Making things is fun. 

The things I make don’t always look like the vision that inspired me, (or the photo on the recipe in the case of my kitchen adventures) but that has never discouraged me because the process of making is so much magical fun that the outcome is nearly irrelevant.   And once in a while the things I make turn out even better than I envisioned.

For example, early this morning (5:30 AM) before I went down to the Garland Community Garden for our monthly cleanup day, I made some shea butter soap for the first time in my life.  Actually the soap would more accurately be called “shea butter lavender loofah soap” as it has pieces of loofah and lavender seeds from the Garland Community Garden in it.  Members of Loving Garland Green are making items to give away at the upcoming LiveWell GoGreen Expo Sept 23, 2017

 Garland Texas.  Among other things, we are giving away handcrafted soap.


Lavender/Loofah scrub soap made with materials from the Garland Community Garden – August 26, 2017.  This soap is not for the face but it’s great for the feet. Although it looks good enough to eat, you better not.


The Urban Garden and Local Businesses Connect to Makers in Many Ways

Among other things, the urban garden makes food for bees and bees make honey for beekeepers (like Garland’s Bee Girl) to collect and sell.  Local people, urban gardens, nature and vibrant enterprise are all connected in a Maker community.

Most of my plants and seeds I purchase from Rohde’s, a locally owned organic Garland business.  Yesterday I was in there to purchase some of their great organic fertilizer for the garden just in time for the rain today. I noticed a display of honey on their counter top and asked if the owner was a local Garland person—Of course she was!  Local businesses generally help promote other local businesses.


Local Garland Honey from Christi Baughman Bee Girl  (972) 822-4262 sold at Rohde’s Nursery—also in Garland Texas.


Urban Gardeners Partner with Nature to Make Things

The garden can be viewed as a large factory where things are manufactured on a daily, if not hourly basis.  Some of the things made in the garden such as weeds, are not entirely desirable.  Following in the footsteps of Ruth Stout, the Mulch Queen: before the rain this morning members of Loving Garland Green met in the garden to put down some natural weed barrier—hay.  A Garland resident, Cindy Singleton, donated the hay.  Normally we wouldn’t use hay as mulch, but this hay was very dry, loose, and had been moved three times so most to the seeds have been left elsewhere.

The weed barrier consists of layers of newspaper with hay on top.  Not only will this barrier prevent weeds from growing, it will also protect the roots of the plants already growing by holding moisture in the ground.  As the hay decays, it will add nourishment to the soil as all organic matter will.


Medicine Wheel at the Garland Community Garden now has a weed barrier—thanks to Loving Garland Green board member, Burgi Bartlett.  No more weed pulling this year in this plot. – Garland Community Garden August 26, 2017.

Organic Matter Also Replaces the Need for Herbicides and Chemical Fertilizers

The grass in our walkways down in the front part of the Garland community garden looks great.  This marks our second year for spreading a two-inch layer of finely mulched leaves in the fall and spreading over this area.  The grass is thick and almost totally void of weeds.  If you mulch the leaves finely, they sift down to the ground and block weed growth while nourishing the grass roots as the leaves decay. There is no good reason in Garland to put your leaves curbside to be delivered to the landfill. 


Drip Irrigation System Installation is Moving Along

This morning, Loving Garland Green Member Rae and I installed drip irrigation tubing in two beds.  At this point we are more than halfway finished with the installation of the grids in all the beds—a very labor-intensive process.


Photo shows Native milkweed bed and closeup. We built a drip irrigation grid for it this morning and also in the 30 foot long bed shown in the background – Garland Community Garden -August 26, 2017


Closing Note on Makers


The Next Pet Rock?  Spinning Widgets – held between the thumb and forefinger, one can spin this widget and entertain oneself and others – August 26, 2017

When I was at Michaels yesterday purchasing some shea butter for the soap-making venture, I saw these widgets on their countertop.  Normally such items would not have caught my eye but this one did because one of the people on our Makerspace Team for Garland has made a similar item at the Dallas Makerspace.  However, I believe his is a little more functional and can be used not only as a self-entertainment tool, but also as a bottle opener.

When you think of makerspaces, think of their connectivity to community, local economy, urban gardens and their mutual benefit to you and your neighbors. Not all ideas and products growing out of a makerspace and people tinkering together are whimsical.  

More Makerspace Ideas.

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