As most you know, the end of the semester is near, and so is the winter frost. This semester has been an incredibly productive one, yielding both biological and aesthetic progress as well as a massive growth in Tree House gardeners and supporters! The weeding was almost completely knocked out, solar panels for water heating were installed, organic dinners have been cooked and served, and an publicity of the Tree House mission has been furthered. Seems to me like a pretty productive semester! While we have accomplished a lot already, though, the blessing and the curse of this wonderful home is that we always must look ahead. Next semester we plan to increase the level of diversity among our existing selection of plants, trees, and bushes, redesign the stone staircase in the back, providing an appearance much more pleasing to the eye (and safe for the feet), as well as fully clear out any existing weeds while maintaining the perennial maintenance of our permaculture forest as we prepare to harvest the plants that will be yielding during the spring. Pretty Excellent. In a more communal light, we wish to establish not just a community, but a family of supporters devoted to both the House and the sustainable lifestyle. For this, I am most excited. We will be having a hiatus on this blog page, but we will begin updating the status during the early months of 2014! Though it is winter and traditionally a time of rest and regrowth for both the plants and the people working with them, the sustainable mission never ceases in importance or presence in our minds. We hope that it is the same for you!
Thank you for being so supportive, and we all look forward to updating you soon!
Class of 2016
A lot has happened since my last blog! We’ve “completed” the weeding for this semester and will resume workdays in the spring. Christian and Ellison have decided to put in the stair case in the garden and we can’t wait to see it! It’s about time those steps are fixed and who better to do it than two tree house members. Since the last time I posted an entry, we each have decided to set a personal goal for the rest of the year. Each member wrote this goal on our mirror wall in the dining hall to remind ourselves everyday of these goals. My goal for the rest of the year (and hopefully a life style change) is to use to a reusable coffee/tea cup! I know I went on a rant about how reusing coffee collars can make a difference. While that is true, I’ve decided to eliminate coffee cups and collars all together. This is a small goal however the small things really do count! One person can’t eliminate wastes however if everyone does one little thing to help eliminate wastes, it can make a big difference! Another bonus of using a reusable coffee cup is you get a discount at Java Joes! Now you’re saving money and making a difference, it’s a win-win! Lastly, we are having the second organic dinner this week! The menu includes: organic pasta with a butternut squash sauce (from the garden), organic apple oatmeal muffins, local breads, organic salads and zucchini fritters! Keep an eye out for next week’s blog for details on the event!
Till next time,
Hello fellow tree huggers! I am back for the next installment of the glorious and oh so informative Muhlenberg Treehouse Blog. A lot has happened since my last post and while my fellow housemates shall have covered the week by week stories I wish to share my viewpoint on everything permaculture. As winter looms in the distance, the air begins to carry a crisp chill as it blows about. Before the coming of Father Frost, the housemates were able to finish all of the seasonal weeding left overgrown from the summer months. A great “hurrah!”, for this was our ultimate task established during the beginning of the year.
Christian and I have continued with our Friday work days and our dear friend Mira has graced us with her presence repeatedly, bringing enthusiasm and vigor every time. Last Friday, with her help, we planted the first new trees at the Treehouse (fitting amirite?) two cherry trees to grow at the center of a circle of blueberry bushes. As we dawned the amethyst warpaint of choke-berry dye across our faces, the three of us went about the rest of our day in a bit more of a primal state.
During last Sunday’s garden hours the tree-mates banded together to complete the labeling of all plants located in the garden. With Simmi creating the labels, Nickie heading research, and Christian and I running about the garden, we succeeded at placing a silver sign with common and scientific name at the base of every plant in the Edible Forrest.
As Christian posted earlier about the Solar Panel Installation, I now wake up bright and early with the rising Sun to take a warming shower powered by the very thing that first created life on Earth. I have attached a picture of the solar panels during installation and the two men that put in a full days work before driving to Philadelphia to continue working all-night on a fully sustainable house. I would like to take the time to thank these two men for their hard work and friendliness in letting Christian and I help in the installation process of mounting the panels.
I guess that’s everything for now folks! Please stay tuned as the fun is just now beginning for the individuals housed in the glorious Treehouse, surely to be a staple landmark on the campus of Muhlenberg.
Hi everyone! I’m writing to let you all know about a new initiative we have started in the Tree House. For the rest of the semester, each of us has picked one lifestyle change to commit to, to both reduce our personal carbon footprints as well as examine the feasibility of certain lifestyle changes within the college setting (ie: renting a house vs. owning it). The personal goal I have set for myself is to not use any non-reusable food or beverage containers for the rest of the semester.
So, what does this mean for me as a Muhlenberg Student? Does this mean I “can’t” have Mule Express at Muhlenberg, because the food is automatically served in a cardboard container? Or does it mean I will turn heads by bringing my reusable ‘Berg To Go box there? We will see!
Our coffee station, Java Joe, already offers a discount for all drinks if you bring a reusable mug- so the commitment I made for myself will actually save money! (I usually intend to bring my own thermos and forget.) I will give you all an update on how I am doing with my goal the next time I write a blog post.
Over the next week or so, we will be working on labeling the plants we have recently added to the garden!
Do you have any ideas for Tree House initiatives? Leave a comment and share your ideas with us!
PS- here are some pictures from our event with Lori Meier (which Christian discussed in his post before mine)
Well, to say the least, The month of October has been filled with progressive achievement, both ecologically and through community engagement. As of the middle of this month, the Permaculture House’s water system is now entirely solar heated. The panels were installed on the back porch, and have been working successfully since the moment of installation. I am proud to say that as a member of the Tree House, the “guinea pig” installation of these panels could not have gone more successfully.
On the topic of permaculture gardening education, Ms. Lori Meier, a certified permaculture forrest garden planner and aunt of Amanda Meier, a former student here at ‘Berg and active member of the Tree House, came and gave an interactive tour and brief lesson on the basic philosophy and science behind sustainable and diversified gardening. The lecture was fantastic, and the students that came not only listened in to the lesson, they stayed and helped in the Garden afterwords. It was a power hour of gardening, and definitely an event that will happen again.
In regards to the rest of ‘Berg life, STRIDe, or the Student Travel Resource Information Database, had its first (hopefully of many) cultural organic potluck dinner the evening of October 17. To say this went well is an understatement. Over 25 students came to cook, eat great food, engage in some great conversation, and share with each other in a multitude of different ways. Food was sourced from the Farmer’s market, our very own garden, and from students’ kitchens. I am so happy that the space is being utilized for both action, education, and community building and engagement in the realms of cultural interaction and sustainable lifestyle.
‘Till next post,
So far living in the tree house has been incredible. We had our organic dinner with the garden house a few weeks and it was a success! The food was absolutely delicious. The menu had: organic pasta with a butternut squash sauce, chocolate chip zucchini muffins, zucchini fritters, purple potatoes, and a variety of salads! We had a great turnout. The dinner was a great way to involve the local community as well as the Muhlenberg community. A personal project that I have been working on is reusing coffee collars. We don’t actually realize how many coffee collars we dispose of in a day and how easy it is to reuse them! I’ve been using the same two coffee collars for the last month. Every time I get a coffee at Java Joes, I simply use the same coffee collar instead of getting a new one. I believe the small things can make a difference, even if it’s a small project like reusing coffee collars. This week permaculturist Lori Meier is hosting a common hour event on a 101 to permaculture gardening! This event should be fun and informative for everyone! Keep an eye out for a post to come about how the event went!
Until Next Time,
Greetings friends, I am back for my next blog post and stoked to update the community on the progress of the garden. Last time the treemates of the Permaculture House were confronted by a rampant jungle of weeds and undesired plant life. With Hatchet, Shovel, Hoe, and Rake we beat back the agrarian beasts to reveal a beautiful permaculture forest focused on the interrelationship of all plants. Gone is the Rose of Sharron, Buckwheat, and Choke Berry, revealed is the False Indigo, Green and Gold, Asparagus, Yarrow, Basil, and Bleeding Heart. We have spearheaded multiple successful community gatherings; bring the average student back into the forest and watch as they transform into a primal state, taking hatchet to stumps, scouring the ground for grasses with relentless furry. Each individual left the backyard with a smile on their face and a greater appreciation for the life that surrounds them. As we progress forward we have but a fraction of the garden to finish weeding. With winter pressing on our heels, we plan to finish reveling each desired plant from its surrounding weeds. Once first frost comes we shall begin the masonry work. Using the scoured rocks dug up during weeding, we plan to rebuild the treacherous stair case to the lower half of the garden, and restructure the crumbling herb spiral. There is much work ahead for the treemates but a strong sense of motivation. Everyday I wake up in the morning and gaze outside, I see not an image you may see, rather an amorphous shape of possibilities. The limits are endless in this small plot of land and I plan to harness each section of earth to its up most efficiency.
Until Next Time,
P.S. We get solar hot water heating installed two days from today. Look forward to pictures and information as installation begins.