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

"It Takes a Village..!" - Gratitude Journal

Note: I am slowly filling this in from the oldest posts of gratitude to the most recent. Check back to see the latest! Llyn
It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. 
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
Remember the story of "Stone Soup"? A couple of strangers wander into a town of suspicious people and offer to make Stone Soup. No one believes it can be done, and everyone withholds contributing until a small child, who hasn't been tainted yet by the town's stingy spirit, brings forth a few onions stored in her family's root cellar. One by one the townspeople get caught up in the spirit of sharing and, by the end of the story they all sit down to delicious soup, made better by what each of them contributed.

Volunteers gather food for Farm to Farm Century Ride - 2012

The Sharing Gardens are a lot like Stone Soup. Everything that goes into making it a success comes from the generosity of people near and far. Some people give time, some give money and some bring us surplus materials they don't have need of, or even things like grass clippings, old cedar boards or other things bound for the dump or burn-pile. The gardens become a focal point for giving and receiving -- with each person who donates being blessed with the good feeling that they are making the world a better place through their contributions. And, for those local enough to partake, they're sharing in the bounty of the garden's beautiful harvest as well.
January 19, 2017
A "praying" mantis, giving thanks!
The Sharing Gardens is a hub of giving and receiving. People give what they can and receive what they need. We give thanks to those who continue to contribute to and support the program; we couldn't do it without you!

Last month we received three cash donations, totaling $145. Much of the project runs on donations of materials and labor but, as we all know, you can't fill your gas tank by trading a basket-full of tomatoes! Thanks to Rob and Elisa, Cecilia and Dave Gore and Cathy Rose.

Rob and Elisa are a married couple that have bought land near-by. This is their first experience at 'homesteading' and  they are enthusiastic about growing food, harboring wildlife and moving towards a more sustainable lifestyle. We always enjoy their participation in the gardens, especially knowing that much of the knowledge and experience they gain, they're able to go home and put into practice.

Chris and Rob planting Fava beans in the greenhouse. Since this pic was taken, we've had several days in a row that never got above freezing and the beans died. This is why Chris is always saying, "Plant for all contingencies"!
Elisa - harvesting raspberries.
That's Jen in the pink tie-dye shirt.

Cecilia and Dave Gore (not pictured), besides making a cash donation, have become seed-distributors for the Sharing Gardens. We gave them a huge batch of seeds to share, some we'd saved ourselves and some commercial varieties that had been donated to the project. They have been taking the seeds to many gatherings in Corvallis and doing their best to find good homes for them! Grow seeds!
Well-pipe makes good fence-posts.

Long-time friend and participant, Jen Revais (above), donated about 200-feet of well-pipe. This heavy-duty metal pipe has many uses for us including fence-posts and trellises.

Thanks go to Dorene Wolfe, whose daughter Dina is the pastor at the church that shares a parking lot and property-line with the Sharing Gardens. Dorene is a can-do lady and took the initiative to rake leaves all around the church grounds and cart them over to our pile. We don't have a picture of Dorene but here's the view we have of the church from our front yard (below).

Growing in partnership with our neighbor - the United Methodist Church. Love those leaves!
Our last round of thanks goes to all the wild-critters who have come to make the Sharing Gardens their home. You enhance our life with your funny antics and help keep things in balance  by playing your parts in the great web of life. These first few pics were all taken here at the Sharing Gardens.

Pregnant preying mantis. We see egg-cases frequently on wood-piles and fence posts.
Baby "Racer" snake. We saw one that was easily four-feet long near one of our greenhouses.
We grow some pretty big earthworms too!
We don't have any good pictures of the birds and mammals that live in and around the Sharing Gardens; our camera just isn't good enough to zoom in on them at a distance. But here's a story about the flicker family who comes daily to our feeder. We've seen as many as five flickers at a time in the upper branches of our walnut tree and one or two come regularly to our feeder. They seem to enjoy the millet we provide (purchased in the bulk-foods section, it's much less expensive than buying it as "bird-seed mixed with other ingredients). I've watched them with binoculars and they feed by extending their sticky tongues, coating them with millet seeds and retracting their tongues full of the yummy nibbles.

Northern Flicker
Flicker with tongue extended; they're in the woodpecker family and love eating ants. Photo credit: W.H. Sim LINK
The flickers are the only birds at our feeder who aren't intimidated by the scrub jays. Though the juncos and sparrows are far smaller than the flickers, they all feed happily side-by-side.
Western Scrub Jay - though "bullies" at the feeder, they play an important role in planting nut trees. They probably plant the  majority of walnuts and hazelnuts around our land in the leaves and straw we use as mulch. If they're planted in good spots, we nurture them along for future nut crops. Photo credit
October 28, 2012
The gardens would have cost much more to operate if it weren't for the community support we have received in material donations; these include materials we could use directly in the garden: lawn clippings, leaves, a 55-pound bag of powdered kelp, and spoiled hay. Tools and equipment: thousands of pots and flats, canning jars, lawn and leaf bags, hand-tools, garden carts and wheel-barrows. Services offered (Sam Bowman - small engine repair) and countless volunteer hours - our core group of gardeners gave 3-5 hours weekly to help us grow food. We've noticed a definite increase in the amount of food being donated to the Food Bank from the surplus of other local gardeners. We are grateful too that many people have offered their grapes, apples and nuts for garden volunteers to glean and share. In addition to the numerous individual donations outlined above, there are several families and groups who stand out in terms of their generosity:

Jen Rivais picks up 'starts' for her garden in cart donated by Bud Hardin


John Sundquist gave us full access to his farm near Coburg where he grows dozens of varieties of bamboo--many acres of it. We were able to harvest all the poles we needed to build our greenhouse and set up various trellises and tipis in the garden to support our beans and peas.

Germaine and Larry Hammon very generously donated an 18-foot, 5th-wheel trailer that needed minor repairs and detailing before we sold it for a full $2,000.

Autumn Bounty!
We are grateful to our new friends Jo and David Crosby on Coon Road. They keep looking for ways they can support the project. Here's a short list: hog panels, an electric, portable cement mixer (to mix potting soil), a 5'x10' utility trailer we have fixed up and painted (which we will either sell or use to go on materials-runs), shade cloth, and lawn furniture. The Crosby's also continue to hire Chris and I for odd-jobs around their property. This money goes directly into the Sharing Gardens account to support the project.

The Frystaks of Monroe paid for 20, 10-foot T-posts (to expand our fence-line) and a new set of tires to be put on our old farm truck; they arranged for the donation of three trash-cans of coffee grounds and 55 bales of wheat straw which Mark then picked up and delivered himself.

We're excited about a new sense of partnership we feel with the United Methodist Church adjacent to the gardens. They gave us free use of their building, kitchen and grounds to host the Farm to Farm Century Ride/Benefit. We are beginning active conversations about cooperating on a series of classes, movie nights and potlucks meant to inspire and educate people about healthy eating, food preservation  and other healthy-living topics.

United Methodist Church - and South Benton Food bank, adjacent to the Gardens
Chester Crowson, who passed away in February of this year, for his initial open-handed generosity in extending us the free use of his land, and well, and covering the cost of running the pump set the Monroe project on firm ground from the start. We are grateful to the rest of the Crowsons for their continued support. We are exploring the idea of expanding the garden site to include more winter-storage crops such as squash and potatoes, and to expand the existing orchard area to include figs, berries and more apples and plums.

July 22, 2012
One of our recent posts indicated that volunteer participation was down this year. Well, in the last few weeks, the summer weather has arrived (it's been in the mid-seventies to the mid-eighties...just glorious!) and the good weather has brought with it an upsurge in the gardens growth AND some wonderful, large, group-sessions with the volunteers. What follows is what we like to call the "Giver's Gallery" If you're local and you want to come join the fun, here's a link to the scheduled times we meet at the garden.


Amy, Cindy and little Adri sort the many donated pots and flats.

Cindy and Llyn gathering mulch from the field next to the garden.

Another mulch-gathering session.

Building a worm-bin.

David Roux, Mike Briggs and Chris Burns on a sunny day.

Doreen and Rann Millar  in our new greenhouse.

Planting fall crops.

Trimming garlic.
Jerry Crowson with Red Iceberg harvest.

Jesse Perez waters starts.

John Kinsey spreading fresh grass-clippings as mulch between plants.

Larry Winiarski tilling this year's squash patch.

Llyn and Jennifer Rivais putting collars on celery.

Mike Briggs with elephant garlic.

OSU students transplanting Spring crops.

Rann Millar running the "beast"!

Sierra and Mike painting the counter-top for garden sink.

David Roux with a large donation of grass-hay from his property.

Jennifer takes home a load of starts for her home garden. Llyn on the right.

John Kinsey and Llyn planting out peas - Spring crop.

Larry Winiarski sifting sheep manure for potting mix.

Llyn and Doreen transplanting marigolds.

Llyn and Ricardo planting onions.

Chris gives Ricardo a lesson in wheelbarrow repair.

Rob and Lucy planting scarlet runner beans.

Betty, Mike and Sierra Briggs transplanting fall crops of kale.
Life is good!

June 12, 2012
"So, are you getting enough volunteer participation this season?" asked a visitor to the Sharing Gardens last week. The answer is, we're getting "enough" but not very much. Of the 4,000+ seedlings we started in our new greenhouse (mostly from seed we saved ourselves) and the hundreds of those transplanted into the ground, we've probably done 95% of them. But we're not feeling burdened by this and in fact, in some ways we're feeling more supported than ever this season. The donations we're receiving of cash and materials free us to spend less time earning a living and more time in the garden (anywhere from two to six hours a day) growing food to help those in need. Support is showing up in other important ways, outside the garden, that help us keep things moving forward.

Beautiful worm-compost.
For example, Monroe resident John Kinsey has a red-wiggler worm farm in his backyard. He takes kitchen scraps, weeds, grass clippings and other organic material and feeds it to his worms who turn it into fantastic compost and worm castings (poo). He also brings us bags and bags of grass clippings from his own and other people's yards which we use to mulch our plants. John is also growing this year's garlic crop in his raised beds and will grow exclusively Jalapeño pepper plants so that he can save pure seed. He lives close enough that it will be easy for him to share in the bounty of all the other kinds of peppers and garden produce grown at the main garden-site so it's a real win-win all around.

Sam and Becky Bowman, with Chris.
Sam Bowmen has been another friend who's been doing all our small-engine repair and maintenance. Brother to Loren, who started the Monroe Food Bank, and Curtis, who manages it now, he comes from a family of community servants and has extended himself generously to keep our tillers, mower and string-trimmer running smoothly. Sam and John are both examples of people finding where their own talents and interests can intersect with the garden's needs and, though they may not be physically in the gardens with us, their support makes the gardens possible.

Volunteers plant tomatoes amidst straw -mulch paths.
Support has also come in the form of donations of materials and money. Mark and Heather Frystak keep amazing us with their generosity. Heather's family has lived in the area for generations and, though Mark has "married in" he's become a major networker and advocate of the Sharing Gardens by securing donations of coffee grounds (from relatives who run a coffee shop in Albany) and straw from Soggy Bottom Farms near Harrisburg (also part of his new extended family). The Frystak's generosity has not stopped there. Mark keeps a regular watch on the Wish List published on our website and, showed up with 22, brand new, ten-foot T-posts. The really amazing donation followed our request for a set of tires for our 1968 GMC pick-up truck. We were hoping someone might have a used-set sitting in their barn or garage, that they're not needing anymore. Imagine our surprise when Mark sent us an email saying, "Meet me at Les Schwab tire store, and I'll make it happen." And he did. he bought us a brand new set!

Amy, Cindy and Adri sort donated pots and flats.
Our friends and neighbors, Larry and Germaine Hammon, not to be outdone, have donated an 18-foot, fifth-wheel travel trailer, in very good condition. We just need to do some minor repairs and detailing and it's up for sale. All proceeds will go directly into the Garden account. In the past six weeks we have also received a $1,000 grant from the OSU Thrift store, a generous cash donation from Claudia McCue, several hundred dollars in donations from people who have come for seeds and starts at our "Give-aways", and a full $200 donation from the Circle of Children Village/School at Triangle Lake who received the last of our starts on Sunday, June 3rd. Thanks got to Gini Bramlett and the Tribune News for publishing so many of our posts and helping us reach people who don't have internet access. Rann and Doreen Millar bought the Gardens a subscription to the Tribune News so we can clip the articles for our scrapbook. We are also grateful for the delivery of sheep manure from David Wells and steer manure from Mike Spoerl (who also gave us a 55-pound bag of powdered kelp.) Keep it coming!

April 10, 2012
Continued gratitude to Chester Crowson who continues to let us garden on his Monroe property for free, and pays the electricity to run the well-pump. The Sharing Gardens wouldn't be happening whithout you! Cathy Rose - generous cash donation. Bud Hardin - wheel-barrow, garden tools and two garden carts. Gini Bramlett and the Tribune News - for publishing our Wish List and articles about us. Mark Frystak - large donation of straw, camera and coffee grounds from Allann Bros. Coffee of Albany. Keith Hazelton - snow-day greenhouse rescue. Earnie Wilson and Eva and Jesse - for joining our seed-saving network. Craig Erken and Ray Kreth - for technical assistance in getting our camera working again. Rantu Press, and Rann and Doreen Millar - for offering us cameras. The Millars have also offered to share a subscription to the Tribune News. This will help us keep our scrapbook up to date. United Methodist Church of Monroe - paying for seven months of portable toilet rental. Best Pots - discount rate for toilet rental. David Mills and son, Tyler - truckloads of leaves (from Monroe Telephone - thanks John Dillard for suggesting they bring them to us) and two truckloads of sheep manure - great stuff! John Kinsey - starting peas and onions in his greenhouse, help with transplanting and mowing the lawn at the Monroe site (a Herculean task!) Linda and David Prowse - multiple truckloads of leaves. South Benton Nutrition Program - all your love and support - we feel appreciated by you!
David Mills and son Tyler bring us a load of leaves.

March 25, 2012
Gratitude: We have a big thank you to extend to Larry Winiarski. Not only did he hire us to help him set up his greenhouse for maximal functionality but he let us start a bunch of seeds while we speedily finished up our own new greenhouse in Monroe. If it weren't for Larry we wouldn't have been able to get broccoli, kale, cabbage, lettuce or spinach started in time.  John Kinsey has also been a huge help. He's started peas and onions in his own greenhouse, donated a considerable amount of salvaged lumber for use in building the greenhouse, and also helped us spread donated leaves in the gardens for mulch. We'll be doing a whole post on John at some point. He's developed quite an amazing set-up for growing red-wiggler (composting) worms and he's provided the gardens with dozens of bags of their pure castings for us to amend our soil and grow starts in. John Sundquist generously opened up his River's Bend Farm and let us harvest all the bamboo we needed to build the greenhouse (and more!). We also wish to thank the others in the community who have hired us to do pruning and other yard-work jobs. The income from this work is what is allowing us to keep doing the gardens as we are financing the project primarily out of our own savings at this point. Thank you all.

October 25, 2011

Financial support continues to stream in. Jean Yates, of Alpine, stopped by the gardens a few weeks ago, helped with the harvest and then wrote us a check for $200! Jenn Hughes and her partner David Kuhns, the organizers of the "Farm to Farm Century Ride" - a benefit for the Sharing Gardens, tallied up receipts from the ride and blessed us with a very generous donation of $2,000. Thanks again to all the volunteers that made the ride so fun and successful. Renee Forrer continues to be a big help as liaison between the Sharing Gardens and the South Benton Nutrition Program - the twice-weekly lunch program for Seniors. Not only does she help us with the gardening but shows up weekly to receive the harvest and take it to the cooks for use in the lunches, and for the seniors to take home as well. We received a full load of hay from a barn, full of sheep manure from Mylrea Estell. That will really heat up our compost piles! Linda and Dave Prowse gleaned dozens of pounds of apples from their trees and brought them to be shared. Arleen Looney also gave us access to her fruit trees for gleaning.
October 12, 2011

Gallery of Givers: A selection of pictures from the 2011 season.
Linda Zielinsky - donated a block of Mason Bees (to get us started), and wrote a beautiful post about their life-cycle. Link

We always enjoyed it when kids came to play with us. We were careful never to call garden-time "work" and to let them know we enjoyed their visits whether they helped out or not. This way they didn't feel that we only saw them for what they had to give to us.
Kaitlynn - a member of 4-H joined us many times during the summer. Potato-digging was one of her favorite tasks. Kyra was visiting from out of town but jumped in with great enthusiasm.
Niko was one of our youngest helpers. he took his broccoli-watering task very seriously and did a great job. It's amazing to see the focus kids can hold if the value and enjoy what they're doing.
Dustin is one of those kids who didn't always want to garden with us but often stopped by to say "hi". On this one day he became engrossed in harvesting sun-flower seeds. I think he liked to harvest and take hoe something that he personally enjoys eating. it made the garden-time more meaningful for him.
Many people develop an aversion to worms, slugs and other "creepy-crawlies". Here, Serena, too young to "know better" makes friends with a garden gastropod.
Here's Ismael ("My") in the corn patch. That's Bantam corn behind him, a variety that doesn't usually grow taller than six-feet! Ours was nearing ten-feet this year!
Ricardo helping us to bring in the Delicata squash harvest.
August 21, 2011
Each week brings new surprises in support and generosity and there are also on-going supporters who help make the garden's success possible.

Most recently we have some new, specific people to thank:

Bob and Cheryl Ballard brought us a dozen full bags of dried grass clippings - great for mulching the potatoes and putting under the burgeoning winter squash so they don't develop rotten spots.

Judy Todd has made a second cash donation.

We are grateful for our ongoing community of volunteers. People help out in the ways they are able; we find tasks to suit everyone's abilities. If you'd like to join in the fun of gardening without use of herbicides and pesticides, and share in the harvest, here is a link that shows our regular volunteer times, or send us an email and we can add you to the list to receive weekly reminders.

It's been awhile since we thanked our on-going supporters. These are people and organizations that help make the gardens possible:

Chester Crowson - owns the land where we have the Monroe site. He lets us use it for free as well as covering the cost of the electricity to run the pump in the well.

Bud Hardin - made a lump-sum donation to cover the cost of a portable toilet at the Monroe garden site for a whole year! The toilet is shared with the Monroe Food Bank volunteers as well. (And thanks to Guy Urbach for approaching Bud on our behalf - it wouldn't have happened without you!)

Best Pots -  is the local portable toilet service that provides a unit at the Monroe garden. They have given us a generous discount on the rental fee.


Weekly harvest - Alpine 2010

Mylrea Estell and Ray Kreth - our landlords - continue to harbor us in a low-pressure and generous arrangement, making it possible for us to volunteer so much of our time to the gardens.

Alpine Community Center - has umbrellaed us under their insurance policy so the activities at both garden sites are covered.

Alpine Chapel Park - has provided us the site for our Alpine Garden free of charge, since 2009.

Alpine Pump - Dorothy and Gary give us permission to put the gardens' trash into their dumpster.

Jennifer Rivais - empties the garbage cans at Alpine's Chapel Park as an on-going service.

 ...and The Tribune News - our great, local, weekly paper has been very helpful in printing many of our posts and helping us circulate news of the gardens to a much larger audience than we can reach on-line.

If you've been itching to get involved in some way and would like to know how you can add your "onions" to the pot, check out our Wish List below, or come down on one of the volunteer days and share in the "stone soup" garden.

Happy pumpkin picker - 2011

August 17, 2011
We've got a really wonderful core group of volunteers showing up once or twice a week now. One day we had three mother/daughter pairs. And another day we had four young people ages 7 to 11. My mom, Judy has been visiting for two weeks and sister, Sue and nephew, Miles, joined in for an afternoon, which was really fun. Here are a sampling of smiling faces, happy helpers and a view of the garden's progress.


Miles plants broccoli
Sue displays an early onion harvest proudly.

Kaitlynn and Kyra with a bucket of potatoes freshly harvested
Christine (Ms Bug) trims tomatoes
Monroe Garden - celery in sleeves on left, lettuce-starts in middle, potatoes on right
That's an 8-pound cabbage!
Judy-mom, Chris and Jennifer - mulching with grass clippings
Kaitlynn watering the lettuce and Brussels Sprouts
Mark building a new compost bin
Niko - our youngest helper, takes a turn at watering.
July 28, 2011
Kaitlyn helps Chris harvest garlic. That's celery in "sleeves" in the foreground.
Kaitlyn with garlic harvest
Larry and Germaine harvesting and weeding beets. Our tomatoes (in A-frame cages) are getting nice and bushy and starting to ripen steadily now.
Weeding and harvesting.
Renee and Johan pull the last of the broccoli plants. Time to soak the compost pile and tarp it so it will start to decompose. Renee has been a big help this spring as she comes weekly to help and harvest food to take to the bi-weekly Senior Lunch program in Monroe at the Legion Hall.
Danielle sifting compost. Rich with worm castings and eggs it makes a great top-dressing or tilled into the beds. This is the end product of our hay-bale compost piles.
Jan has been one of our steadiest volunteers this year. Here she is spreading straw in the garden paths.
Ken helps build tomato cages.
Jennifer, Llyn and Dawn transplant Shag Bark Hickory tree seedlings.
Larry helps Chris plant and mulch potatoes. Curtis, at the Food Bank gave us fifty pounds (!) of sprouting potatoes. I think we're going to have a fine harvest this year.
Fun at the gardens. John, Chris, Jennifer and Llyn (Sorry, Dawn, I cut off your face holding up the camera like I did.)
Herman and Liz brought us a full truck load of grass clippings from behind their church. "Mulch" thanks!
Our kale harvest has been abundant this year. We were having a hard time giving it all away each week till we added this sign at the Food Bank. "Tastes like broccoli...Cook it like spinach..." Sometimes people need help in trying unfamiliar foods.
Mike Hall adds onions to 'what's cookin' at a recent community dinner hosted by Monroe's Methodist Church...
...and Phyllis Derr helps with the dishes. She's been donating her grass clippings for garden-mulch all spring. Thanks!
We sold our dear little 1947 Farmall Cub to a young couple getting their own organic farm started near Albany, Oregon. Glad to see the Cub's going to a working home and won't just be a museum piece. These tractors were designed for small-scale vegetable farming and 1947 was the first year they were built. Their website is http://pitchforkandcrow.com/
Ken, a happy helper! Job well done.
Aside from the volunteers, pictured and "behind the scenes", we'd also like to thank these people for their contributions to the garden's success:
Tina - ice cream buckets with lids
Renee and Johan Ferrer - T-post driver
Judy Todd - cash donation
Jo Ellen Watts - gardening boots and plant tags
Phyllis Derr - grass clippings
Chuck and Betty Conway - cash donation
Liz and Herman Koontz - grass clippings from Church of Christ mowings
The Tribune News who continue to publish our articles and wish-lists.
Tom Goracke - 30 bales of nicely rotting grass-straw, complete with pigeon poop "frosting" on the top bales. Keep 'em coming!

 
June 10, 2011

Lettuce ready for planting - April 2011
We are very grateful for the surge of support that has come to us since we lost greenhouse access and the big grant we applied for. All told, we received close to $2,000 in donations from people near and far. We have also received materials donations and the warming weather here in the Pacific NW has brought out droves of volunteers, both new faces and familiar friends from last year.
Jan with lettuce for the Food Bank

Llyn with spring's bounty!
Straw delivery: We are extremely grateful to Mark Frystak, a resident of Monroe who saw our recent wishlist posted in the Tribune News and came through with 55 bales of straw for us to begin to mulch the gardens. Everyone agrees that the straw makes the garden look so tidy, volunteers love the dry comfort of weeding from straw paths and the worms, snakes and other garden-friendly wildlife appreciate the food and shelter it provides.

A-Frame - tomato cages with mulch on the paths
Young people in the garden: The last day of school is June 10 but we're already receiving lots of help from some of the local young people. Weeding, mulching, planting seeds and transplanting starts...all these tasks provide meaningful activity and fun in a town without much else to do after school. One afternoon last week we had five kids stop by; some just to visit, and others to help out.
Seth and Ricardo take lettuce home to their families after helping us mulch the garden paths
Volunteers: We've got some new faces and many of the core group of volunteers coming back from last year. Today we had five people helping with the harvest and other tasks. These included Pastor Mark Peterson from the nearby Monroe Church of Christ, Jim and Cindy Kitchen who are the coordinators for a garden modeled after the Sharing Gardens, in Corvallis and Larry Winiarski who went above and beyond the call of duty and patiently took apart our donated lawnmower that hasn't been working at all this season. He finally sleuthed out the problem and got her running! Now maybe our garden paths won't look quite so shaggy. Thanks to all the rest of you who have been coming out to help.

Jan, spreading mulch
Jennifer and Llyn planting tomatoes
Larry (the lawnmower doctor) starting seeds at the Monroe garden
Pepper plants interspersed with red lettuce. The lettuce will be harvested before the peppers get too big.

Much thanks too to all the people bringing us your used pots and flats. We're glad to give them new life. Phyllis Derr has been calling us to pick up her lawn clippings in Monroe. We use them to mulch. We've received financial donations since our last post from Jennie and Kris Rhoads, Craig Erken, Karen Josephson, Angee Costa and Chuck and Betty Conway. And thanks to Steve Rose who, once again has grown hundreds of tomato starts which he gives away to food-bank recipients, volunteers and provides us with the surplus at the Sharing Gardens. 
May 23, 2011 
The Alpine Park Clean-Up was fun for all who attended. There were many of the usual faces and quite a few new ones as well. The main focus was on mowing and raking the grass to be used as mulch in the Sharing Gardens. We are very grateful to Diamond Woods Golf Course on Territorial Rd for their generous loan of a ride-on lawnmower for the park's use, for a second summer in a row. Also in attendance at the clean-up (but not pictured) were Dorothy Brinckerhoff, Gary Weems, Ida May Foster and Elaine O'Brien.
Here are some pictures:

Jack Jones on the lawn mower - on loan from "Diamond Woods" golf course
Peggy rakes grass
George loads it into the bins.
Celeste Jones, with a rake and a smile.
Her sister Cypress gathering grass-mulch



Stacy Ann, another sister, also helps out.



And brother, Shamus Jones, pulls weeds in the garden.
Basically, we figure, if you want to get the job done in Alpine, call the Jones family!

Celeste, Joanne and Cypress Jones in the park.
It's a challenge, "keeping up with the Joneses"!

The tree to the left was planted in spring of 2009 in honor of Alta Rainey who founded the park in the late 1960's. She always loved dogwoods. This spring is the first time it has bloomed.










We've been so busy in the gardens that we haven't had time to post these other pictures of volunteers who have been helping with the Sharing Gardens this spring. Here's a sample of our happy helpers:

Rann, Doreen and Eva, transplanting in the greenhouse - March 2010
Volunteer Danielle with plants for her garden.
Floy Alexander, 91, has lived outside of Alpine for close to 60 years. She happily receives some starts to plant in her garden.
Orvel and Rann trimming bamboo for the pole beans to grow on.
Timothy prepares beds with a spading fork.
Ismael helps Chris repair the water pipe in Monroe.
Steve Rose, at the Food Bank, giving away tomato plants from his greenhouse.

May 16, 2011
We have so much to be grateful for. The Sharing Gardens community--near and far--have been showing their support for the project.
Chris paints garden benches made from recycled materials, and refurbishes the donated trailer.
Our local weekly paper, The Tribune News continues to publish frequent articles about us. Many of the donations listed below have come as a result.

Fabric for the Great Monroe Autumn Leaf Drive was donated by Danette Puhek of Alpine. She gave us a huge role of a canvas-type material that can be sewn up by volunteers to make leaf bags. Our intention is to distribute these around town once the leaves have begun to fall and come back later to gather them for garden-mulching. Leaves provide valuable organic matter to improve the quality of the garden-soil and feed our "micro-livestock", the worms, bugs and bacteria that add their valuable "manure" to our gardens. The colorful, reusable leaf bags will provide a visual demonstration of our whole town's participation in growing food to share. (More fabric is still needed - see our wish list).

John Dillard, owner and manager of Monroe Telephone Company read our wish-list published in the The Tribune News paper and has offered his company's services to laminate signs we can post around the Gardens for people's information. We'll print the signs from our computer and bring them over to them for laminating.

Greenhouse/nursery donations: The Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture at Oregon State University -  nursery pots and flats (thanks Cody, for setting that up!). Barbara Standley of Santa Clara - pressure-treated lumber, saw-horses and nursery table tops. Eva Fife - straw bales for the muddy greenhouse paths, and help with transplanting. Knife River Corporationalmost $3,000 worth of gravel to expand the parking capacity where the greenhouse is located. Cindy Cantor for taking over the watering of all the starts.

Garden supplies and plant materials: Bodhi - about a dozen raspberry plants from his Eugene garden. Jason and Christine - sprouting potatoes. Laurie and Warren Halsey - ten gallons of gray house-paint. (We gave half of it to the Monroe Food Bank to spruce up their interior after they did renovations; we're using some to refurbish the trailer donated to the project earlier in the season by Dick and Jan Skirvin.) Gary Glore has brought us two plastic compost bins to process vegetable waste/kitchen scraps. We've put them at the Crowson/Monroe site.

Thanks to Mylrea Estell for the bicycle that Chris can use to travel to the gardens and back to our home, cutting down on the use of gas to drive our truck, and increasing our fitness as well.

Since we were denied grant-funding, we added a donation button on our website. We have had a strong initial response from supporters both near and far. We'd like to thank Dick and Helen Hewitt, Cathy Rose, Marian Spadone, Rann and Doreen Millar and Sue and Scott Peabody-Hewitt, Claudia McCue and Judy Peabody for their generosity.


April 20, 2011
Dustin digging onions
The "Sharing Gardens" turned "two" on April 15th! Hard to believe it's only been that long...This past few weeks we've been dodging raindrops and spending time transplanting and preparing beds with the trust that sunnier weather is on its way. Our young friend Dustin McClintock showed up to help us dig up the last few onions that wintered over. We always appreciate his willing smile and "can-do" attitude!
Doreen transplanting
Doreen Millar managed to join us a few times already this season. She and her husband Rann were some of our most dedicated volunteers last year. Here she is transplanting out a few lettuce plants. The slugs are getting plump on many of our early transplants. It's a good thing we have many more at "The Ark" - greenhouse - awaiting their turn to be planted out.

4-H Giveaway
We enjoyed our time at the 4-H Giveaway on Saturday, April 16th. Chris and I brought a whole table-full of starts: broccoli, lettuce, kale, spinach, amaranth and sunflowers. It was fun to see the smiles of people taking their free "starts" home for their own gardens. The young people in Christie Warden's 4-H group did a beautiful job of putting on the event. They volunteered their time to set up, be there for the day and clean up the leftovers. It felt good to see all these young people being in service to their community.
 
April 13, 2011
Linda Zielinski is an avid Mason Bee 'farmer' who lives in Philomath, Oregon. She generously provided the "Sharing Gardens" with a starter house of bees which we hope will multiply so we can spread them around the valley and help other gardeners get them established. Check back next February if you're interested in getting a starter house of Mason Bees for next spring. Thank you, Linda, for writing this article about the bees for us to post on our site.

March 24, 2011
Volunteers at the Crowson/Monroe garden - 2010
Big thanks to Chester Crowson for giving us permission to garden on his property in Monroe for another year. The Monroe gardens are ideally located behind the Methodist Church at 648 Orchard Rd. which houses the Food Bank (the greatest recipient of our produce). The garden is huge (110' x 170') and we were only able to cultivate about half of it last year. There's a garden shed we use and Chester pays our water bill. His daughter, Lisa Richter has been a big help as liaison between the project and her Dad.

We continue to have very positive response to the articles that the The Tribune News is publishing about us. Thanks to the editor, Gini Bramlett and her support staff. The paper reaches a different audience than the posts we write for our web-site and many new "locals" are becoming involved as result. One of these is Barbara Standley who donated several stacks of home-built nursery flats and the 6-packs to go with them. She and her husband Waldo started "Victory Gardens" on River Rd in Santa Clara back in 1968. Waldo was single-minded with the nursery and would have grown only tomatoes if his friends hadn't said, "You've got to branch out and grow other things!". Eventually they added flowers and vegetable-starts to their repertoire. Their nursery was active until 1996 and lay dormant till recently when the Standley's daughter and son-in-law began to revive the business - renaming it the "Grateful Gardener".
Barbara Standley and Llyn load her donation in the truck
We've had a nice response to our request for help to create re-usable leaf-bags. Two local seamstresses have stepped forth and are poised to make the bags once we get more drapes and other heavy fabrics donated. Our vision is to distribute these reusable leaf bags, for people to fill themselves and drop off at the garden sites or, for those who are unable to do their own raking to circulate a team of volunteers for leaf collection through-out the Fall. We use the leaves to mulch the garden beds and feed the worms and bacteria in the soil. John Noreena and Jenny Grey donated four HUGE, heavy-duty bags that were originally used to deliver sand to a job-site but that he has used for leaf-collection on his own property.

Germaine and Larry join us in the greenhouse. So much fun!
People have started to step forth and volunteer their time in the greenhouse. We've begun a partnership with Albany's YMCA (more about this in a future post) and they've been coming to the greenhouse to learn the art of nursery work as they grow out the "starts" they'll use in their own food-give-away garden. Kyle Rd. residents Larry and Germaine Hammon were a great help in transplanting sunflowers into bigger pots. Bruce Hayler - host to "The Ark" and the Oak St. "Sharing Gardens" also keeps coming over to get his hands in the soil.
  
Bruce Hayler and Chris planting lettuce in donated "plug trays"
We want people to know that our thanks goes out to all the people behind the scenes and those we've fail to specifically mention, whose support makes this project possible. The anonymous donors who drop things off at the garden sites, the well-wishers who think warm thoughts and send notes of appreciation and those who help to spread the word by forwarding our posts/articles. You are the light, the water and soil that makes it possible for the "Sharing Gardens" to blossom.

March 10, 2011
The community support for the "Sharing Gardens" is growing. We send out thanks to Warren and Laurie Halsey for donating two, unopened 5-gallon buckets of house paint. We can spruce up the bathroom at the Alpine Garden--inside and out and use it for other garden projects as well. 

A big thanks goes out to Bud Hardin of Monroe. He has donated the funds to cover the cost of renting a portable toilet for a full year! This has been placed between the Monroe Garden site and the Food Bank. Since the closest public bathroom to the site is several blocks away, there are many volunteers in both programs who will be very glad of this donation.

Linda with a Mason Bee house.
Linda Zielinski has given us a "starter" batch of Mason Bees (Osmia Ribifloris). These industrious pollinators do not build hives but lay eggs in tubes which they seal off with a daub of mud (hence their name). Since they have no queen or honey to defend they are easy-going and will not sting unless you step on them or squish them in some way. For this reason they are ideal to keep in your garden if you have children nearby. They have a fascinating life-cycle which Linda is going to write about and post to this blog in the coming months.

As we were sending off the final draft of our Wish List to our local weekly paper (Tri-County Tribune) for publication last week we added, almost as an after-thought, our need for a small utility trailer. Over the weekend we got a call from Dick and Jan Skirvin, life-long residents of the Tri-County area. They had a trailer they could donate! They had found it decades ago, when they first took over the family homestead. It was lost and buried amongst a wall of Oregon's famous blackberries. Dick and his son resurrected the trailer and it served their family for many years. They no longer have use for it and so now, with a stiff wire-brushing and a fresh coat of paint it will join the ranks of refurbished garden-equipment at the "Sharing Gardens" and along with the wheelbarrow just donated by Brigitte Goetze will serve for many more years to come.
Dick and Jan Skirvin with their donated trailer.

March 3, 2011
We have much to be grateful for!

Karen and Chris unloading barrels
Karen Finley, of Alpine's Queen Bee Honey drove with Llyn down to Eugene and back and loaded twenty recycled 55 gallon barrels donated by Glory Bee Foods onto her truck and brought them back to the greenhouse. They are set up to support our potting tables and, once filled with water, will provide thermal mass--moderating the temperature of the greenhouse year round. The water-filled drums will absorb the heat from the sun, or the woodstove, during the day and release it slowly through the night.

A sample of our seed bank.
We received a seed-donation from Brigitte Goetze of Alpine. All together we had three lidded buckets full of seeds - most of which Chris saved systematically over the course of last year's harvest. We sorted through them and determined which ones we could give away and have been sharing them with other gardeners, and people growing food for those in need.

We are grateful to the Tri-County Tribune for offering to print our complete wish-list and an explanation of the "Sharing Garden's" purpose. The article has only been out two days and we've already received a donation of over 2000 "plug trays" from Frank Pitcher who grows cabbage-seed commercially. We haven't decided if we're going to cut them up with a razor knife - to be able to give away smaller amounts of starts (there are 128 holes per flat!), or if we'll plant multiple varieties of seeds on one flat to have "variety-packs" we can give away. We'll put the word out when we have seedlings available.
Bruce and Chris planting seeds

We've received a beautiful green-painted mailbox from Renee and Johan Forrer of Monroe. We'll put that up in Monroe once the season gets going and it will be a place for plastic bags and a harvest knife for people to pick produce. Save your clean, plastic bags for us to use during harvest season!
February 22, 2011
Gratitude goes out to:

* Steve Rose - for the beautiful job he did pruning the apple tree at the Alpine Park - the branches are available to anyone who wishes to process the wood.
*  Judy Todd - thank you for your generous cash donation
*  Betty and Jim Christensen - your cash donation is also a big help!
*  Julia Sunkler of "My Pharm" - donated a load of rabbit manure
*  George and Claudia gave us all the pellet-bags they saved from running their stove this past winter. They're made of heavy-duty plastic and so can be used over and over again.

Chris in the door of "The Ark" greenhouse
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!
January 15, 2011

Thanks to Jo-Ellen for bringing us several loads of leaves for garden mulching and the annonomous donors at both sites - keep 'em coming!  
Renee Duncan - we're finally using the cedar boards you donated last summer. There will be many happy bird families with new nesting boxes in the spring, thanks to you.

November 27, 2010
Some of my favorite memories from this summer will be those late August, Thursday mornings when we'd get started at 8:00 or 8:30 to beat the heat, and to get the harvest in by 10:00 when the Food Bank opened. The volunteers would start arriving shortly after Chris and I began and it was all we could do to ride the wave of their enthusiasm and focused harvesting. Chris would direct the team of 6 - 8 people in the field while I weighed and recorded the quantities of vegetables and then wheel-barrowed the towering loads to the Food Bank. People clustered in picking-teams in the beans, catching up on the week's news or soloed in the tomato patch filling bucket after bucket of heirloom tomatoes - presorting so the best quality went to the Food Bank and the split or bruised ones could be taken home for canning projects. The Monroe Gardens became a focal point for visitors as well. Ol' Howard, the neighbor, would ride up on his lawnmower and cheer us on from the side-lines. He just didn't want to go till he got his weekly hug and then you'd hear him whistling happily as he toodled off. Clusters of volunteers interested in such topics as electric cars, solar power and straw-bale construction would regale each other with stories of their exploits and experiments and new friendships were made while the fence was built and the lettuce got transplanted. 

October 17, 2010
Our volunteer team has been wonderful this year. We truly could not have done it without them. Here are some faces of some of those who have been willing to get their hands dirty, showed up week after week - regardless of weather, and sometimes arriving as early as 8:30 in the morning to be sure the harvest was in, in time for the food-bank's opening. We are also so grateful to all the behind-the-scenes support we have received through grants, donations and kind words spurring us on.
Rann and Doreen in the bean tipi
Steve N. watering the transplants
Llyn's mom, Judy, harvesting tomatoes
Jim and Norma harvesting beans
Rann and Bruce fertilizing the plants
Ryan and Cindy in the raspberry patch
Dustin, Lexi, Llyn and Dylan in the bean patch
The Mulch Brigade!
Harvest morning in Monroe

September 28, 2010
The Sharing Gardens are producing over 200 pounds of fresh produce a week and our core group of volunteers is doing a fantastic job of helping us bring in the harvest in time for Food Bank hours in Monroe. This has truly been the year of the volunteers! We have been so gratified to see the steady, committed support from such a variety of people. Men, women, young, old-er (smile), Latino, Anglo, low-income, retired and full-time workers. Many of these people have come on a weekly basis. Though our youth program has yet to fully blossom, we have especially loved having My and his brother Ricardo help us. These two young men (13 and 8) are really focused helpers, seem to have a knack for gardening and their mom and dad have been extremely grateful to have these two learning gardening skills and to arrive home each week with bags or boxes of fresh, ripe produce to feed the family of six. I'm sure they'd rather be in the garden than back in class but we shall welcome them back with open arms once things get going again next spring.
Gallery of Givers:
Larry and "My" transplant lettuce
Sharing Garden and Food Bank volunteers celebrate the bounty
Judy Peabody weighs the squash before we take it to the Food Bank
Chris shows Ricardo where to apply the manure tea
Bruce on a break
Cindy shows off some of our fantastic onion harvest
Doreen raking mulch
Justin and Stephanie harvest basil
Rann enjoys the pleasures of "just picked" beans
Llyn, transplanting the fall garden
August 27, 2010

Tomatoes: 49 pounds
Cucumbers: 125 pounds
Zucchini/Summer Squash: 55 pounds
Basil: 4 pounds
Beets: 20 pounds
Cabbage: 15 pounds
Green peppers: 3 pounds
Green beans: 20 pounds

That's over 240 pounds of fresh produce in one week!

We are focused almost entirely on harvesting now. Our volunteer team (people who show up on a weekly, or bi-weekly basis) is nine-strong and we have another half-dozen folks who have helped us out on a more occasional basis. Our volunteers include "My" (13- short for "Ismael") and Ricardo (8), two Latino brothers who are helping feed their family with the food they bring home. We have people who found out about us because they have needed food from the Food Bank due to job-losses in their families. We have married couples and single people and several members of the team are in their 60's. Everyone shares a love for gardening and a desire to contribute to creating local food-self sufficiency.

Monroe's squash and cuke harvest - August 26, 2010
Our weekly volunteer times at the Monroe site have become quite a social hub. Many people come to help with the gardening and others stop by just because it feels good to be in the atmosphere of service and giving that the garden provides. Volunteers usually spend two to three hours weeding, mulching, planting or harvesting and then we take a break in the shade, eat cookies someone has brought, sip iced tea or fresh, delicious well-water (Thanks again Chester for getting the well hooked up again!). Today people were munching on fresh picked beans and last week, My sampled his first fresh beet (peeled and stuck on a shish-kabob stick to keep his hands clean.) With a big, red grin he said, "These are great! And my mom says they'll give me a healthy body." Yes they will, My. We're so happy to see you developing a taste for healthy fresh produce!
July 27, 2010


Gratitude goes out to:
  • Sheri who brings us grass clippings every few weeks to the Monroe site
  • Renee Duncan who has adopted the perennial garden beds at Alpine and will be filling them with flowers from her own nursery
  • Gary Weems and his heavy equipment for assistance in maintaining the Alpine Park and all the ways he helps fill in around the edges to keep the park looking great.
  • Gene Boshart brought us seven tons of spoiled hay, helped us unload it and wouldn't even accept gas money
  • Guy Urbach brings us home-picked cherries and other treats when we're working in the gardens and we're still grateful to him for covering the cost of the porta-potty at Alpine
  • Gary Watts and Jack Jones (from Alpine Pump) for fixing the broken pipes at the Alpine bathroom (so we won't need the porta-potty anymore!) Also, Gary did another full-park mowing job this month.
  • Steve Rose for pepper plants and onion starts
  • Cathy Rose brought us onion starts
  • Evelyn Lee for forwarding all these emails out to the local community through the list-serve
  • Rae brought us a big load of primo oat-sraw to mulch the Alpine garden. It was truly the champagne of hays! Flaked evenly, fluffed up nice...mmm...mmm.
  • Loren Bowman donated brand new hoses and three stands for rain-bird sprinklers 
  • Mylrea Estell and Ray Kreth for providing us with a safe, comfortable and affordable place to live that enables us to be able to do this project
  • Well, we thought we'd had just about everything that we needed donated...and now we know its true because Larry and Germaine Hammon recently gave us (that's right folks) their kitchen sink! (We'll use it to wash produce etc at the Alpine site.) 
What follows is a "gallery of givers". A short pictorial tribute to the many helpers who have been giving of their time to grow food for those in need. We sure appreciate you! 

A team of volunteers at the Monroe site
George planting tomatoes that Steve Rose donated
David Urbach preparing tomato mounds
Steve Rose tilling the Monroe site
Chris and Phil-one of our main grass clippings donaters in Alpine
Rann-fence building
Steve N. - digging holes
Eva - transplanting raspberries
Jesse - transplanting sunflowers
Rae - thanks for the hay donation!
Cindy rolling up baling twine
Jennifer and Chris after unloading hay
Robin transplanting grape vines
Ishmael "Mi" gathering mulch
Seven tons of Hay donated!
Gene Boshart - unloading his donation
Evelyn and Danielle gathering grass-mulch
Jack fixing our mower
Danielle and Cathy Rose harvesting kale
Now doesn't Dorothy look like she's having entirely too much fun!
 One of our volunteers, who also receives assistance from the Monroe Food bank to support his family's needs wrote us the following note:
"Thanks! It's a great thing the two of you have started here.


I look forward to the camaraderie and friendship that is developing amongst all of us at the same time that we are enjoying useful endeavors." Bruce Hayler - Monroe
Our gardens would not be possible without the sponsorship of the Alpine Community Center. Through them, we have applied for all our grants. They have included us under the umbrella of their insurance policy and they found funding to run the pump at the Alpine Gardens. You can see the other projects they support, and get involved at: www.alpinecommunity.net/


July 23, 2010
A special thanks to Loren Bowman for his many years of selfless service in support of this local effort (South Benton Food Bank) to ease the lives of our neighbors in need.

Volunteers enjoying a cookie break at the Monroe garden - above - Thanks Joanie!







Volunteers Cathy, Danielle and Llyn with bouquets of kale

June 16, 2010 

 Gary Watts mowing Alpine Chapel Park

We have much to be thankful for this month, in spite of spells of rainy weather, volunteers Rann and Doreen have showed up weekly to help us with making tomato cages, transplanting and mulching the gardens. Gary Weems has continued to assist with the construction of the garden shed in Alpine. With just a bit of trim-work and painting, it's done. We've already begun filling it with tools and garden supplies. Steve Rose, Larry Hammon and Greg and Marilyn Palmer have donated a variety of tomato plants to the gardens. We've planted as much as we have room for (close to 200 plants!) and there are still some left over. Jan Fanger donated some interesting blue and red sprouting potatoes which we'll be planting down in Monroe. We've got a whole neighborhood effort bringing us grass clippings in Alpine: Thanks to: Curtis, Aubrey, Phil and his partner Jorie for helping us keep Alpine mulched. Bud Hardin has come on board with a generous $200 donation, fencing material we're using for tomato cages and a huge load of pots and flats for the greenhouse. Gary and Dorothy - of Alpine Pump spent a good portion of their day mowing the Alpine Park with a mower loaned to us from Diamond Woods Golf Course-great job you guys!  Jack Jones showed up that same day and tinkered on our donated lawn-mower to help us get it running better

 Dorothy Brinckerhoff mowing the center-lawn at Alpine's garden
Evelyn Lee donated us a string-trimmer she no longer needed and we've got that running now. Renee Duncan answered the call for a person to oversee the perennial beds in Alpine. We'll be using the volunteers' back-power to help her keep the flowering shrubs and flowers beds looking nice but its great to have someone oversee things. Renee also contributed some squash and pumpkin plants. Chester Crowson had a new pump installed at the Monroe site. We'll have 10-15 gallons a minute down there which will be great once summer finally gets here! Last but not least, Eva Fife has found a Philomath connection for some horse poop which she loaded and delivered to the Monroe site. The squash plants thank you, Eva! As you can see, the gardens are truly becoming a community effort.

Jack Jones tinkering with mower donated by Ray Kreth and Mylrea Estell

May 24, 2010
Rann Millar and Chris putting in the floor.
The Alpine Park Clean-Up Day was a big success despite foreboding weather forecasts. Ida Mae showed up early and got the coffee pot perking and Chris and Llyn showed up with a batch of choc-chip oatmeal cookies to keep the crews humming.


George, Chris and Gary Weems kept the garden-shed project moving forward. They dubbed themselves the "Team of Amateurs" but it sure is looking professional! Rann, Gary, Llyn and Chris put in some time earlier in the week. We now have the floor, two sides and the roof rafters finished.


Other projects that were accomplished on Saturday: Jack Jones and Gary Watts are in the process of repairing the bathroom at Alpine and installing a shut-off valve so we won't break pipes again in the winter: A BIG job! Thanks guys. Steve Rose made heroic in-roads on weeding the perennial bed. It still needs some more work. In fact, it could really use a person to take over the managing of it. If you're a flower gardener in need of a bed to take care of, let us know. 

David Urbach digging tomato holes
Steve also brought 51 tomatoes that he started from seed. George Wisner planted them into the Alpine beds prepared earlier in the week by our new friend David Urbach. Gary Weems weed-wacked the park's periphery. Llyn scalped the grass away from the tree-trunks of our fruit orchard and gave the trees a heavy mulching.

Evelyn Lee and Doreen Millar in the pea-patch
In spite of the wet spring, our weekly volunteer program has been blossoming beautifully. We have a core group of about seven of us showing up regularly and another half-dozen who've expressed interest in joining in. Here are more pictures of volunteers sharing in the fun!

Llyn, Chris, Doreen and Danielle with raspberries


 Rann Millar tying up the bamboo trellis for pole-beans.







Evelyn Lee weeding the garlic patch.




Llyn Peabody and Doreen Millar gathering grass clippings for mulch.






Doreen and Llyn clearing perennial bed.
May 18, 2010
More "thank-you's" are in order: Steve Rose has been down to the Monroe site three times already this spring, mowing the long grass, "scalping" off the first few inches of grass-roots and soil and finally going another 4" down with the big tractor and roto-tiller attachment but he's had to hold off on going deeper while the ground has been too saturated. Adele "Gia" Kubein donated a load of brand-new pressure-treated lumber and plywood. Kat Conn gave us four big, food-grade plastic buckets and a few dozen chitted potatoes. Thanks to Ray Kreth, we got a lawnmower! Phil Ezell has taken over the mowing at Bert and Theresa's place by the Alpine garden and been bringing us grass clippings for mulch. Renee Duncan has contributed a stack of weathered, cedar fence-boards that we can use to build birdhouses and feeders with the kids. Thanks to the folks at Ten Rivers Food Web who have been re-posting our blogs on their wonderful site. Check 'em out! Thanks too to all those people near and far who have been sending us notes of thanks and support, especially my mom, Judy Peabody (our biggest fan!) It really lifts our spirits! We apologize if we've overlooked anyone. Please know that you are all appreciated. After all, this is your garden too!

May 8, 2010
Wood chips donated from Trees Inc.
Thanks to our local power company and the tree service they contract to for line maintenance, Trees Inc., we had a huge load of wood chips donated at the Monroe Garden site. This was enough to make a thick path from the Methodist Church's driveway back to our tool shed. Volunteer Steve Rose brought his tractor down to the site and began the process of tilling up the soil last Thursday but took a break from that to move the wood chips to where it was easier to spread them.
Chris and Steve spreading wood chips - Monroe Garden

Other big news! (which some of you haven't heard yet): An anonymous donor (an Oregon family), through the grant brokerage of Trust Management Services (TMS), has awarded our project $9,980, the full amount we asked for in a proposal we submitted in February. Much thanks to Evelyn Lee and Dorothy Brinckerhoff for their assistance in writing and submitting the grant and to Mary Lanthrum (TMS) for going to bat for us.

Danielle sifting soil for raspberry transplants
Speaking of "developing our volunteer base", Saturday May 9th was our first "official" volunteer day at the Alpine Park. The weather was gorgeous and we got a lot done. We now have about 1/3 of our "chitted" potatoes planted which is equal to our whole crop from last year (five 30-foot rows). The rest will go into the Monroe site.We mulched the potato paths with leaves raked last fall (thanks to Mylrea Estell and Raymond Kreth for giving us rent-credit for the raking!) We potted up two dozen raspberry plants - and there's a lot more still to be potted. And finally, Chris got the beautiful sign he painted over the winter hung at the Alpine site. A very productive morning.
Tibbi and Chris planting potatoes
A few more "thank you's" need to be mentioned: Bert and Theresa, who live on the edge of the Alpine Park, keep bringing us lawn clippings. Bert's probably in his 80's so we're especially grateful for him making the extra effort to drive his mower over to our drop-site. Guy Urbach has been nice enough to foot the bill for the Porta-Potty that's been stationed at Alpine park since we took over the bathroom-building as our tool shed. Once we get the new shed built we'll be able to leave the bathroom unlocked all summer.
Tibbi, Llyn and Danielle on our first official volunteer day - 2010
April 26, 2010
Curtis and Loren Bowman are brothers. They have lived in the Monroe/Alpine community for many years. Loren began managing the Monroe Food Bank as a volunteer almost fifteen years ago and developed it into the thriving service it is today. When he started, the Food Bank was giving food-boxes once a month to about three families. Now it serves about ten times that amount on a weekly basis. Because of the recession, the numbers of people served by this local effort continues to grow. A year or so ago, Loren stepped back from being the manager of the program and passed on the job to his brother Curtis. These are two humble and hard-working servants in our community. Just last week Loren made a donation to help the "Sharing Gardens", he donated a whole bunch of used decking material that we can use to build a tool shed at the Alpine Garden site.

Add this to the lumber already donated by Tibby and John Scott and we have more than half of what we need to build the shed. After a few hours pulling nails this weekend we ended up with a good-looking stack of lumber.

Our current lumber stash at Alpine Park
 
April 19, 2010
We were happy when Jesse Wolfe, a regular volunteer from last year, happened to be driving by and stopped to help transplant the lettuce and stake up the peas.

Chris and Jesse transplanting in the Alpine Garden.
As readers know, these gardens are run entirely through donated time and materials. We continue to feel support coming from all directions of our extended community. We make an effort to acknowledge all the generous donations that come our way. Please forgive us if we have somehow overlooked your specific donation. YOU ARE APPRECIATED! Tina Johnson, one of the volunteers at the Monroe Foodbank gave us a bunch of corn, peas and bean seeds; Guy Urbach has donated a large piece of "road carpet" to use as weed barrier. Tibby and John Scott have donated a whole slew of fencing and other building materials and garden supplies. The Diamond Woods Golf Course has made their heavy-duty lawn mower available to us for periodic lawn-mowing at the Alpine Park this summer. Last weekend, Jack Jones donated much of his Saturday joyfully mowing the grass at the Alpine Park that surrounds our garden. Dorothy Brinckerhoff and Gary Watts of Alpine Pump continue to be our guardian angels in too many ways to innumerate. Thank you also to the Lion's Club who made a $100 donation to the Gardens' general fund and $100 to cover the electric bill to run the pump at the Alpine site. Evelyn Lee donated a whole bushel of sprouting potatoes and is the ongoing manager of our local list-serve--passing on these emails to the community at-large. Rann Millar of Harrisburg has been contributing his time translating our materials into Spanish to support our outreach efforts to the Latino community. And last but not least we received an anonymous donation of pots and flats and a bag of already beautifully "chitted" potatoes.

A handful of potatoes ready for planting.
February 19, 2010
With the help of Evelyn Lee (thanks Evelyn!), we submitted an extensive grant proposal to Trust Management Services.
We've been given permission by Chester Crowson to expand our garden to a second, additional garden plot on his property between the Food Bank (where we've been taking our surplus produce) and the elementary school in Monroe. He made it clear to us that he is one hundred percent supportive of the program and will "help us in any way" he can. At 86, Chester has been a bus-driver for over 40 years and has the distinction of being Oregon's oldest bus-driver on record. He currently owns the bus company that provides transport for all the local children to and from school. We are deeply grateful for Mr. Crowson's open-handed and good-hearted support for this garden project. Be sure to thank him next time you see him. 

September 1, 2009
Though Chris and I still do most of the gardening, the word has gotten out that Thursday is harvest day and we have volunteers showing up most weeks to help with the harvest and assist with other projects as they arise.

Steve Northway and Chris Burns planting fall crops


 Eva harvesting beans inside the bean teepee.

July 21, 2009
Thanks to Dorothy and Evelyn for your help in weeding the perennial bed at the park. We've laid down clear plastic to "solarize" the weedy grasses. This will kill the grasses and their seeds so we can till them in and start fresh, planting perennial plants in the fall.

"Solarizing" weeds (under plastic) to kill them
July 13, 2009
Last week we took our first harvest down to the food-bank. We want to thank Evelyn Lee for sharing potatoes, peas and cukes from her garden too. People were so excited when they saw us coming and flocked around us to pick from our boxes of produce. Thank you to everyone who has contributed time, money or materials to the garden. It's working! Below, is last week's harvest.

Llyn with first harvest - July, 2009
June 16, 2009
Gratitude to Margi Willowmoon for the purple potato fingerlings. We've got almost 50 feet of them planted! And to Vicki Thompson for the green pepper and jalapeno starts. We found good homes for all of them. Thanks to any of you who came and picked up tomato starts. They're all gone now. We've got about 80 tomato plants in the garden itself; all different varieties. That oughta keep the Alpine-area real saucy come harvest-time!

June 3, 2009
Thanks to Lori of Alsea, OR who donated 3 tons of spoiled hay! We were only able to pick up one ton of it so far (due to our old funky 1968 GMC...we have to borrow a stronger truck if we're going to get the rest). Karen Finley - of Queen Bee Honey - turned us onto a big stash of dried grass clippings behind the baseball field across the street from our park. Also Rachel Unrein rescued some huge bales of rotting hay from her grandpas farm and brought those down to the garden.

May 24. 2009
Thank you to Gary Weems for donating time and materials to get the toilet working again at the Alpine Park. Thanks to Steve and Beatrice Rose for housing our tomato-starts in their greenhouse this spring. Thanks to Patty Parsons for writing the grant and to the South Benton Foundation for awarding our project $350 (this means that cash donations have now surpassed $1000.) Thank you to Dorothy Brinckerhoff for being our treasurer (and all-around go-to gal!). We also appreciate Phil Hawkins and Emily Smith for the picture spread and article that featured our Alpine Park clean-up day in the Tri-County news.

May 11, 2009
We have so much to be grateful for! The Alpine Park Clean-up Day was a huge success. We had 13 volunteers show up and we pruned, weed-wacked and prepared the ground in our perennial garden bed so we can plant bulbs, herbs and berries as they're donated. Here are a few pics from the day:

Digging grass out of the perennial bed.

Bob O'Brien and Gary Weems weed-wacking along the cemetery road.
Gary Weems drilling fence post holes
Here's Larry Hammon putting in fence posts.

Michelle pushing a wheel-barrow full of prunings.
Steve Rose - tractor work - preparing the ground Larry Lester and Leonard Cox - helping us get our Cub tractor running again
Larry Hammond - putting in the fence posts
Gary Weems - dug the holes for the wooden fence posts

Gary Weems drilling fence post hole
South Benton Community Enhancement $300 donation
Corvallis Oregon Tilthe $250 donation
Jerry's Home Improvement Center $50 donation
Evening Garden Club $100 donation

Gary Watts - turned on the water for us at the park.
Jack Jones - fixed the outlets at the park.
Patty Parsons - grant writing
Joe Russin and Jeri Mrazek - donated a Troybilt rototiller (Thanks Suzie Morrill for telling them about our project).
Olivia and Cory for shoveling a load of rabbit manure.

April 20, 2009
We are grateful to Julia Sunkler of "My Pharm", who has donated a load of rabbit manure to our cause. We hope that people will support her stand at the Corvallis Farmer's Market on Weds. and Saturdays. She has meat rabbits, chicken, pork, lamb and beef (in season) and a variety of home grown vegies. You can order her fresh butchered rabbits and chickens directly by calling 424-2233. 

April 13, 2009
Due to the great generosity of Mylrea and Ray on Kyle Rd. we have all the ten-foot metal "T"-posts that we need to put up the fence at the Alpine Community Garden.

Donated metal T-posts
March 17, 2009
Thanks to: Jack and Joanne Jones: they found three of those carport frames that someone was going to take to the dump. These make excellent greenhouses (with a little bit of work). Thanks to the people at "Ten Rivers Food Web" for the warm welcome they have given us to link up with their site and help spread the word about our garden. They are a local group that advocates for healthy, local, organic solutions to food production and distribution. Click Here to see their website.

March 14, 2009
Dorothy Brinckerhoff got us copies of the well-house, and bathroom keys and Chris and I went down to see the tools we'd stashed in there during the community center clean-up after the honey people moved in last fall. We have several flat rakes, a leaf rake, multiple shovels and a wheelbarrow. There's also several hoses including a flat hose (the kind with holes poked every few inches) that will be perfect for watering our potato patch. What a great start!

Thanks go to: Lee Miller, at Earth Risings Farm for donating a wheelbarrow. Also to Evelyn and Dorothy (and others?) for the amazing job they did cleaning up and rearranging the library. It looks incredible!!!

March 7, 2009

Potting up thornless raspberries from Evelyn Lee
Chris and I went to Evelyn Lee's house and dug up a bed of thornless raspberries. Then we went to Steve Rose's and he donated several hundred gallon pots.
We ended up with over 100 whips!

Thanks also to Barry Brandt for his donation of a 10' farm gate. This is great! Also we are thankful to Rachel Unrein for all her help in thinking of people to contact about reaching out to young people, for bailing twine from her Grandpa's place and to her mother for a bag of sprouting potatoes. Gary Watts (of Alpine Pump fame) spent some time down at the park this last week and got the electricity flowing again. We also want to thank Dorothy Brinkerhoff for all of her help in coordinating between the Alpine Community Center and the Garden Club so we could get permission to host the garden in the park. Patty Parsons has been writing grants for us. We'll start hearing in April if the first of them came through.

No comments:

Post a Comment