Thursday, July 31, 2008

movies on the (GreenHouse) lawn?

hey, so I know that the general consensus is that we shouldn't have a TV in our house, and I agree. BUT, I do think offering movies to the campus is a good way to get more people over to see us. SO, what if we could somehow get a hold of a projector and a large screen (or white bed sheet) so that we could watch movies in our front or back yard? What are your ideas on this?
so elspeth, any thoughts on who's rooming where/who's rooming with who?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

GLOBAL GREEN is sweeeeet!


I'm currently in New Orleans and have been exploring this exciting city, which has been great, BUT one of the more exciting things I've done while I've been here is to take a tour of one of Global Green's houses.

Basically, Mary, who I'm visiting, and I showed up there and they gave us a tour of the whole house. I don't want to overload you guys with too much information, so I'll try to just cover the most exciting stuff.

Hightlights of the house:

  • 28 solar panels (you can see them on the roof from this picture)
  • tankless water heater: heats water as it is needed that way you don't run out of hot water AND it uses less electricity
  • dual flush toilet: has two buttons on it so that one button uses more water to flush than the other. if you only ever push the button that uses less water then you are saving 40% of the water you usually waste! crazy!?
  • non-toxic paint: this is something we can try to get used on the armentrout house unless it has already been repainted... this paint has less pollution causing chemicals in it so it helps imrpove the indoor air quality.
  • a lot of furniture and rugs made out of bamboo and banana leaf fibers

Also, everyone had to take their shoes off when they entered the house because it helped with the air quality... doesn't bring all the dust particles and pollution that shoes have on them, so that's something we could do, if you guys are interested..

There's a heck of a lot more information where this small portion came from. Go to if you want to see more about this house and the other houses they are going to build in the 9th ward of New Orleans. I think this information will be really helpful for the GreenHouse design committee : ) Maybe we could implement some of these techniques and ideas to the future farmhouse!?

Request for your ideas

Hey kids,
I'd like to put together a list of things that we would like to do in the house and surrounding yard, so that we have something to go on when we start meeting with faculty and staff about planning the house. This whole year will be the beginning of the house and so we probably won't have everything from the very beginning but we can begin to plan for things. Please send me an e-mail or post a comment with a note about what you want to see or make at the house. These can be immediate changes (clothesline) or goals for the next couple years (rain water collection) and they can range from big things (like building a mud or brick oven) or small things (some particular thing you want in the kitchen).

Next, I'd like to prepare a rough schedule of things to host in the first two months of school. We won't put together a specific schedule of events till we're all on campus; this is just a list of what we'll host. If we have a list prepared, we can go to Dean Hartman, the Activities Office, or other clubs and ask if they'd like to cosponsor the event or help us out. Can you also send or post your thoughts on activities and events you want to host this fall?

Thank you!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Clothes lines!?

HEYY, so Mary Matthews brought up this great point.. why don't we have clothes lines in Sewanee? I mean, yes they would cost more money to put up, but wouldn't people use them and ultimately save more money from using less energy? Is this something we have thought about before? Just wondering.. and if it isn't, then could we put some up? 

Thoughts? Answers?

Friday, July 18, 2008

oh and not to use propaganda techniques but

look at this cute bird - and also ducks could also be a possibility-

Sewanee Chickens

Soo I've been biding my time waiting for some sort of resolution with the "Save Sewanee Chickens" battle to see how viable it would be for us to try and obtain permission to raise chickens next year. It now appears that the decision has been deferred until August and has been moved from the Lease Committee to the Community Council. Katherine Alvarez seems to think that Sewanee officials are "are indeed considering the greater issues of sustainability and local food, right and wrong, and common sense." So do we think this would be the best time for me to push onward in the battle for chickens? I felt weird even starting before we knew for sure that we had a new house for the fall - I didn't want Hartman or others to view it as a sign of trouble to come and think twice about giving us the house. But now that we know the house will be ours in the fall, and now that Katherine Alvarez seems to be encouraged rather than discouraged about the prospects of Sewanee chicken as pets or otherwise, then I think we should step out in a strong way pro-chicken. Unless there is an opposition to this in the House, I'm going to finalize my proposal for Green House chickens for the upcoming year. I can post it to the blog in the next few days and you guys can make comments or changes in plans or whatever and then I'll send it to the Community Council and Katherine Alvarez and Zigler and Haskell and whoever else needs to be involved in the process.

So I guess what I'm asking is if everyone thinks now is a good time for me to do all this or if we should wait until Alvarez gets a more final verdict? Or until we are more nicely settled in our new home? I am open to whatever everyone else wants. Soooo feedback please!


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Okay so I walking through the Scottish countryside last night, thinking about the Organic Garden and had this brilliant image of the walkways lined with wine bottles and beer bottles- upside down with the necks pushed into the ground, being used as the sides for the raised beds. Since we can't recycle glass, why don't we just use them for something incredibly practice, instead of having to buy or scavenge for wood.
What do you think?

In any case, I think this calls for help from the ERs, to collect glass from all or some of the dorms (maybe start with one or two), and definately if we start collecting now from our homes and those living at Sewanee this summer, we could see how it works. So start saving!

P.S. when do find out who is our new ER leader person (aka new Lynn)?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Yea, Sewanee's Green! -New Student Info

The website for new students has an entire section dedicated to environmentalism at Sewanee with information about how much energy and water we consume each year. Note the photos of Kate's lovely signs for the organic garden:

Yea, Sewanee's Green

Thursday, July 10, 2008

the Greenhouse

We'll move in this August!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


So I'm at my third farm of the summer, named Phantassie (pronounced Fantasy) which is a box scheme farm about an hour's bus ride from Edinburgh, a 20 minutes bike ride from the beach (a real beach with real sand and really really cold water!), and lots of woods around- I saw my first redwood tree today too! It was only about a hundred years old but it was huge. Crazy Scotland.
Anyway, this farm has about 150 customers including lots of shops and restaurants, has a farmer's markets in Edinburgh, and is absolutely beautiful! It is an old farm with lots of stone walls, polytunnels, hidden gardens, and a huge field with endless rows of weeds and some veggies. They grow just about everything, and I mean everything. The box scheme also includes organic food they buy in large quantities because the local stores don't always have organic. There are a couple other WWOOFers here, about 6 or 8 full-time workers, two full time WWOOFers, two families, relatives, and basic mayhem of other volunteers coming in and out all the time. I love it. There are also about 500 chickens, maybe more, a huge glasshouse across town that they rent, and a band room that they rent out to all the local high school bands to practice- so I can rock out to bad renditions of various rock bands while I weed in this super traditional British garden.
I will hopefully put up pictures soon, but computer time is scarce.
I head off to Prague to work on a farm there in a few weeks and then back home. To all those in Sewanee right now- can you please start collecting bottles (especially glass), cans, and tires? We will be using them in various building projects and will need a lot!

Sunday, July 6, 2008


I'm sending you all some of my favorite Eugene pictures. So far things here have been going pretty well. I do chemistry from 9-5 (I'm looking at procedures for removing sulfur from diesel fuel), and I try to explore the city when I'm free. I'm still trying to figure out where everything is and when it's open (summer time hours are weird everywhere). I did get to ride in the bike powered tent at the trials. I've also biked past a bunch of community gardens and a compost education center (which I plan to explore more soon). One picture below shows a river near campus-- notice the shopping cart in the middle :-)

Friday, July 4, 2008

athenry organics

Hi greenhousers! A short WWOOFing update: I moved from Sherkin Island to a town called Athenry last Monday. Well, okay, not exactly to the town, but a farm nearby. This farm, run by a family of three (plus a couple donkeys), is 5 acres and 6 polytunnels of an array of fruits and veggies-- rhubarb, strawberries, black currants, raspberries, basil, parsley, spinach, cabbage, iceberg lettuce, carrots, parsnips, tomatoes, celery, pumpkins, brocolli, beets, and probably more that I am leaving out. Right now, the rhubarb and cabbage are almost finished, and we are harvesting lots of spinach, basil, carrots, and lettuce. We also picked the first ripe black currants on Friday. Most of the produce sells in weekly markets in local towns a few miles away. So far, my jobs have consisted of weeding the polytunnels and harvesting veggies for the markets. In their polytunnels they use a black plastic material called mypex to cover the ground and protect against weeds, with circular holes cut in the surface for the vegetables. If you want to know more, you can visit the farm's website is here:

Also exciting--I just began reading Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsglover, in which she writes about her family's year-long attempt to grow all of their own food or buy it from people they know locally. So far, it's excellent--insightful, informative, and entertaining, as well. I warmly recommend it if you've any interest in growing vegetables or want an entertaining account of the life of an interesting family in the Virginia mountains. The book includes occasional essays by Steven L. Hopp, her husband, who writes about the current state of U.S. food production and outlines some of our major agricultural problems. (I'll be bringing this book to Sewanee in the fall if you want to borrow it!)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Save Sewanee Chickens

Kirk Zigler forwarded the following email and link. You'll see that the Greenhouse is mentioned on Katherine's blog. This may make it more difficult for us to obtain permission to raise poultry.

Save Sewanee Chickens

Dear Friends, Family, Neighbors and Acquaintances,

I've had such overwhelming interest in my backyard chicken
controversy that it was recommended I create a blog. Please check it
out - if you aren't interested and/or don't want to read it - it
still has some pretty pictures of my yard!

Please share it with anyone who might be interested.

If you have the desire and ESPECIALLY IF YOU LIVE NEAR ME please
write a letter or email to the lease committee stating your feelings.

Letters from a diverse group of people might be helpful: people who
have rented or stayed at my house, faculty, staff, community members,
alumni, donors, regents, trustees, other places with similar
situations, all ages....

If you feel like sharing, I would love a copy. I welcome opposing
views. I am interested in working with the lease committee on
ordinances regarding sustainability in the future.

Barbara Schlichting, University Lease Superintendent, at
or write:
Lease Committee
c/o Barbara Schlichting
735 University Ave
Sewanee, TN 37383

Thank you so much for your input, concern and devotion! It's such a
great example of why I love living here.

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