Introducing Goose and Mustang Sally

Our lovely chickens finally have names!

Exploring

Mustang Sally and Goose

The one on the left is Mustang Sally, inspired by her attempt to escape the day she first came to us. The one of the right is Goose. We’ve got three more lovely ladies coming to us soon. Their names will be Magill, Bertha, and Whinney.

Come by and meet them this Friday at our Harvest Party!

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Rain Garden Plants Have Arrived!

The 70+ plants that CNT generously donated for our rain garden have finally arrived!

Rain Garden Plants!

Thanks, CNT!

We will be installing them in our side yard tomorrow in what will surely be an action packed day.  Stop by and lend a hand!  We will be finishing up our window garden and trying our hands at making eco-friendly soap to sell at our harvest party.  Which reminds me, we are having a party!

Come out and chat with us!

To celebrate the end of our summer program will are inviting the community to check out what we have been up to.  We will have our gardens open for touring, delicious fresh treats to snack on, plus you can meet our chickens!  Hope you can make it out.

-Rachael

Rain Garden Planning

As part of our initiative with Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) to install 100 rain gardens in Rogers Park, we are moving forward on planting one right in the backyard of our Koinonia Eco Home.  Last week, the rain garden project crew met up with CNT Senior Engineer Bill Eyring and his daughter to investigate further.  We determined the back corner of the yard to be the best fit for a garden based on the location of the rain spouts.

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Scoping out the rain garden spot.

The first step in preparing our rain garden is directing the path of the rain water.  We will do this by digging out the corner of our yard to create a low-lying area which we will then bank with the extracted dirt.  This low-lying area will then be filled with a variety of deep-rooted native plants which will absorb any storm water stopping it from causing any flooding to our property or washing debris into our waterways.

Rain Garden Recon

Testing our yard's water absorption ability

CNT has graciously donated over 70 plants for us to use to create our rain garden.  Hopefully, we will have more pictures and updates to share soon!

-Carly and Rachael

Side Garden Extravanganza

One of the goals this past week was to bring a chicken coop, a bike rack and a three-bin compost to fruition in the side yard.

Our finished bike rack in action!

So far the bike rack has been fully constructed, the three bin compost is nearly finished and the chicken coop is well under way.

The 3 bin compost coming along!

We intend to use the chicken eggs for food purposes and the compost for our gardens. These projects were created in order to promote a more self-sustaining residential closed system.

This project has proved to be very successful and with the knowledge gained from such activities we hope to educate the rest of the community using the house as a model for sustainable living. More will be revealed and we hope to utilize a fully operational chicken coop, compost and bike rack as soon as possible.

This is very exciting and with the proper upkeep we hope to use these items well into the future as well. Much has come to pass in the last two days and we have been super busy to make it happen.

-Adam

Ready? Set? Plan!

During my first day as a solutionary, I drifted into a conversation among my program leaders about the “side yard wish list.” Simply put, this is all the stuff they wanted to put in the grassy space next to our house.  There was mention of chicken coops, bike racks, 3-bin compost systems, tool sheds, and rain barrels. I took one look at the side of the house and chuckled. This would be like when my parents talk about fixing their garbage disposal— it sounds like a great idea, but they never quite get it done.

Little did I know, a week later I would be drafting a floor plan of this infamous side yard and submitting it to a carpenter, who will complete the project next week thanks to a group of volunteers. In addition to fitting all of the “wish list” items into the yard, we will be adding a rain garden, demolishing 2 flights of stairs, and extending the space an additional 8 feet.

This project fits into the Eco Home project area of the Chicago Summer of Solutions (a.k.a. LETS GO Chicago), which aims to transform a church-owned, single-family home into a demonstration site for sustainable urban living.  As I type this post, several of our team members are attending a free workshop to learn how to set up a plan to retrofit our house and get it certified under the Chicago Green Homes Program. The side yard is just one of many changes we are learning about and implementing at the house this summer as we prepare to conduct outreach around sustainable living.

While we are still in the planning stages of our renovation, I have learned that things move fast at LETS GO Chicago if you are willing to make a solution the priority. With a little bit of planning, research, and a willingness to try, our ideas are very capable of becoming reality. Stay tuned for future posts from the Eco Home on indoor aquaponics, home weatherization, worm composting, and more!

-Anna