Monday, August 17, 2009

Teachers learning

Jim is teaching them all about bees.
This group of teachers from the Brainerd school district came here to Happy Dancing Turtle. They spent most of the day getting an intense tour, and brainstorming on ways to help kids learn about ecological living and how to remove activation barriers to actually do it.
It was fun to give tours to these folks because they asked lots of very good questions.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Starting a spiral kitchen garden

Barb and Dave working on a new spiral kitchen garden


Bob and Ryan and Kathy are all smiles because we just uploaded our research grant proposal to the department of energy. It was a marathon effort involving some of our best teamwork ever.
Wish us luck.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New entry path to Old Main

Dave & Barb working hard on the board walk on the north side of Old Main - this will make travel across the rocks easier and winter entry into the building safer...and it looks really nice!
State Representative, Brita Sailer lead the Eco Campers on a tour of the Cass County Transfer Station, they paused for a moment between two rows of baled cardboard that will eventually be recycled.

Campers paused for an even shorter moment for this picture next to the giant trash piles. It was quite the sensory experience.

This morning the Eco Campers went on a garden scavenger hunt. Each camper received a clue and a picture which they had to find in the garden. Many hands were needed to harvest the potatoes - when they were done collecting vegetables they made stone soup, garlic-mashed potatoes and baked french fries. YUM!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Starting the keyhole garden

Located just west of the Old Main kitchen.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The boardwalk and grilling area on the west end of Old Main are taking shape and looking good!

King of the Compost Mountain?

Jim got out the elephant thermometer to check on the composting cow poo. At 106 degrees there's a lot of steam waiting to get out. With the TLC it is receiving - getting turned once a week and watered regularly - this compost should be ready in about 2 months.

Super Sweet Strawberries!

The strawberry plants that Dave and the crew planted this spring produced the sweetest strawberries I have ever tasted!

Monday, August 10, 2009



Everywhere you look this week, engineers and office people are scrambling hard to get tons of research, writing and editing done. It is a monterous task to get our research grant application ready to submit by Friday.
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Busy ECO Camper


Ewan, a student at Happy Dancing Turtle's ECO Camp is busy decorating his reusable shopping bag.
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Garden Garlic

In the foreground of the garden is this year's great garlic patch. Next year we need to plant 10 times as many onions to go with it.
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Great food everywhere

This is a great time of year to have productive gardens.
Dave is making pesto from garden basil and garlic.

Ellen is cutting vegetables for the marvelous stir fry that they presented to anyone lucky enough to be around for lunch.

I am getting more excited about the third part of our mantra regarding what houses should do...
1) Heat and cool themselves
2) Recycle all water and nutrients
3) Feed the occupants

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Resilient Living" a sign of the times

Learning to live resiliently may be a handy skill in the coming age of climate change, mass extinction and rapidly changing technologies. Our new signs announce to visitors that we are here to learn and practice resilient living.

This is the main sign near the road.

Complementary smaller signs like this show who is where on campus.

New spiral herb garden

Now that we have a new kitchen, some of Barb's dreams are turning real. For a long time she has been working toward the idea of a kitchen garden and picnic area just west of Old Main. The spiral garden and little bridge are two elements of her dream.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Everyone enjoys todays soup in our new classroom/kitchen.

I also like how the cob stairway adds a sense of old world art to the lunch room in Old Main. The scene kind of feels like the classical painting of the last supper, (except for the laptop in the foreground).

Fresh garden soup

A pound of hamburger and about 15 pounds of veggies straight out of the garden. Hardy and organic.