Aside from the one bluestone pathway that runs along the length of the south side of the WestCo Courtyard, all of our main pathways through the site are left to be trodden dirt paths intentionally. While this may not be as aesthetically pleasing as bluestone or even wood chips, it requires very little work (as students are constantly walking on it to stamp out plants that would grow there) unlike the bluestone which was labor intensive, and it is incredibly energy efficient/sustainable (as it requires no additional materials) unlike wood chips which have to be replaced every couple years to look fresh. WILD Wes made the decision to keep the main pathways dirt since the Summer of 2015 when it was apparent how difficult it would be to replace the decaying wood chips, how expensive it might be, and how often it would have to be done. Plus, this way, there can be a beautiful low grass path come summer which adds a whole level of natural beauty!
We have renovated our WILD Wes signs on various places around the courtyard. Our primary objective is to provide information on permaculture, composting, and our group itself to the greater campus in a readily accessible format.
Patches of Jerusalem artichoke are beginning to grow on the courtyard. Known as sunroot, sunchoke, or earth apple, the Jerusalem artichoke is a species of sunflower that is native to eastern North America. Its tubers, the storage organ for nutrients, are edible and have a sweet taste due to its production of fructose. Once they are fully grown, please feel free to pick some Jerusalem artichoke for yourselves. To read more, check out our post about them on our old site.
We recently built two added sections to our compost site in order to keep more of our bio-waste on site and to experiment with new composting techniques.
A crisp 79 degrees today and a clear sky. A beautiful day to take a walk through the courtyard. We wish you all a wonderful weekend :)
Wine doesn’t only come from grapes! Winemakers have been making wine from other fruits such as plum, elderberry, and so much more, but did you know that you can make a delicious wine from weeds? It’s time to dispel the myth that wine is some kind of bourgeois drink for campaign donors, golf wives, and college freshman, and to give it back to the people! Making wine can be incredibly cheap (unless you have your own bees you’ll have to pay for sugar), easy, and highly rewarding.
In order to create your own alcohol (at its very minimal), you only need two things: yeast and sugar. However, most wine makers (except for traditional mead makers) will add some sort of flavoring which usually takes the form of grapes, but can be, as I stated earlier, (or at least in theory) really whatever plant you want it to be. Yeast is the easiest of the ingredients to find that you’ll need. WILD yeast exists everywhere: on the trees, flowers, cars, and most importantly, its in the air. Additionally, you have many options for sugar as well. You could use regular white table sugar, but feel free to experiment with honey, brown sugar, molasses, or anything else you can get your hands on. Experimentation is key to making your own wine with WILD yeast.
Rhizomes are modified stems running underground horizontally (as opposed to an arbolic structure, which runs more vertically). and they form by creating new roots and shoots through their nodes. What makes these roots so great (but also a pain if we're trying to get rid of certain plants) is that the act of separating the roots oftentimes gives rise to new ones.
Currently we've been taking out the Oriental Bittersweet Vine. Although they are beautiful, we have decided it's best for the rest of the courtyard to get rid of this plant, since it reproduces at such a rapid rate and often chokes out most plants it comes into contact with.
Last week the WILD interns went on a trip to Amherst, Ma to check out the permaculture sites at UMASS and Hampshire College. By the end of the summer we hope to create some mushroom logs of our own. These are great because they not only give a new life to an old tree but also provide some delicious and easy food!