Monday, June 23, 2014

5267 Pounds of Carbon

The Meetinghouse was built in 1995.  Its rooms were designed to resonate with the older, simple structures of traditional meetinghouses. It is light, airy, and open.

But it is a modern structure The vaulted ceilings in the Worship room include a hearing amplification system microphone. The wide window has a projection screen ready to scroll down out of its upper recesses. The building alarm system will dial out for help in the event of power loss or other troubles. There is an electric car charging station in our parking area and WiFi throughout. The 21st century touches still don't overwhelm the sense of place.

It is also a structure built and maintained in concert with the Quaker testimony of Stewardship.* Those are compact flourescent or LED bulbs in the downlights. Solar fixtures light the walkway. Our windows are cleaned with cornstarch and water.  And, yes, that's a set of solar panels on our roof!

The three 175W solar panels are offsetting a significant portion of our electrical usage. If you rap sharply on the front of "Sunny Boy" (a red box on the wall of the social room closet) a display will light up and tell you about the present power production as well as the total kilowatt hours produced since installation.  It calculates we've saved 5267 pounds of carbon so far!

We're modern time Quakers, still practicing Simplicity and Stewardship!

*Testimonies are not prescribed behaviors or rules, they are the kind of outward activities that individual Friends find consonant with their spiritual experiences. When many individual Friends, in various ways over the generations, live in consonance with such a theme, they recognize it as a Testimony.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Minding the Meadow

The Meeting has been maintaining a field habitat for years.  It's an important ecosystem to protect. The number of wildflowers, grasses, insects and other creatures it supports is huge. We keep the ecosystem from converting to woodlands by mowing it down once a year.  That keeps woody plants from taking over this sunny grassland.

Garden plot before deconstruction, June 2, 2014
We regularly mow paths through and around the meadow to give visitors a chance to discover its beauty up close. Some of us actually cheer on the bees and hopefully watch for monarchs to come and eat the milkweed. We notice the "galls" created in stems of goldenrod that safely house developing insect larva. These insects at the bottom of the food chain will help feed young birds and other field critters. Highly nutritious seeds from the wildflowers will provide sustenance for fall and winter inhabitants. This field is home to many interdependent species of plants and animals.

Garden plot "before" June 2
This summer we are encouraging our meadow ecosystem to reclaim some space that used to be a garden. We will have a transitional meadow: a no longer gardened space where we encourage luxuriant growth and wildflowers and grasses that self-seed for next year. Guy Marsden of our Meetinghouse and Grounds Committee (and this Sustainable Living blog and this page on his arttec website) has been mentoring the meadow. Just this week, he made way for the reclamation by removing the remains of the old garden: plastic sheeting, stumps of non-native plants, and such. Talk about recycling! Here are some before and after pictures from week one.

Ready to transition to meadow!