Last Two Weeks at the Institute — Mar. 26–Apr. 7, 2018

Spring sprang and then winter came back for a week, yet work on the chicken coop continues on the grounds. Inside, we’re making items for sale at the upcoming Nelson Center Earth Day Conference (and on our website).

Research Projects

Behind-the-scenes work on our research projects continue: grant applications, gathering supplies, and coordinating with participants. We’re currently running a potato-growing study and bee-breeding program. You can find out more on our research page, but more will come on the blog soon.

Videos and Podcasts

We were delinquent on the podcast this week, as all hands are on deck for finishing the chicken coop. We did get a video on building Aldo Leopold Chairs out, though. We will have the first video outlining the chicken coop build out this week (or next).


This week we finished two items we’ll be selling at the above-mentioned earth day conference and at the online store. The first is a beeswax-impregnated cotton square that is used in place of plastic cling wrap. It’s much better, though, as you can reuse it and make it yourself. I’ll post the instructions soon.

We also sewed up a handy carry-along set of utensils and napkin, which can replace the single-use plastic versions. Pop this in your bag and take them everywhere food is served! Also available in our store, or make your own with instructions coming soon.

The final portions of the chicken coop frame were put together this last weekend. The two halves were married by a wedged tie beam and half-lap-joint sills. It was exciting to see something built from timber on our property come together and stand. It is sturdier than I expected. I began roofing by putting rafters across the sloped plates: I climbed up through the inside of the frame, installed the rafters, and then realized I had built over my egress and had to climb down the side of the frame. Next steps are shingling and putting up temporary walls.

I also handled some chisels I found while cleaning out the garage. They are not in great shape (the socket has been deformed by being hit with a metal hammer), but it is worth a try.

The garden starts are doing well, but we’ve suffered from another cold snap, which should break this coming week.

IMG_20180326_161446492.jpgAnd finally, we continue work on the garden path, which turned into a muddy trail through last year. It has involved filling low areas, compacting the fill, gathering flagstones from an unused walkway, laying an inch of sand, setting the flagstones, and seating them. As we’d say when I was working in Mexico, poco a poco, “little by little,” we’re making progress.

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