village

And so we are searching for a Resident Manager for our 45 unit Urban Soil-Tierra Urbana Limited Equity Housing Cooperative right here in the Los Angeles Eco-Village.

If you, or someone  or some bodies, you know might be interested and qualified in joining our Management Team in our intensely urban intentional community, please see our Job Description and required and desired qualifications here    And submit your letter and resume to:
urbansoilmanagersearchcommittee@googlegroups.com

Also, please help us spread the word.

Note that our public tour schedule of LAEV can be found here:   http://laecovillage.org/home/tours/

UPDATE: the position has been fulfilled. Thanks for your help!

 

 

The Spirit of Bimini Article

Bimini_Hot_Springs,_Los_Angeles,_Cal._(cropped)

An exterior view of the Bimini Hot Springs building, circa 1920. From Wikipedia.

A resident of the L.A Eco-Village wrote this article in 2001: The Spirit of Bimini.  Bimini Place is the street where we are located, and it was named after a chain of islands in the Bahamas where Juan Ponce de Leon once searched for the fountain of youth. Well, to be more accurate, it was named after the Bimini Baths, a bathhouse with natural hot springs that was operated here in the 1920’s.

The article is written in the first person, as if the place where telling its story. It’s an interesting read. Thanks to T.H. Culhane for having been part of our history.

Escape of the Banana Plants

We thinned out so many fully grown banana plants that I thought they would overwhelm our compost systems.  Reluctantly I gave the order,  Prepare them for the green bins!

Bagged banana plants

Fortunately, the green bins were full,  so every time I passed the bags of plants, I sensed their plea: Don’t sent us away. We’ll help the compost. We’re full of water.

Water leaked from banana plants through the hole in the wheelbarrow until I positioned it over the compost. 

And so they changed my mind.  I’m chopping them up and adding them to the bottom 2 layers of both the in-ground-lasagna-style compost and the hot compost.  

A Drill-Powered Flip Book Animation

It isn’t easy to predict what people will like. I’m used to this by now as a practicing artist. Yet, the popularity of this post caught me by surprise. I had been posting work in progress pictures of a flipbook animation I was working on, when I finished assembling the frames I wanted to test it and the easier thing was to chuck it in a drill. It looked cool so I posted it on my Instagram . The next day I got a request to be featured on the awesome Doodlers Anonymous blog, there is a lot more information on that post so if you are interested you should check it out. And after that, it was DesignBoom, and BoingBoing (BoingBoing!) and Laughing Squid and even a one minute feature on a morning show on ABC.

It has been fun and I’m grateful for the attention. If you want to see more of my work head over to my website wolfCatWorkshop.com or follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Talking about roof beekeeping, jigs, and password generators

crafting-security-5

You might think: “what is a password generator doing on the Eco-Village blog?” But I’m here to tell you we get to play with all sorts of things. I had the privilege to be a guest on episode 8 of the Opposable Thumbs podcast and among other things we talked about getting a beehive on one of our buildings and a little bit about the history of this place. If you have taken a tour in the past few years you probably saw the shared tool shop where the item pictured above was made. Give it a listen or check out this blog post on my website for more details.

Garden & Harvest party May, ’17

Adriana & Samantha train grape vine to arch over walkway.

Yolanda & Shaila tame shrubs along walkway.

We harvested garlic, onion flowers, greens,  basil, squash pumpkin, potatoes – rather early for several of these . Pumpkin began growing in December!

Hilarious veggies!

Sam models the pumpkin

Shaila demonstrate its dental application

We’re so hungry that we

trust Samantha with a dull knife

Consensus, finally! We’re going to eat.

Gardening with rain!

Water thrifty plants get

Water thrifty plants get “high” on 2017’s lusty rainfall.

img0638a  YAY! After thinning out banana suckers and composting, two trees promise bananas.

img0641a img0643a   img0640aWe’re trellising some thorny plants along the fence to deter fence-climbing.

img0631a  Pedestrians from many cultures stop to ask about plants and talk about the gardens they have or used to have in their native countries.  Along the fence I like to plant crops – like these peas – plus herbs and flowers that they can harvest from the sidewalk.

 

In the courtyard

Newly mulched path will help to conserve moisture - make the effects of this rain last longer - and eventually break down to feed the soil.

Newly mulched path will help to conserve moisture – make the effects of this rain last longer – and eventually break down to feed the soil.

Draught tolerant plants added to “small fruit” garden.   Experimenting with clover as a  living mulch

Jujube

Jujube

prickly pear

prickly pear

img0607a img0608a    Goji berries & weeping mulberry and their new signs.

img0616a img0618a Parsley and lettuce are easily accessible for community to harvest.

img0610a img0609a  Yolanda has planted papayas next to greywater outlets.

Lower level

potatoes & fava beans planted around olla to slowly water plants during dry season.

potatoes & fava beans planted around olla to slowly water plants during dry season.

img0620a img0629a Papaya, banana and new grape vine against south facing wall will also help shade this apartment.

I had the privilege of meeting with Mayor Garcetti this week

I was honored and delighted to have a personal meeting with the Mayor this week. The Mayor goes way back with LAEV to before he became our Councilman, and we only owned one property instead of four.  So it’s always a delight to see how far both he and LAEV have come in the past dozen years or so.  I asked if we could take a photo, so I could have bragging rights when he’s our President some day.

Here a few of the topics we got to talk about, each of which the Mayor was supportive of.  Still a ways to go on advocacy work.  But with the help of the “less cars” folks, the permaculture folks, Teresa  Baker and her LATCH Collective, Hans Johnson leading the Styrofoam ban, and LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King, and, of course, the passionate folks who live in/at the Los Angeles Eco-Village, it’s all within reach!

  • Return the original intent of AB 744 for car-free affordable housing
    Mayor Garcetti and Lois

    Mayor Garcetti and Lois

    developments near transit.   The City watered this bill down so that developers couldn’t go less than 0.5 spaces per unit.  LAEV could demonstrate this for our future developments.

  • Tiny House Villages, legalize them, even on wheels.
  • Hillside terracing, using permaculture techniques for catching rainwater.
  • Joint City/LAUSD use of playgrounds during off-school hours
  • Styrofoam ban.  Let’s do it.
  • Vision Zero.  A few additional ideas.
  • Potholes and buses.  Best cost/benefits.

Let me know if you want a copy of what I recommended about these items.