Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'm not dead! it's been a long while since I've posted. Some people were worried, some people were angry, and some people didn't even notice. But I'm back! I promise that I will start getting back into the habit of posting, but like Loren mentioned in the previous post, we're going to switch things up a bit. No more photos everyday...things can get kind of crazy busy to keep up with a daily blog. To be honest, sometimes I wanted to post multiple pictures, but could not, due to our one photo a post rule. Now I'm going to take full advantage of the new rules and post a ton of pictures.

So for the past few weeks, I've been volunteering for some community projects during my free time on the weekends. They are two separate projects but both share similar qualities.
The first project is called Valley of the Sunflowers. Basically an empty, 2 acre, dirt lot in downtown Phoenix is slowly being converted into a field of beautiful sunflowers. Each Saturday morning volunteers are welcome to lend a hand in cleaning up this lot for planting.
I've shoveled dirt for hours, walked through lots of mud, installed temporary sprinkler systems, planted sunflowers, shoo-ed pigeons and met a lot of great new people.
The really cool thing about this project is that it is partnered with the Phoenix Bio Science High School, which is located right next to the field. The sophomore class will be harvesting the sunflowers and producing biodiesel fuel from the oils the seeds produce. They will then use that biofuel to power a hybrid car which they are constructing.
My sweet friend Nicole shoveling dirt from the berm. (My personal word of the month is "Berm." I had no clue what a berm was until I started volunteering for these I use this word all the time. It's basically a mound of earth that acts as a path and separates areas of land. There are large berms that surround the exterior of the sunflower field.
Shoveling more of the berm to make it even on all sides.

Moving pipes in the muddy waters for the temporary sprinkler system.
The tractor had to go through a couple times to really break through the ground.

Planting sunflower seeds with the students from the Bio Science High School.
We planted last Monday, and the seeds have already started to sprout. I'll have pictures of the sprouts soon!

The second project I've been volunteering at is the Roosevelt Growhouse, which is a local community garden. We meet Sundays from 10am-2pm, and work on an urban garden in downtown Phoenix.
The Growhouse started around 3 years ago to promote urban gardening and give the community a place to learn how to successfully build, grow, and sustain a garden in an urban environment. The garden is actually located across the street from the sunflower field, and is run by the same artist who is co-leading the sunflower project. I really LOVE this. It's a little more intimate, and I'm learning a lot, and having a blast. It's tiring work, but so rewarding to me.
The Growhouse schedule.
I spent my first day hacking up dead corn stalks for compost.
This is what it looked like at the start of the day.
This is what it looked like after. Lots of little berms! We planted some chard and beets in the front beds.
Sprouts after two weeks. The beds behind have been planted with more chard, beets, and arugula.
Arugula sprouts after 4 weeks. You can see how close the garden is to the street.
The Growhouse resident hen, Georgie.

More pictures to come as we get further into the season!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blanket progress

To begin, let me make the announcement that Brendan and I realized that life is a lot easier if you're not worrying about taking a photo everyday, so from now on we're just going to do some sporadic posts of pictures whenever we do something fun or interesting. So here goes my first try at it. (And sorry if you don't find crochet fun or interesting.)

Mary inspired me to get back to work on my blanket, so we had a crochet date on Saturday! The colors in her squares are a lot brighter than mine, and I love that even though we're doing the same project, our blankets are going to be completely different.

Mary's squares

I worked on it a little more yesterday, and I finished the whole bottom row. So now it looks like this:

Bottom row finished!