Monday, November 20, 2006

Last days in California...

I spent yesterday with my friends Jeff and Melanie at the Green Gulch farm, near Muir Beach in Marin county. We attended the morning meditation and dharma talk at Green Gulch, then explored the farm and hiked around Muir Beach. It's one of my favorite places in the Bay Area -- beautiful, super mellow.

Here's Jeff and Melanie in front of the straw bale garden shed at Green Gulch.

The garden shed is really an amazing structure -- very beautiful, as well as practical. There's hardly a right-angle to be found -- the doors and windows are rounded, the niches are rounded, even the roof is round. It's a welcoming and pleasant design.

Some shots from Muir beach and the surrounding cliffs...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Closing the loop

"Closing the loop" is my new terminology for "doing a number-two." The significance is that poo is full of all kinds of great soil-enriching nutrients. So why whoosh it away to the waste treatment plant?

Why indeed. A much more efficient solution is to process it on site and preserve all those wonderful nurtrients to enrich next season's crop of veggies from your garden. Hence "closing the loop," if you will.

So here's an example of a beautiful and efficient waste processing system that is very pleasant to use. It's at the Dharmalaya Conference Center in Eugene, OR.

Here's the front view, and an interior shot. No, it does not smell bad. It's very pleasant to use.

In this system, the solid and liquid wastes from the toilet and showers are separated. The solid waste is dried (to prevent smell), mixed with sawdust and allowed to compost into dirt. Then it is removed and mixed with compost and used as mulch.

The liquid wastes are pumped out and into a constructed wetlands. The vegetation and microbial action in the wetlands break down the organic materials and produces clean (but non-potable) water which feeds the pond on site and irrigates the gardens.