16 posts categorized "Sports"


Coop Scoop for Hot Chicks

My neighbor has a well-deserved reputation for quality construction projects.  So when he said he and his son were "throwing together" a chicken coop a few months ago, I already knew that his thrown together shelter would end up looking better than any I might build, no matter how carefully.  I was right.

The south-facing window on most chicken coops which lets in that precious winter sun also turns the coop into a greenhouse if you're not careful.  Make sure to vent as necessary, but there's no substitute for a patch of ground for the birds to roam.  Pecking out grain and bugs from the ground give the animals a workout while keeping their food supply diverse.  Chickens will eat most anything from the compost bucket (or most anything, period).  A healthy diet will result in healthier chickens, which means better eggs and/or meat according to your tastes.

Another friendly household with chickens I know used some nice found branches for accents like door handles for their coop.  With local laws lenient on fowl, many city-dwellers in Lansing are finding that with a simple shelter and a little consistent care, keeping chickens is a productive delight.

Don't forget that a little shade goes a long way to make animals comfortable on a hot day.  No need for AC in the coop.



Scrapfest Exceeds Expectations

This weekend the third annual Scrapfest in Old Town allowed nealry 20 teams to grab a pile of scrap from Friedland Industries and fashion it into any thing they fancied.  One of the most popular pieces was the guitar-playing skeleton, but each work of art was a show-stopper.  Some highlights:


Yes, you can ride it.


The tree (above) featured exquisite detail (below).





The table above is completely functional, complete with shelf storage and accessories.


The attention to detail on the pieces prompted many comments.  Some were interactive, allowing the observer to play music or otherwise use the piece.  The skeleton (above) and bird (below) received some of the highest bids (all pieces are auctioned off via silent auction during Scrapfest).




Local Lansing Lady Goes to Haiti: Building houses...

I first met Kelly working together on a community gardening project, but soon found out she was coach to some friends raised around here.  Just a few weeks ago I was starting to get used to seeing Kelly at her regular volunteer session at The Garden Project Resource Center.  Then comes the sudden news: Kelly's moving to Haiti to help construct prototype housing!  But wait, it gets better...she's blogging about it!  Check it out!!! 

Her posts are already sparkling, you can read her blog here.   As she notes in her background info, "I am ready for a new adventure. I still haven't figured out if I am running from or running to something. Maybe a little of both. I have been offered a job to help build prototype housing in the wake of the quake in Haiti. I am going to be part of a small work crew problem solving, sweating and building two homes...."  Oh, and she has multiple degrees and has raised three kids.  Go on, girl!

Kelly says other than the blog, she will be "incommunicado;" here's wishing all the best for her.

Kelly's deft but welcoming humor is obvious to anyone who's met her, her skill working with others is enhanced by this natural friendliness.  Despite the incredible challenges faced by the people and land of Haiti that have been exponentially exacerbated since the earthquake, we trust Kelly will find a niche

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Permanent Veg: Sick tattoo from Fish Ladder

Talk about a perennial crop.


Continue reading "Permanent Veg: Sick tattoo from Fish Ladder" »


REALLY Raised Beds


Volunteers and AmeriCorp members help construct REALLY raised beds at the Hunter Park GardenHouse Saturday (above).

Below:  This traditional design was executed with all cedar lumber thanks to a grant and exhaustive comparison shopping on hardware and wood.


Above: Carrots grow next to the REALLY raised beds.  At center is one design.  To the right is an alternative that allows for wheelchair users to get their legs under the bed like a desk!

Many people helped with constructing and installing the beds.  It took a lot of leveling, both of the beds and the pavers... (below).

Bed2 Chris and john

Construction close up

Above:  Lag bolts were all partially set before the final tightening to ensure a consistent fit.

Below:  Lots more was happening at the GardenHouse (as always), including maintaining beds for their CSA and other uses.  The Garden House hosts an open drop-in for garden discussion every Sunday at 12:30 pm.


Jared Patrick

Below, bed designer Jared Talaga (seated) thanks all who helped with the installation.


The GardenHouse is a great place to nurture seedlings and friendships.  Check it out in Hunter Park on Lansing's East side.




Mid-April Gardening

This is the kind of weather that gets you itching to plant seeds out in the garden.  Some can be planted as soon as soil is 'workable' in spring.  But when is soil workable?

Soil moisture or wetness is a big determining factor.  Garden soil or compost that forms clumps when handled is usually still too wet from early spring thaw and rain.  Standing water near a garden is also a good sign that it may be too early for heavy cultivation.


On the other hand, soil that crumbles when handled is usually more ready.  


To get your soil workable and ready to plant sooner, there are a few things you can do:

  • Let wind and sun work for you.  To get drier soil sooner, fork or rake your garden to expose more surface area.  However, don't roto-till if soil is still clumping.
  • Mound it up.  Mounds or simple raised beds allow soil to drain more quickly.  These areas of your garden will also warm earlier in the season, which means better germination for not only the first seeds of spring, but also later summer crops.
  • Mix it up.  Working in compost, leaves, pine needles, or other organic materials according to the needs of your soil can help create more air space and encourage the beneficial action of worms.


Wind and Rain

April showers brings May flowers.  And what do May flowers bring?  Pilgrims.  And what do Pilgrims bring?

Well, among other things they brought the 'scientific' (oy-vey) mind to North America's native planting habits--thus a jug of fish emulsion at best or a tanker of petroleum-derived nitrogen as worst has supplanted the healthy fish planted beneath hills of companionable, heterogenous native food crops like corn, beans and squash.  Crops planted together, and in changing locations so as never to overtax one facet of nature's vast unity.

What could alleviate the burdensome implications of a mid-month tax deadline quite like the sweet prospects born of pea-planting?  In a time when people of all religions and histories are bound ever closer together in a mad spiral of insidious self-destruction, where are the reflections of hope but in our living cultivations, our understandings of mutual reliance?

The TV mocks and hypnotizes, computers and their hand-held dopplegangers mock and synthesize our understanding in a dancing weft of untraceable, tangled infinity.

Pitted are we against one another, neighbor and sister and brother, for a lesser cheese than we could mouse together.

Lets enjoy a bowl of cherries together.


Protest or not, carrots a common ground for real wealth

Carrots.  While chekcing in with a fellow gardener, she reminded me that these mid-March thaws are great for harvesting super sweet carrots left from last year's garden.  So I tromped out to the carrot patch, recycling-bin-in-hand, and here's what came of it:



When I got home, Nikii was off to help fellow educators make signs for Wednesday's gathering at Michigan's state capitol.  That's the building with the big crowd in front of it.  So if you're a politician, or a person, you know something is up.  All rights are human rights, and together we can wrest them from greedy leaders who are further concentrating our gross inequalities of wealth.  

In the last twenty-five years, the richest one-tenth of one percent have gone from controlling a fifth of national wealth to nearly a third.  That means everybody else, including you, me and all the richest people we personally know are splitting the rest. Grow your own carrots, yo.


Ted X Events coming to Michigan

Perhaps you're familiar with TED, the site with all sorts of inspiring and thought-provoking presentations.



TEDx is like TED, but independently organized in various localities.  And Lansing is not the only Michigan city set to host a local Ignite-like extravaganza.  

TEDx  Grand Rapids is set for May 12 of this year, and TEDx U of M is coming right up on April 8th (just over a month!)

Get more info and background at TEDx Lansing or visit their Facebook page.

For even more connections, check out the Tedx Lansing organizers' blogs, featuring Payal Ravani.


See you there.



Spoiled Rotten

I was peeling a clementine in the kitchen.  Clearly it was not grown in Michigan.  It had been stored out in our 'garbage room,' the unheated sun-porchy recycling-mayhem and cold-storage grotto off our kitchen.  The temperature has been perfect for fruit and potatoes all winter (the garlic is on the front porch, the sweet potatoes in the basement).

Continue reading "Spoiled Rotten" »

Gabriel Biber

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