Water Bars, A-Frame Level and Comfrey...

... are just a few of the projects we worked on yesterday with the help of AVI volunteers and residents. Lloyd and Meesh constructed an A-Frame level. A simple triangular tool using gravity to determine an accurate level reading. The Egyptians used it in building pyramids. We use it to put water bars and brush pile fencing on contour. The two standing bars are about 5.5' long and spread 6' apart. The cross bar secures them and a plumb betty hangs from the apex. To calibrate, it's set on level ground and a notch is marked on the cross bar where the plumb betty hangs. You can see here that at this particular spot on the patio it is not quite level. This allows for drainage. Dave and Shawn dug some water bars to help with erosion from all the crazy rain we've been having. Amie transplanted comfrey around the chicken fence so that there will be a ready chicken food supply easily at hand. And thanks to Mary and Blaize for their help too! Thanks everyone!


*** ThE bEEs ARe HerE ***

The bees arrived and got settled into their new digs today. Just in time too, before a torrential thunderstorm came in. (Can't wait until our rainwater catchment system is all set up!) Here's Shawn carrying in one of the hives. Their apparent annoyance at being moved was evident by the very audible buzz coming from the box. Now in full bee suit, he takes the temporary screen closure off the hive opening to let the bees roam about. They seemed eager to get out but not too angry.


Tomato Spacing

Meesh here. Hi. I'm taking a poll... how far apart do you plant your tomato plants? There's been some discussion 'round here whether it should be 2 ft or 3 ft. Wondering what peoples' thoughts were. Please comment. And here's something new I learned about transplanting tomatoes... plant them deep so they root stronger. I had learned that when transplanting (in general) ya put the start plug in the ground so that the surface of the plug soil is level with the surface of the ground soil and not to get any new soil packed up around the stem of the plant. Well, I guess with tomatoes it's different. We have tomato starts that are about two feet tall, they're now planted in the ground with just about 6 inches of the plant above ground. All the stems underground will take root making the plant stronger. Any comments?


Janell and Shawn had a great radio show discussing Permaculture on VIRATO LIVE! 880 AM The Revolution. If you missed it, you can check out the archive at http://880therevolution.com/cc-common/podcast/single_podcast.html?podcast=ViratoLive.xml
Janell on da mic! Preach it, sistah.
Shawn called in remotely. Here are his levels. Hi Shawn.


Listen to Shawn & Janell discuss Permaculture on the radio tomorrow

Shawn and Janell of Ashevillage Institute will be discussing Permaculture on VIRATO LIVE! 880 AM The Revolution, Saturday, May 23, 10 AM to 11 AM ES Or listen online at http://viratolive.com

Volunteer Day

Big thanks to our volunteers that came out yesterday to help! We got a lot done and couldn't have done it without you. We appreciate it!
Mary and Blaize harvested burdock root and mugwort and planted tomatoes and basil in a keyhole bed. Keyhole beds allow us to make better use of the arable space available. We placed a keyhole-shaped path into an oval-shaped bed instead of continuing the path all the way through. We have more space to plant and can still access the plants within arm's reach from any of the footpaths, eliminating the need to step in the beds and compacting the soil.
Sage joined Mary and Blaize planting squash. Thanks for your help Sage!
Dave and Lloyd worked on building a base for the heavy bee hives that will arrive this weekend. Our bees are being placed with the chickens for a reason. Multiple functions is one of the leading principles of permaculture. Elements are placed in the design to mutually benefit each other and eliminate tasks. In this case, the bee colony clears their dead out of the hives providing a food source for the chickens. And that's just one function. Thanks also to Lucinda and Frank for coming out to help. After a gorgeous morning of hearty work, it was nice for the whole crew to take a break together, share a yummy potluck lunch and chat a bit. Hope to see y'all next Thursday!


2009 Season at AVI underway

Things are ramping up around here. This last week we welcomed our resident permaculturist, Shawn, and his family to the AVI house. Shawn is designing our site master plan which we'll be implementing throughout the summer. We also welcomed Lloyd, an AVI resident, who arrived the same day to round out our core team of sustainability superstars: Steveo, Keri, Ira, Michael, Janell, and Meesh.
Ashevillage Institute core team meeting
Meetings, meetings, meetings are the order of the day. It takes a lot of planning and organizing to run this show and make real and lasting change. AVI core team meeting, website development meeting, strategic planning meeting, volunteer orientation meeting, Permaculture Design Course meeting... phew! Good thing we have a sweet and stellar cast of characters, nourishing wild and fermented lunches and plenty of organic dark chocolate to get us through!
Volunteer meeting with bikes, barrels and burdock under the apple tree

AVI on the radio

Ashevillage Institute will be discussing Permaculture on VIRATO LIVE! 880 AM The Revolution, Saturday, May 23, 10 AM to 11 AM ES Or listen online at http://viratolive.com