A unique and viable approach to establishing local food self-reliance and building stronger communities.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Llyn and Cindy putting on hinges
Chris and I have been having a lot of fun building the greenhouse. We give thanks daily for this meaningful project to channel our energy into. We've had some good help from Cindy and Paul Canter, and Bruce and Elizabeth Hayler. Both couples have been very supportive and helpful in moving the project along.  Thanks also to Larry Hammon for showing up at a moment's notice to help us put the plastic on the greenhouse.

Mylrea Estell and Ray Kreth bought the "Gardens" a year's subscription to our local weekly paper, The Tri-County Tribune. This will be very helpful for us to stay tuned in with local "happenings" and, as Mylrea said, "You'll need it to save articles about the "Gardens" for your scrapbook!" We are also grateful for our little home on their property, with its beautiful views, nice walks and minimum expense, allowing us to continue doing this project on a small budget.

Free Geeks in Portland: Donated a re-furbished laptop, a digital camera, an ink jet printer and a router. This volunteer-based program receives donations of used electronic equipment (thereby keeping them out of the land-fills) and teaches volunteers how to clear them of old data, clean them up and install "open-source" software. After a certain number of hours, volunteers are given a computer of their own. Special thanks to volunteer Jeff Jenness - who shepherded us through the process and went out of his way to deliver equipment to us in Corvallis saving us the trip to Portland.

Judy Peabody in the tomato patch
Judy Peabody (Llyn's mom) and Claudia McCue made generous cash donations to the project. Way to go gals!

Dan Crall, of Corvallis, OR donated salvaged lumber which we've been using in greenhouse construction.

Jeanie Goul and her husband Ken also donated salvage-lumber. We received enough plywood and paneling boards to make both end walls of the greenhouse.

George and Eric - at Monroe Auto Repair, have helped fix our farm truck numerous times--for free or at a discount rate because they believe in what the "Sharing Gardens" are all about. If you're local, we encourage you to give them your business; they're honest, efficient and professional. You'll be glad you did.

The Monroe Food Bank. When we put the gardens to rest in November, Curtis Bowman and his dedicated team of volunteers continued to serve local families in need, weekly, no matter the weather. Last time we talked to Curtis, he said the numbers of families and individuals coming to the Food Bank continues to creep higher each month.
Bruce Hayler helps us salvage lumber

Our greenhouse project would not be nearly so far along, and under budget if it weren't for the generosity of Nine Peaks Construction. They gave us access to their salvage yard so that Chris and I could practice our nail-pulling and lumber-ripping "meditations". Days that were too wet to be outside, we worked in our barn-shop assembling component pieces for the greenhouse (slatted nursery tables, a-frame tomato cages and the side-walls that run the full length of the greenhouse). After tallying the lumber we had salvaged and pricing it at our local lumber yard, we figured that we would have spent over $1,000 if we bought the lumber new. That's a lot of material that isn't going to end up in a big burn-pile or the local landfill either.

Karen and Tad of Queen Bee Honey are providing over a dozen 55 gallon drums for us to use in the greenhouse. The barrels will be placed down the middle of the greenhouse, spaced about a foot apart. In the spring they'll support our slatted nursery tables, in the summer we'll plant tomatoes or other crops between them and, as they'll be filled with water, they will provide a thermal mass which will moderate the greenhouse temperatures year-round. Karen also connected us with Glory Bee Foods in Eugene who has donated an additional twenty, food-grade metal drums.

We wish to continue to acknowledge the Alpine Community Center for their on-going support and specifically Dorothy Brinckerhoff for helping us manage the accounting and Evelyn Lee for forwarding our emails through the ACC list serve.

Rob and Sally with some of their delicious hazelnut candies.
Rob and Sally of Hazelnut Hill heard our plea for nursery pots and flats and donated two whole pallets, stacked about 3 feet high, of various sizes. (We can still use more though - if readers have extras they're not using--especially small sizes.) Rob and Sally run a hazelnut orchard and candy-making shop on their 225 acre-farm that has been in Sally's family since 1853.

We've received new funding support ($400) from the Evening Garden Club -- longest-running garden club in Corvallis...since 1969. To generate its grant money, the club holds an Annual Plant Sale on the last Saturday in April. Please support their fund-raising efforts.

Corvallis Organic Tilth is another local garden club that has been very supportive ($700). COT sells soil amendments at the 1st Alternative Co-Op in south Corvallis, for its fund-raising efforts. Come visit with Chris and I on Saturday morning, March 12, 2011, from 9:00 to noon and purchase small or large quantities of animal, vegetable and mineral-based soil amendments for your own garden.

Once again, our deepest thanks to Trust Management Services for overseeing the $9,880 grant we received last year. We could not have fed so many people without your help.

We received beautiful endorsement letters from three local people/agencies that articulate in strong, clear terms, the importance of our project. These letters were written by: Patty Parsons, an Alpine resident, member of the Board for both the Alpine Community Center and South Benton Community Enhancement and employee of the Benton County Health Department. Jeffrey Gordon, Executive Director of the South Benton Food Bank (where most of our produce is distributed) and Pastor of the United Methodist Church of Monroe which houses the Food Bank. We thank Phyllis Derr for her assistance in putting us on the agenda for the Monroe City Council so that the letter we wrote was read, approved and signed by the Mayor. Verna Terry - County Clerk shepherded the letter through the process of getting it printed and signed - in the midst of Christmas Holidays. Much thanks. (We just might take you up on your offer to get the Mayor and City Council out there digging up weeds next summer!)
Here's the greenhouse as of Friday, February 11, 2011!

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