Stelle’s Annual Celebration of the Earth, May 5th

Hours:  10 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Regular Tours and Events

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPlease join us for Stelle’s annual Celebration of the Earth this May 5th. As tradition goes, various members of our community wish to share and educate others of their gifts and talents that are recognized as being inspired or modeled after some of the wonderful patterns and processes that the Earth shares with us.

Tour of the Off-Grid Stelle Telephone Company -1:00pm
Tim Wilhelm manager of the Stelle Telephone Company and Professor of Renewable Energy Technologies at Kankakee Community College will give a history and overview of Stelle Telephone. Stelle Telephone was the first totally solar powered digital telephone exchange and the first solar powered internet service provider in the U.S.

Jon and June Haemes’ Straw Bale Home with PV tour! 2:00pm
A bit too far to walk but just 3 and a half mile drive, the Haemes’ home was the first straw bale home built in Illinois. Jon works for Trina Solar as a technical support manager. He used his solar powered work trailer to power all his tools used to build the home. About 30 residents of Stelle helped stack the straw bales in a single day. Jon will also talk abou the ARE 110 wind generator and its energy saving features.

Kids Garden and Pond Activities – All Day at the Pond
(Children should be accompanied by an adult)

This year we are bringing back a time-honored tradition of having family activities in the community garden. Here are the activities that are planned so far:

Kids' Activities

Kids’ Activities will be going on throughout the day in the garden.

  • Family Fishing
  • Seed Planting
  • Garden Art
  • Nature Hunt

Join us throughout the day in between our other programs.  The activities are all simple and low key, but the more the merrier.  We will request that parents accompany children 10 years and younger. (Only a limited number of families will be able to fish at one time since we are furnishing the cane poles)

  Continue reading

The Shifting Baseline, Food Myth Busting, and Food Forests

I just thought I would share some interesting information on the Shifting Baseline Theory, Food Forests, and Food Myth Busting. I came across these individual videos today while doing some research and some dots were connected in my brain. Each of these videos are short, less than 10 minutes, and together they are very powerful and absolutely inspirational (at least to me). I will give a brief explanation of each video with links and then give some extra credit to those that produced them. Continue reading

Practicing Biodynamics: Pruning in January

Permaculture Observation Journal Entry #1, January 7th, 2013: Hayden and Ernest “Practicing Biodynamics: Pruning in January”

Today Hayden and I (Ernest) practiced pruning in the orchard. According to the North American Biodynamic Sowing and Planting Calendar “Dec. 26th to Jan 9th and Jan 23rd to Feb 5th is the Northern Transplanting Time. The Transplanting time is a good time for pruning fruit trees, vines, and hedges, with Fruit and Flower times being the preferred times for this work.”  Today, Monday the 7th until 2 pm central, was a flower time and a good time to be out in the orchard pruning. We are wanting to get ready for the January Orcharding Permablitz which will be during the next Northern Transplanting Time, on January 24th and perhaps the first half of the 25th if anyone is interested.

But for now, here is what we learned on our orcharding adventure today. Continue reading

January 24th Orchard Pruning Permablitz

This January the 24th, the Center for Sustainable Community will be hosting its monthly permablitz. We will be pruning and collecting scions in our community’s three-acre orchard. We will begin by reviewing some of the main principals of orcharding at 9 a.m., then begin pruning trees throughout the orchard. We will also demonstrate how to harvest scions and perform various grafting techniques. We will, of course, allow anyone who desires to harvest scions to take them back to their own communities for propagation. Continue reading

Preserving the fall harvest, Center for Sustainable Community Canning Kitchen

Here are photos of some of the first fall harvest vegetables that we preserved in the Center for Sustainable Community Canning Kitchen. We started off the season with storing strawberry corn kernels,canning tomatoes, beets, applesauce, BBQ sauce, sweet & sour sauce, chutney, and lots of peach jam. It was the first time that Megan and I had ever canned this much food from a garden. Enjoy the photos and if your ever in the neighborhood give us a call and come join us to share in the harvest!

Table of preserved food 2012

Strawberry Corn Kernels, Tomatoes, Chutney, Sweet & Sour Sauce, BBQ Sauce, Applesauce, & Beets

The Chutney, Sweet & Sour Sauce, and BBQ Sauce are all part of one recipe. With each recipe you preserve half of the ingredients and then add some new ingredients to what is left making a new sauce. Then you preserve half of those ingredients and add some new ones. We will definitely have to find more recipes like this. Continue reading

Orchard Pruning, December Perma-Blitz

This is an online instruction on orchard pruning. We will be watching a few selected basic orchard pruning videos. We will also look at some of the photos of the Center for Sustainable Community orchard and we will discuss what could be done with the trees. This will be an online Google hangout event and we hope to have a guest expert from the Midwest Fruit Explorers group to hangout with us and answer questions.

We are gaining knowledge and experience in orchard pruning and the use of Google Hangout. This event is will hopefully provide pre-site educational support for the upcoming Dec 22nd, Orchard Pruning Perma-Blitz, but all enthusiasts are welcome, please invite your friends even if you just want to learn about Google + Hangout!

You can sign up for the event via Google + or Facebook

Center for Sustainable Community November Perma-Blitz

(See this Perma-Blitz’s description and invitation in this former post.)

The Center for Sustainable Community November Perma-Blitz went well for our first Perma-Blitz. Our aim is to create a no-cost skill-building Permaculture Event (Perma-Blitz) each month. We also hope to be able to support some local permaculture Meetup groups around the state once a month. The organizers of the November Perma-Blitz were Hayden Wilson, Ernest Rando, and Megan Krintz.  Our participants were Steven, Ruth, Wayne, Drew, Bill Wilson, and Jodi from the Suburban Chicago Permaculture Guild.

We set out to build a Hugelkultur Keyhole garden bed with the Hugelkultur beds dug into the ground. The details are in the photos, but we used a space about 18′ x 23′. At the highest spot we placed a large compost pile ring (in the center of the garden bed), but then slightly sloped the soil away from the compost pile and then leveled it out so that the water settles into the body of the Hugelkultur beds. The wood in the beds will then soak up all the water like a sponge. We hope to grow all the compost that is needed and soak up and store all the water that we need within the keyhole garden bed area. Next year, we are going to measure and pay more attention to the garden resources and yields, and we hope our only input is seed! We also had time to double dig one of the beds in an experimentation plot as well. Enjoy the photos.

Continue reading