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!

no fossil fuels were harmed preparing this meal

chicken stuffed w/ lemon grass & yard long beeans, taro roots, rice pudding, zuccini bread in bana leaf wrap

chicken stuffed w/ lemon grass & yard long beeans, taro roots, rice pudding, zuccini bread in banana leaf wrapbaby zuccini "bread" yard long beansyard long beans

Clear skies from early morning inspired me to see how much food i could cook in the 2 sun-ovens today. 1. Heated 2 qts milk to make yogurt; 2. roasted 3 1/2 lb chicken stuffed with yard-long beans, oregano & lemon grass, resting on bed of lemon verbena & zucchini from garden ; 3. baked rice pudding (rice left-over from Chinese supper); 4. baked zucchini cornmeal “breads” wrapped in banana leaf from jimmy’s tree; 5. roasted taro roots. Between 9:30 – 4 pm.

 

 

 

 

zucchini batter: flour, cornmeal, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, zucchini, bp, bs, milk, ground flax seeds blended w/ water for egg sub.

Sunken garden construction courtyard, dec, 2014 – jan. 2015

This area of the courtyard gets scant sun from end of Nov., so what better time for garden construction? Motivated by recent draught and desire to conserve water, i’m experimenting with sinking the garden beds below the paths. i figure it’s like hair – if i don’t like the haircut, it’ll grow back in.

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02. one of the 18" holes at the "U" end of a bed that has just been "lasagna" composted for 12", keeping it 6" below the path, which is built up with some of excavated hard pan.

02. one of the 18″ holes at the “U” end of a bed that has just been “lasagna” composted for 12″, keeping it 6″ below the path, which is built up with some of excavated hard pan.

 

03.  1st layer of kitchen scraps on top of some reedy plant material - the breathing tubes.  within 8 weeks, i expect these kitchen scraps to be converted to composted so il.

03. 1st layer of kitchen scraps on top of some reedy plant material – the breathing tubes. within 8 weeks, i expect these kitchen scraps to be converted to composted so
il.

 

04. lasagna style composting kitchen scraps covered with water, soil & corrugated cardboard; repeat x 12".

04. lasagna style composting kitchen scraps covered with water, soil & corrugated cardboard; repeat x 12″.

 

05. ready for next layer of kitchen scraps & a "worm transplant" from another active compost site. note border of nasturium transplants along outside

05. ready for next layer of kitchen scraps & a “worm transplant” from another active compost site. note border of nasturium transplants along outside

 

06. newly composted bed (right) , raised path (left). most of beds are cover-cropped with clover when they're finished, but i decided to plant some of the bulk room fava beans adjacent to the transplanted volunteers.

06. newly composted bed (right) , raised path (left).
most of beds are cover-cropped with clover when they’re finished, but i decided to plant some of the bulk room fava beans adjacent to the transplanted volunteers.

 

07. volunteer favas, tomato & lettuce rescued from this construction site

07. volunteer favas, tomato & lettuce rescued from this construction site

 

08.  fingerling potatoe patch couldn't resist planting fingerling potatoes from george in one of the trenches.  composted soil will be used to hill them up until bed is 6" below path.

08. fingerling potatoe patch
couldn’t resist planting fingerling potatoes from george in one of the trenches. composted soil will be used to hill them up until bed is 6″ below path.

 

09. site for circular herb bed which will not be connected to drip irrigation.  Lavenders, sages & rosemary - low water needs plants are planned.

09. site for circular herb bed which will not be connected to drip irrigation. Lavenders, sages & rosemary – low water needs plants are planned.

 

10. Queen comfrey continues to provide leaves for comfrey fertilizer tea.

10. Queen comfrey continues to provide leaves for comfrey fertilizer tea.

Edy learns to bake with solar oven

We use the recipe for Apple Pan Dowdy from my ancient Fannie Farmer cookbook.

Edy does the math to double the recipe and makes the cottage pudding topping.

4258 - edy makes batter

4260 Edy adds topping to fruit

Apples, raspberries and concord grapes from our gardens are baked in the solar oven with cinnamon, nutmeg & ginger and placed in the bottom of the pan.

It took about 1 1/2 hours to bake.

It took about 1 1/2 hours to bake.

Edy carries his creation to the art studio opening

Edy carries his creation to the art studio opening

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium apples, peeled, if desired, and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

 

PREPARATION

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange the sliced apples in a greased pie pan or 9-by-9-inch baking dish. cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar well. Add the egg, and beat until smooth. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt, and add this to the butter-sugar-egg mix, alternating with the milk. Spoon this batter over the apple slices. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cake is golden brown. Cool slightly before cutting.

 

Solar Cooker Chicken 4/24/14

people often ask about using the solar oven so today i decided to document roasting a whole chicken.
first, i soaked the whole chicken  in a brine for 3-4 hrs (organic- Mary’s Farm, sold at Galleria. i prefer Mary’s whole chicken to her scrawny legs.).

i opened the oven to pre-heat at 10:30 am, leaving a brick in it to absorb the heat so the oven won't bake itself before i put the food in. It was sunny & 75 degrees outside with no wind.

i opened the oven to pre-heat at 10:30 am, leaving a brick in it to absorb the heat so the oven won’t bake itself before i put the food in. It was sunny & 75 degrees outside with no wind.

IMG_4077

ingredients: 3.5 lb chicken – rinsed zest 1 lemon 4 lemon sections 1 tsp coarse sea salt 4 garlic cloves rosemary, thyme, oregano from garden 1/4 c plain yogurt.

pound garlic, cut herbs, lemon, & salt

IMG_4078

add to yogurt; add zest.

IMG_4080

massage the yogurt mixture inside & outside chicken. (really hard to take photos with hands covered in yogurt)

IMG_4082

today i had sweet potatoes that needed to be cooked to i cut them in half, lengthwise, placed them in the BLACK, covered roasting pan.

IMG_4083

potatoes made a raft for chicken. (Black cookware absorbs the heat best). Total weight of food was 7 lbs, so i knew it would take longer to cook. Could have used two ovens – but why use another pan?

IMG_4084

by 11:15, oven was 300 degrees.

IMG_4085

i removed the brick, put in the chicken and re-positioned the oven to capture full sun.

IMG_4087

An hour later i repositioned the oven.

IMG_4088

Everything was thoroughly cooked and delicious by 2:30 pm.

 

 

 

 

 

Kick off party for Pacific Electric, a worker owned co-op

Pacific Electric LogoPacific Electric is a full service electrical and solar contracting firm and a worker owned coop.  They are having a kick off party at the L.A. Eco Village on Friday, April 25 at 6pm and you are invited.

Make sure to check out their website to get an idea of the range of services they can provide and some cool pictures of their portfolio: www.pacificelectric.coop

More info on the event:

What: Pacific electric coop kick off party.  Enjoy some homemade food, locally brewed beer and cider.  Music by DJ Nova Jade.  Live music by Pawing at the Ceiling.  Featuring locally crafted pendant lights by Melba Thorne.

When: Friday, April 25, 2014.  6pm

where: L.A Eco-Village, 117 Bimini PL, LA 90004.  map

 

 

Oppose Unsafe Restart of San Onofre 12/14/12 in City Hall

LA City Council To Vote Tomorrow, Friday December 14 
On Resolution To Oppose Unsafe Restart of San Onofre

This is an issue that is near and dear to the hearts of many of us who have followed the events and on-going disasters at Fukushima.

 
TAKE ACTION
1. Please call your Los Angeles City Councilmember and tell them you support the Koretz/Rosendahl resolution on San Onofre safety!
To find out who your Councilmember is, go to this link: http://lacity.org/YourGovernment/CityCouncil/index.htm  Go to the bottom right hand side of the page where it says “Neighborhood Resources” and type in your address.
2. Please show up at the meeting tomorrow. It is enough to stand up and be counted, when one of the speakers tells everyone in support of the resolution to stand up. If you want to speak, you will have about a minute. The most important message you can give is that you are an LA resident, you are concerned about safety, and you support the resolution. If you are not from LA, it would be most helpful to stand up and be counted, since the Councilmembers will prioritize LA constituents.
WHEN: The council meets tomorrow, Friday, December 14 at 10 a.m. at City Hall, 200 North Spring Street. Please arrive at 9:30 to have time to go through security.
WHERE: ROOM 1010, CITY HALL, 200 NORTH SPRING STREET, LOS ANGELES, CA 90012

FUN TO BE HAD & HELP NEEDED SUNDAY 8/21 FROM NOON TO 5

L.A. Eco-Village is repairing its cob lizard bench on Sunday 8/21
from noon to 5.  If you are interested in natural building, take
this opportunity to observe and work with Ray Cirino, artist/inventor/
permaculturist, and mosaic artist, Lee Adams.  Ray
will be bringing his Sparky, the dragon pizza oven to the event
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPSq9_QA4m0 so bring a pizza or pizza
toppings to enjoy from his very eco-friendly oven. AND, we'll also be
doing a partial street closing with music and dancing in the street.

Come and have fun, even if you don’t have time to help.
But if you do, here’s the help needed:

– Schlepping tables, chairs to the street and/or
– Traffic control (we will be closing off half the street) and/or
– Take a turn as pizza chef (this is really simple and training provided) and/or
– Bring acoustic musical instruments to make music in the street and/or
– Setting up shade canopies if needed and/or
– Staffing a sign-in and info table for Echo Park Time Bank and L.A. Eco-Village

Come for an hour, a few hours or the whole event. Time Dollars paid for how many hours you spend helping (for Echo Park Time Bank members http://www.echoparktimebank.com)

Note that Ray’s Dragon Pizza Oven is also available for events and parties.

Contact: Lois Arkin, 213/738-1254, crsp@igc.org
Location of event: 131 Bimini Place, LA 90004 (one block east of Vermont between First and Second Streets

Dave Auerbach in the L.A. Times 2/2/11

Having a birthday lunch with my neighbor Dale today, he told me about this article that he caught in yesterday’s LA Times, and that he’d posted the hard copy on our bulletin board.  Couldn’t wait to get home to read it, especially when Dale indicated that he really understood what Dave’s research was about from this article, something that’s always been a bit too fuzzy for me.  But Lopez did clarify it for me.  Nonetheless, the critical part is about the simpletons that think they belong to the same species as we do but don’t want a rapid bus lane in their neighborhood.  Really strange, I agree.  How about an 8 lane two direction critical mass bike ride three days a week through those hoods till they cry “Uncle!”  Here’s the article (link to original):

Peering into a post-petroleum world

As protests in Egypt underscore the hazards of relying on imported oil, a bus and bike-riding scientist at UCLA is working on clean fusion energy that could wean us from foreign fuel.
By Steve Lopez

Dave Auerbach relaxing at home in LAEV courtyard

February 2, 2011

The story of how I ended up in the basement of a UCLA physics building, getting a tour of a plasma facility with a young scientist working on the development of clean fusion energy, begins with the uprisings in the Middle East.

On Monday morning, I headed west on Wilshire Boulevard with a couple of items on the agenda. First, I wanted to see if I could find any demonstrators left over from the weekend. People were still marching in the streets of Cairo, demanding the ouster of longtime U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak, so I thought there might still be a few protesters carrying signs in front of the West L.A. federal building.

I also wanted to meet with a UCLA student who had e-mailed me to say that he was ticked off about opposition to the proposed bus-only lane for Wilshire Boulevard. David Auerbach, a doctoral candidate who has no car and commutes by bicycle and bus, called the piecemeal scaling back of the bus plan “a great example of the typical L.A. governance.” He didn’t mean that as a compliment. Continue reading

Diana Leafe Christian Ecovillage Talk Feb. 22

If you haven’t heard Diana’s talk before, don’t miss this one.  OR if you have heard it, you won’t want to miss this one either, because it’s new and better than ever!

Ecovillages: Where They Are, What They’re Doing, Why They’re Important
Diana Leafe Christian (in person)

Diana Leafe Christian

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 7:30 pm
at L.A. Eco-Village
117 Bimini Pl, LA 90004  directions

Fee: $10 to $5 (sliding scale)
Reservations required: crsp@igc.org or 213/738-1254

With over 400 photos, this slide show demonstrates how ecovillages worldwide integrate ecological, economic, and social/cultural/spiritual sustainability, through:

• Permaculture design
• International peace activism
• Natural building
• Service to populations in need
• Renewable energy/off-grid power
• Local currencies
• Alternative technology
• On-site cottage industries
• Sustainable agriculture
• Participatory decision-making
• Earth-restoraton projects
• Conflict resolution & communication skills

WHY people are devoted to developing ecological settlements.
HOW ecovillages are beneficially influencing the wider culture.
HOW ecovillages will probably affect patterns of human settlement in the near future.

Continue reading

Farewell to Eco-Home

Eco-Home's Front Porch - Photo from Homegrown Evolution

After 22 years and hundreds of tours and countless inspirations, our near-neighbor Eco-Home will be closing its doors at the end of June 2010. Eco-Home has been a labor of love for its founder Julia Russell. Located a couple miles north of L.A. Eco-Village, Eco-Home is a single-family that has been retrofitted to conserve energy and water, grow food locally, and much more. (See below for info on the final Eco-Home tours!)

Continue reading

The True Story Behind the City’s New Bike Signs

New city bike signs installed at the corner of 2nd Street and Vermont Avenue - right around the corner from L.A. Eco-Village

This post was emailed to me by G.B. Chan, one of Los Angeles Eco-Village’s  residents. I’ve fixed some grammatical errors, but other than that, all the words and links and photos came straight from GB. I haven’t verified the verisimilitude or veracity of all of GB’s claims, but I’d certainly never heard a lie uttered from GB’s lips… and it does seem like these new bike signs are all over!

Pedestrians and bicyclist will by now no doubt have noticed or are noticing new bicycle safety signs installed in the city of Los Angeles. According to the city of Los Angeles’ Green Transportation Commission vice-chair E. Henry Thripshaw, these signs may well be “the city’s [attempt] to validate the importance and validity of bicyclists on the city streets and roads and such.”

Continue reading

Three Ways to Listen

Listening plays a key role in facilitating successful meetings, which is something residents do every week at our community meetings here at the L.A. Eco-Village.  Here’s a quick summary of three ways to actively listen as a faciliator:

  1. Mirroring: When someone says something, you repeat the words back verbatim to the person who said it.
  2. Summarizing: When someone takes awhile to make their point, quickly summarize it before going to the next person.
  3. Clarifying: If someone says something that isn’t that clear, I’ll ask them to clarify what they are trying to say.

For more information on these and why listening is important in general to promote good meetings, check out the full blog post I wrote on my own webpage.

Los Angeles Beaming Bioneers Oct 16-18, 2009 Downtown

Flyer for Oct 16-18 Bioneers Conference in Los Angeles www.labeaming.org

Flyer for Oct 16-18 Bioneers Conference in Los Angeles http://www.labeaming.org

October 16 – 18, 2009 at The Downtown Independent Theater (251 S. Main St., LA 90012)

BIONEERS: REVOLUTION FROM THE HEART OF NATURE
Go here for details:  http://labeaming.org/

OCTOBER 16, 17 and 18

Project Butterfly, Electric Lodge, Evolution Jewels and Downtown Independent bring you
the
1st Bioneers Conference Simulcast in LA!

Featuring:

LIVE SIMULCAST FROM THE BIONEERS CONFERENCE OF 15 PLENARY PRESENTATIONS:

HEADLINING THIS YEAR’S EVENT ARE NATIONALLY PROMINENT LUMINARIES, SOME OF WHOM INCLUDE:

Andrew Weil M.D.:
the nation’s foremost authority on holistic medicine, is author of numerous books including international bestsellers, Spontaneous Healing and Eight Weeks to Optimum Health.

Michael Pollan:
one of the most influential thinkers on food and agriculture, award-winning author of bestsellers including The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, and most recently In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.

Joanna Macy:
a celebrated Buddhist teacher, author, co-philosopher and activist in the peace, justice, and ecology movements.

Jerome Ringo:
president of the Apollo Alliance, and the first African-American to head a major conservation organization, the National Wildlife Federation, Ringo will stress the imperative of creating fair jobs that are healthy for people and the planet.

+ Many Others    L.A. Eco-Village is a co-sponsor of this event
Continue reading