Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hall Fletcher park update

For those of you who are following this story I met with the principal of Hall Fletcher, Gordon Grant, Monday morning. We walked the site and he was extremely appologetic. It doesnt bring back our loss, but I appreciated his concern and intent to make projects like ours safer. Here is the follow up letter I wrote that he asked me to send to him. I hope this is an invitation for you fruit nutters to get involved with the club again. We have a lot we can do if we so choose. (Karen, i think getting some press on this is a great idea. Do you have any interest in following up on that? We have graphic photos. "Parks and wrecks" is notorious for damaging trees. A letter to the mayor? letter to the editor Mountain x?)

Gordon,Thank you again for your time and concern. This helps alleviate the frustration and disheartened feelings in the wake of the city digging up and throwing away the plantings at the Hall Fletcher school while working on the storm drains. I figure we lost close to $400.00 of money we raised as community memebers for the original plant material and mulch. This doesn’t include three years of care and anticipation of fruiting that most likely would have begun this spring. Events like this, and the perennial girdling of young plantings by careless weed eaters by the school's, as well as parks and recs, grounds keepers are very familiar to us. This discourages people from volunteering. I try to tell them what they do will make a difference, but it is always one step forward and two steps back. We dont get paid for our efforts. The only reward we get is the possibility of making our community a little better for us and our kids.

Looking forward, I will talk to the people in my club (some who are in the Hall Fletcher community) and see what interest there is in revitalizing that planting. I have ideas, and the club has some resources, but I know many of them will be discouraged and angry. I will tell them of our meeting and hopefully they will see this as an opportunity and move on. If that goes well the second phase will be purchasing some native riparian meadow flower seed mix for the basin and discuss what we have in the budget to spare for plantings. Thank you for agreeing to leave the basin free from fescue and a 6 foot wide corridor around the top for plantings. I will keep you posted on the sentiments of the club. Please feel free to forward this to the people who supervise these projects as it is in their care that we trust. If they don’t know of the damage suffered, than we can never change the situation. Regards,Bill WhippleNeighbor and community supporter of the Hall Fletcher school

1.) I will talk to the Buncombe fruit nuts club and see what interest there is.

2.)Order native seed mix from Ernst seeds (paid by club)

3.)Redesign plantings and begin soil preparation

4.)(If possible) Gordon uses his influence to procure some well composted leaf mould and mulch from the city. A truck load of each dumped at the site would be optimal.

5.)Encourage a class, or classes to get involved (perhaps adopt a plant). Teachers can use this as an opportunity to incorporate into their curriculum essential skills needed in the future. Skills such as soil care and its restoration, riparian ecology, appropriate planting for ecosystems and microclimates, nutrition, wildlife, art for signs, etc …

Monday, December 5, 2011

City helps with weeding at the Hall Fletcher edible park

Fruitcakes and nutrolls,
Thought you may want to see the "progress" at Hall fletcher Park we observed yesterday. I find out tomorrow whether the plant material was saved and put aside or what. There was a meader persimmon, an aronia, 2 grafted paw paws, several hazels, and a couple of select elderberries. One elderberry held its ground as did a hazel. A memorial service for the park will be held on the field trip this weekend.


Monday, April 4, 2011

North Asheville Tree Care Party

Ira shoveling "Eli Sludge"
 On Wednesday, March 30th a good looking crew of six North Asheville Urban Farmers and friends started their day sinking shovels into a 55 gallon drum of some good s@#t.  They then were off to the Flint Magnolia Park in North Asheville to spread that anaerobically digested goat manure on the three year old edible planting of  11 native trees, shrubs and vines.  
Service Berries in Bloom

 Upon initial inspection these trees were in dire need of some good ole' fashioned sheet mulch loving, and that was exactly what they received.  We hoed weeds away from the bases and then layered AZOMITE, leaves that were collected from around the park, cardboard from across the street and topped it off with some single ground mulch.  We also added tree guards to the bases of all the trees to prevent the deadly Jacobsons Disease.
Service Berry in need of some loving.
Mulched out and protected Service Berries.
Pecan with a serious case of Jacobsons disease.

After finishing at Flint Magnolia we were off to the Montford Rec Center to care for the vast array of Edibles that have been put in over the last 15(?) years.  There are some very established Oriental Persimmon, Apple, Pear, and Plum trees along with Fig, Elaeagnus, Elderberry, Blueberry, Chinese Date, Cornelian Cherry, Paw Paw and a few mystery trees that I have to check in with Bill on.  If you have not checked out this Gem of a public space it is a must.  It is a pretty harsh site so the trees were shaking their limbs with joy upon witness of Fruit Nuts bearing hoes, amendments, and wheelbarrows brimming with Organic Matter.
Montford Rec Center. 

The crew.
A big shout out to all who lent a hand on this amazing 90%-chance-of-rain-without-a-drop day.  Camaraderie and laughter were at an all time high and the air was thick with community building and education.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fruit Nuts Visit to Imladris Farm

On Saturday March 19th, 25+ members (and a few potential members) of the Buncombe County Fruit Nuts spent a
fun and educational afternoon at Imladris Farm in Fairview.  This is a seventh generation farm, located in the Spring Mountain community of Fairview, was  established by the Marlowe family a looong time ago. Walter Harrill (one of them Marlowes), his wife, Wendy, and their son, Andy, owners of this beautiful place, hosted us. Walter gave us a wonderful two-hour tour of his operation.

The highlights of the tour included:
Inside the rabbit barn.
Observing an extensive field of Carolina Raspberries, and hearing Walter’s system for both maximizing the harvest, minimizing labor and keeping the ever-present perennial weeds at bay. Sawdust mulching, weed wacking and goats are involved. A smaller field of Chester blackberries were viewed and blueberries were discussed briefly. We entered a small and ancient barn currently used to house goats in winter. Walter explained how the cycle of straw bedding + goat droppings + chicken aeration + ground moisture makes this barn both a shelter and a wonderful compost factory.   A newly built structure housing lots of big rabbits was neat to see. The rabbits are a food and income source (sales to local restaurants and tailgate markets) and great fertilizer makers (their shit don’t smell, baby!)

Pile of raspberry canes we collected.

Making Bio-char.
The hands-on portion of the day involved gathering hundreds of pruned, spent, raspberry canes into a huge pile.  (Wow what a crew of 25 people can accomplish when working together for 30 minutes!) Then, in a highly scientific manner, we stuffed as many canes as possible into a 55 gallon metal drum and set them on fire. Whoosh! By closing the drum at precisely the right moment and letting the canes smolder for a predetermined length of time, biochar was produced. Marshmallows were not involved, nor was the local fire department. Check out this very informative video of Goodhearts friend John Rodgers making bio-char with a homemade unit here.  Niki found this informative website on biochar too.

The highlight of the day was a wonderful meal prepared by Wendy Harrill that included   rabbit stew, excellent green salads, herbal teas, homemade blueberry ice cream (a new product) and delicious blueberry/apple fruit leather. Thank you Wendy! We were also able to purchase frozen rabbit meat, fresh eggs and a variety of jams and preserves.  After dinner we gathered for a brief BFNC meeting.

Some of the items discussed were:
Tom K. has plans to add a blog onto the existing BFN Club Webpage(?) so members can hold discussions and show images there. He is also negotiating a Fruit/Nut visit to the Long Branch Environmental Education Center, possibly next month.

Andrew GB. Who has been keeping track of the temperature and bloom date of his fruit producing plants for a looong time now, said that although this early warm spell is causing plants to awaken a bit prematurely, we’re not too badly ahead of ourselves. Keep your fingers crossed, go out and talk to your plants and soil about slowing down. (And maybe dig the frost cloth out of the shed just in case?) Andrew is also considering a Fruit/Nut visit to his property in the coming months. Stay tuned.

Bill W is all het-up about quinces. He has a plan to get his quinces to pollinate better this year, and it may involve YOU. If you have quinces in bloom and can spare 5 to 10 cuttings of branches in bloom, bring them to the Earthfare parking lot (the parking area at the top of the ramp/driveway leading into the Earthfare lot). Meet there at 7pm on
Wednesday, March 23rd. Bill’s bees will do the rest, cross-pollinating with your quince blossoms and his and perhaps a good crop of fruit will be the result.

After this meeting the sane and reasonable Nuts left and those that remained got up to all kinds of mischief. Musical instruments and Mason jars of clear liquids were involved, but that’s all I know. In short, if you weren’t there you missed a hell of a great day!NikiB