Archive for May, 2008

Andrew Ebersold isn’t quite an Eagle Scout yet. He still has a few more hurdles to clear, including finishing his service project, building steps up the slope to the Center. No denying it though – Andrew has done the Eagle Scout program proud with his excellent work so far.

The problem was a serious one. When the new building was built, it made the already steep and eroded slope in front of the Center even more of a hazard. To get to the Mens’ Shelter nearby, homeless neighbors climbed laboriously up the steep hill. In rainy weather, it became a slippery danger, especially to older neighbors who might fall and break a hip or stumble into the path of trucks and traffic on North Tryon Street.

Andrew researched different solutions to the problem, and settled on a sturdy, simple, and environmentally-friendly non-paved set of steps, similar to ones at a nearby school that have held up well for several years. With friends and family helping, he started work in May, with completion targeted for early June. We’ll post more pictures, as the work continues.

Bravo, Andrew!


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We are using rubble to create all kinds of garden art, edgings, sacred spaces – you name it. Here is one way we get color to the chunks of concrete and riprap, featuring a local group as they work their way through the process.

The next step was to work painting the stones.

The chunks are decorated using simple, not-toxc paints. Everybody can join it.

And here is the staging area for the garden, with big colorful rocks suitable for improvised garden uses.

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Writers and gardeners both need rhythm in our lives, an underlying structure. In spring, the garden song wins. So, finally, I’m going to make myself write a bit now, after a month plus of silence. And when I’m done, I’ll go down in the basement and stick some sweet potatoes into buckets of moist soil mix, so they can start sprouting for planting out next month.

And I’ll post a couple of pictures, too. I figure if I blog regularly every day for a week, we can get caught up here. Our big news – a Rodale grant for a real rain harvesting system – will be a high priority. Here’s one of our bright spots, New Dawn roses in full song. I’m going to have to move them later this year when we move the fence, but for now I’ll just enjoy them.

The news beyond that is that our Eagle Scout Andrew is busy building steps up the front, and our garden has given us a wonderful harvest of lettuce (gobbled down in one sitting, but that happens when you feed 200-300 people). We also have lovely strawberries. Kids from Trinity School have come and planted out the tomatoes they helped us grow from seed. All kinds of volunteer sunflowers are blooming.

Here’s a photo gallery of people who’ve been helping, beginning with Cleo and her friend, who is taking a couple of our tomato seedlings off to his camp.

Paul Hanneman of the Center does what he does very well, telling a volunteer group about the The Center while broadening their understanding of the complexities of social class, poverty and injustice.

University students make a big contribution to the spring/summer garden through their volunteer work. So do groups from businesses, civic organizations, and schools.

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