How Much are You Wooling to Help?

Friday ALTS October 13th 2017

Weather: Clear blue sky, 65 degrees, and no wind

By: Adaleigh Glassbrook and Claire Ghan

IMG_0370For Friday ALTS we split into three groups to divide the work that needed to be done. One group dug out stubborn weeds in order to provide room for new plants to grow in the upcoming season. Some of the weeds were left as they provided a good source of ground coverage without the risk of harming future growth. The second group pushed wheelbarrows of mulch to the areas where they were needed to help protect the ground. The much consisted mostly of wood-chips and pine-needles. These two groups worked together by the first clearing an area of weeds and the second by filling the newly cleared area with mulch. The groups then switched roles about halfway through our ALTs session time.IMG_0383The third group pulled apart pieces of raw wool to remove clumps of foreign matter and to prepare it for the next process in Christine and Candace project, cleaning. The wool was provided from Candace’s family sheep and she sheared some of it herself. The majority of us had never worked with wool before so it was quite an experience (we touched a lot of poop). There were a few large seeds found within the wool which we collected to avoid accidentally adding new plants to the garden. The wool group sat in the shady area of the willows which provided some cool relief from the warm weather. IMG_0385However, we were able to keep our spirits high by conversing about personal interests. Kim, pictured above, pulled apart raw wool tediously to clean it as much as he could. While the wool was not a typical ALTs project it was completed in order to help out our fellow classmates with their final project.We all had an enjoyable and memorable experience, while still working hard.

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Innovative Thinking and Designing

On October 6th, from 1:00-3:00, the Friday ALTs spent their time in  the Boundaryless @ NAU lab.
Weather: 69℉
By Kaitlynn Cooper and Emanuel Molina

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fullsizeoutput_6b0Boundaryless is a place to help flourish your ideas, make connections outside and be aware of all your resources. A place of inspiration where ideas and brainstorming become opportunities. Where you work with what is the problem?

fullsizeoutput_6b1On October 6th, 2017 the Friday alts met to work on the “Sustainably and Locally Made” Product ideas. Here at boundaryless, we were put in an thinking friendly environment where different mediums were able to be used to express our ideas and go through the various variables involved with creating a product. We split up into our different groups and started nailing ideas to a board and writing down our research.

fullsizeoutput_6b5The different steps at boundaryless include ideation: “the formation of ideas or concepts”, feasibility: “the state or degree of being easily or conveniently done”, design phase: “a plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is built or made, quality” assurance: “the degree of excellence of something”, and finding out who the customers are.

fullsizeoutput_6b7Here my group including me, Emanuel and my other two partners Addie and Claire were working with one of the workers of Boundaryless, Katheryn discussing our plan of action. What is our product? Teabags. What are our ingredients? To be determined. What is our design? A heart. What will we use for packaging? Coffee filters. What is the need? Everyone loves drinking tea. We researched how to make tea bags, prices for different materials for packaging and ideas for design.

fullsizeoutput_6baEmanuel- What is Boundaryless’s mission?

Jacob- “To connect students from different majors to solve real-world problems in different ways, to instill innovative thinking than just creating innovations”

Robert Frost-ing the Frost

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”
-Robert Frost

We began our time at Colton Gardens with creativity and mindfulness: two key aspects to health often overlooked in the mind of a college freshman. As Kim instructed us to find solitude and express ourselves imaginatively, we realized how taking time like that is paralleled to the work we do on the garden. We must care and tend to ourselves to allow our souls to bloom in the process.

IMG_0087 Displaying IMG_0095.JPG As we learned about the tradition of haikus, Kim showed that nature can be the best inspiration. The weather on the twenty-ninth was sunny and warm, the perfect forecast for sitting under a tree and writing about what was seen, felt, and known.

Displaying IMG_0076.JPGAlthough the class didn’t share what was written or drawn during our meditative time, we shared an unspoken understanding of what we felt. We kept our art and carried it with us. I think we all will for a while.Displaying IMG_0069.JPG

The second half of the class was a clean-up of the sundry of harvests lost to the previous frost. It was a sort of funeral service, in a sense, with withered kale and squash making their way to the compost bins.

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Our group split into teams – some would handle the perished tomatoes, some the kale. As we gathered into our groups to do our bidding, the sun harshly struck our backs. The wind, however, was gentle. It grazed along our arms as we pulled roots and piled the dead vegetation in wheel barrels. Light conversation ensued as we focused on our tasks at hand. It was a quiet time of the class, though our groups seemed connected over the shared responsibility of managing the garden, and the potential that was lost due to the frost. Shortly after, Kim winded down our tasks with a pleasing bell, and called us back to our designated table.Displaying IMG_0092.JPG

Reflecting on the time in the garden, the browned leaves represented a sort of rebirth. As winter approaches us, we can only view it as an opportunity to make the garden thrive under harsh conditions, and enliven our efforts in cultivating successful harvests.

 

Monday ALTs – Everything’s Frozen!

Kalea Shephard & Sierra Gleason

September 25th, 2017

Monday the 25th was our first ALTs day after a significant frost hit the Flagstaff area. Most of our crops froze over the weekend, leaving us to pick up the pieces. That afternoon was much warmer than previous days, fluctuating between 58-64 degrees Fahrenheit and the change in temperature was reflected in the wildlife we stumbled upon which included a very large slug.

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Compost:

One of our first tasks was reworking the compost. Active compost was mixed and straw was added to balance out the green matter added to the compost as we removed dead or frozen plants. A team of students also worked to move the finished compost into the “finished” bin.

The compost bins at the Colton Community Gardens consist of 3 separate bins:

Active – The bin compost is actively being added to, this is where you place food scraps, garden trimmings, and other compostable items

Composting – This is the bin where the magic happens! This is where compost sits and develops, nothing new is added to this bin

Finished – This is the result of the two other bins, this is where the incredible nutritious soil is!

 

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Compost Bins: Complete, Composting, Active

 

 

Tomatoes:

The theme of our tomato-related work was “out-with-the-old” in order to prepare for winter and eventually the “in-with-the-new” spring growing season. We worked to remove all of the tomato plants, disposing of them, not in the compost pile but instead in their own pile due to the fact that tomato plants can carry a higher risk of disease. The tomatoes that were ripe were harvested and those that were frozen were added into the “active” compost bin.

 

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The “Active” Bin

 

Cauliflower:

To maintain the health of the garden, we also removed some wilted or eaten leaves from the cauliflower plants to ensure that the plant uses its energy to strengthen the more durable leaves as the days grow colder.

 

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Cauliflower

 

Green Beans:

We removed the frost cover from the green beans and pinto beans.We harvested bunches of green beans and left frozen/ dead ones where they were. It was pretty neat to see the actual frost on the green beans. We also harvested as many pinto beans as we could, which unfortunately was not a lot.

 

 

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Corn Stalks

 

Chickadees:

To our amazement, the chickadees survived the frost! From this discovery, we hope that these can be one of the few plants that can survive the cold weather. Just to play it safe, we covered the chickadees with a frost cover.

 

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Post-Frost

 

Removing frost covers:

Removing the frost covers was disheartening. Most, if not all, of the plants we removed the frost covers from were dead and couldn’t be salvaged.

 

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Flowers

 

Tobacco Plant Removal:

The tobacco plants were also victims to the harsh frost.  Most of their leaves were dead. Adaleigh, Hannah, Kylie, and I all worked on pulling the plants, along with their roots, out. It was pretty tough! After we pulled the tobacco plants out we placed them in pile with tomatoes. Why? because the leaves of both plants can carry pesticides and diseases, which means that they can’t go in our compost bins.

 

Which Renewable Energy Source Should I Choose?

In a society that is growing ever more aware of its impact upon the environment, this is one of the many ever present questions people have.

Flagstaff is currently in an odd spot for renewable energy. Although it does receive sunlight, it is not consistent like in Phoenix. Also, no major rivers run close to Flagstaff. The terrain is also rough and uneven. However, this should not dissuade you from investing in renewable energy here in Flagstaff.

Solar power is the one of the three, and quite possibly the most well known, older faces of renewable energy. While Flagstaff, as previously mentioned, receives less sunlight than most of Arizona, it is still viable to invest in solar power. The upfront costs to installing a typical 5 kW system is made up in saved energy within 12 years. 18 years after that, a profit in $23,000 is made in saved energy. Even if the upfront costs to a solar system is too prohibitive, it is still entirely possible to buy small solar generators or solar lights.

Hydroelectric power is, unfortunately, not a very viable venture within Flagstaff. However, it is still possible to build microhydropower system and use that to generate electricity off of small streams.

One of the oldest sources of energy, wind power should be considered in Flagstaff. The city currently sits within a wind density zone that makes building large turbines a decent expenditure. If a Sky Stream 3.7 kWh wind turbine were to be build in Flagstaff, it would take only 7 to 11 years to recuperate the costs as opposed to the 12 years of solar energy. While smaller, home-based wind turbines are not quite as efficient in terms of energy production, they still should be considered. After all, the costs of building and installing one is not as prohibitive with systems costing as low as $3000. Even Northern Arizona University has a small wind turbine set up to power its renewable energy instruction laboratory.

So while Flagstaff may not seem to be an ideal location for renewable energy, it has the potential to be able to produce vast amounts of energy from renewable resources. So please, for the welfare of not just the Earth but for the welfare of the human race in general, take into consideration the possibility of power generation from renewable resources.

A Day in the Garden

Oct. 21st, 2016

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We spent the first hour or so working on various projects in the garden.

One task was pulling weeds out of a plot where a garden expansion will happen. The other was changing the compost. In the compost bin, there are three areas; one for new compost to decompose, and two for old compost to be rotated between.

There were presentations on composting, as well as on the three sisters garden, which is a method of inter-cropping that involves corn, beans, and squash.

We also saw the worlds largest cauliflower and pumpkin!

The Cauliflower was delicious.

Blog by Jacey and Leslie

Colton Community Garden

During our garden hours this week we were able to harvest a lot of vegetables.  We were shocked that so many veggies were still growing this late in the season!  We harvested carrots, beets, tomatoes, fava beans, swiss chard, arugula and kale.  We also were able to water the plants that were still producing.

We even got to eat some of the food too!  It was surprising that all the food was so flavorful, even with it being so late in the season and having had frosts already.

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Austin indulging in a juicy tomato in the greenhouse

In addition to eating the veggies, we also watered the kale, carrots, beets and arugula in the Monsoon Garden.

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Joanie is watering the arugula
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Austin is collecting rainwater that was stored to water the plants
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A fava bean that we harvested and eventually consumed

 

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A beet that we harvested from the ground

Overall, it was a successful day at the Colton Community Garden.  We are happy to see the vegetables still producing and we have so much arugula that we don’t know what to do with it all!

By: Joanie Strattman and Madi Skansi