Friday, September 9, 2016

Building a shed, step three

Photo by Elizabeth Thomson

A lesson in working with ancient circular saws was included in session three of GreeningRozzie’s Maker Mob to build a small garden shed.

Jeff, our carpenter, first opted for the lighter of two available saws to cut out a triangular “birds mouth” from a two-by-four destined for the shed’s roof. The smell of burning wood, however, quickly told him that the blade of said saw was too dull. Out came the second saw, which almost completed the job (Jeff used a small hand saw to cut through the final fibers). Along the way we got a primer on the parts of a circular saw and several safety tips. Among the latter: always wear goggles, and never stand in front of an operating saw.

Photo by Elizabeth Thomson
The day’s work was accompanied by a soon-familiar mantra: measure measure measure, check check check. For example, we temporarily put up the walls created in session two to make sure they fit. They came close, save for one side that was a little off due to a warped two-by-four, but Jeff wasn’t concerned.”That’s easily fixed” with a few nails, he said.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Building a shed, step two

Photo by Kim Patch
By Eric Smalley

Session two of three of GreeningRozzie’s Maker Mob to build a small garden shed was all about framing. We framed a door wall and a window wall. Our carpenter, Jeff, steered us through tricky alignments and careful measurements.

Photo by Kim Patch
As always, measuring was paramount. To ensure that the window will end up in the center of the wall, we had to slightly offset the window opening in the wall frame to compensate for overlapping the edges of the wall frames when we erect and connect them. We also learned that a deadhead mallet is very useful for whacking frames-in-progress into square without denting or otherwise damaging the wood.

Photo by Kim Patch
Next up, erecting the walls, siding them and building a roof. Session 3 is this Saturday, August 27, from 2 to 5 pm. If you’d like to join us, here’s where to RSVP.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Building a shed, step one


Photo by Kim Patch
By Eric Smalley

It was a beautiful Saturday to build something. The relentless summer heat took the day off and the threat of rain dissipated. We gathered in Alice’s backyard where a pile of precut lumber waited for us. DB&S, the lumberyard on Washington Street just over the line in JP, helpfully marked each piece with its length.

Photo by Kim Patch
We were there for the first of three GreeningRozzie Maker Mob sessions to build a small garden shed. The first session was about building the base and beginning the framing. Under the direction of our carpenter, Jeff, we cleared a patch of ground in Alice’s backyard large enough for the 4 x 4 footprint of the shed. We laid two parallel rows of paving stones, placed a four-foot length of cedar 4 x 4 on each, and then leveled them. Alice chose cedar, which is naturally insect- and rot-resistant, over pressure-treated lumber to avoid the chemicals.

Photo by Kim Patch
With the base in place, we framed the floor with 2 x 4s, attached it with long screws to the cedar 4 x 4s, and screwed on a piece of plywood for the floor. We also framed the two simpler of the four walls – the ones without a door or window. Jeff showed us some tricks of the trade: reducing the torque on the power screwdrivers to avoid stripping screws, using a chalk line to mark where to screw the plywood to the frame, starting screw holes perpendicularly before lining up the drill for angled attachments, and measuring floor and wall frames on both diagonals to ensure that the corners are square.

Photo by Kim Patch
Next up, framing the walls with the door and window, erecting all four walls and siding them.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Memory Tree Project profile: John Govoni and Dorothy Giarla

Photo by Renée DeKona
By Pam Sinotte
 
This summer, rainfall throughout Massachusetts has been well below average, leaving much of the state and Boston in a severe drought. It’s been a difficult summer for many plants, including our newer street trees. But thanks to the efforts of Memory Tree Project participants John Govoni and Dorothy Giarla, there are two honeylocust trees bordering Fallon Field that stand a great chance of surviving and thriving! Over the course of the summer, John and Dorothy have been bringing large buckets of water to these trees that might otherwise not receive adequate water because they’re not near homes or businesses.  

Photo by Renée DeKona
Here is what John and Dorothy have to say about participating in The Memory Tree Project:

We have lived in Roslindale for almost 40 years and have enjoyed the evolution of our neighborhood. We decided to join The Memory Tree Project to honor our families and contribute to the important growth of green space on our city streets. Many people have complimented us on our dedication to this effort. Win/win all around.
– John Govoni and Dorothy Giarla

We hope you’ll be inspired by John and Dorothy to join The Memory Tree Project and care for a street tree in memory of a loved one. You’ll be honoring a loved one, helping to reduce Roslindale’s carbon footprint, and beautifying the neighborhood! To sign up for your own tree, go to our home page or email thememorytreeproject@gmail.com.  (To see a close-up of the tree sign, see Eric Smalley’s post Honoring My Father in a Green Way.)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

BU professor exposes ties between pipeline company, federal regulators

Itai Vardi, who teaches sociology at Boston University, has been writing about the conflicts of interest in the relationship between natural gas pipeline company Spectra Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is tasked with regulating the company’s activities. Spectra is building the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline that many of our friends and neighbors have been protesting.

More than 100 protesters, including more than a dozen clergy and Al Gore’s daughter Karenna Gore Schiff, have been arrested for non-violent civil disobedience against the pipeline construction.

Here are Vardi’s recent posts about Spectra:

Former FERC Official Hired By Company With $1.8 Million Stake In Spectra Energy Pipeline Project He Had Reviewed

Revealed: Contractors Hired by FERC to Review a New Spectra Energy Pipeline Work for Spectra on a Related Project

Exposed: Spectra-Funded Group Lobbied for FERC Commissioner's Reappointment, Then FERC Approved Spectra’s Gas Pipelines

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Stopping a Pipeline - Update from the Spectra Pipeline M&R Station Gate In West Roxbury

Editor's note: this post is a reprint of GreeningRozzie member Steve Gag's letter about his experience on July 5, 2016.
 
That's Jeff Gang and me in the green slickers holding the banner. Greg Tobin is offering support to our left. Five of my affinity group attended including three of us "riskers". - Photo by Laura Gang

By Steve Gag

WEST ROXBURY, Mass., Tuesday, July 5th - Four of us risked getting arrested in front of the metering and regulation station gate in West Roxbury earlier this morning. The metering and regulation station sits directly across the street from an active quarry that frequently uses dynamite. The gas line and station are within 50 yards of the quarry. The high pressure gas line isn't needed. It will be used to bring fracked gas from Pennsylvania to ports for export to other countries.

Jeff Gang and I holding one of the banners. The person in the car taking a picture of Laura Gang taking a picture is a guard for the Spectra Pipeline company. - Photo by Laura Gang
We sat down in front of the gate to prevent vehicles from entering and leaving. The four of us, along with 20+ supporters, shut the gate down twice before we were dragged away by several police officers.

No one was hurt and no one was arrested. The latest police tactic is to push and carry people out the construction areas rather than arrest protesters. Even going limp, which all four of us did twice, did not lead to arrest. We did disrupt things and we did slow construction down for a period of time which was the objective.

Shutting down an active construction site is not easy. Societal forces are aligned against us. 150+ folks have been arrested over the past 8 weeks and several hundred people have attended countless actions, vigils and demonstrations.

But as we have seen with the Keystone Pipeline and most recently with the Kinder Morgan Pipeline, when enough people get involved things do change. Let me know if you you are interested in participating. Go to resistthepipeline.org for more info.

Being dragged away from the gate by BPD officers. That's Tom from my affinity group next to me. Our two female "riskers" were dragged off to the other side of the gate. Average age of the group is 65+. - Photo by Laura Gang

Monday, June 20, 2016

Reimagining Scott’s Yard

Photo by Alice Apley

By Alice Apley

Know you want to make changes in your yard, but you’re not sure where to start? Tend to buy plants on a whim or overplant an area and only realize afterwards that you could have planned things a bit better? Not sure what makes sense for your space and for you and anyone else who uses your yard? Paralyzed by what to do first?

Whatever your goals – support pollinators, invite wildlife into your backyard, grow pick-and-eat fruit, improve your neighborhood’s streetscape, or simply make your yard a more comfortable place to spend time – planning is essential. GreeningRozzie’s Garden Design Maker Mob met on June 12th for the first of three sessions to learn a hands-on, step-by-step process for making your garden dreams reality.

Photo by Alice Apley
Using Scott’s yard a couple blocks south of Roslindale Village, landscape designer Laura Smeaton walked the group through the first stages in a design process: Goal Setting and Gathering Data & Observation. Scott had already identified his priority areas as well as his goals. For the unsightly border in the back yard he wants to hide the unattractive rocks, break up the right angles of the yard and create a pollinator and bird-friendly environment. For the narrow, shady side yard that previously was covered with asphalt, his goal is to liven up the dead zone and create a space that invites visitors into the back yard.

As part of the Gathering Data and Observation component we discussed sun, wind, rain, soil, elevation, stakeholders (children, neighbors, or others who might also use or shape the yard), existing hardscape (fences, paths, building structures) and existing plantings.

And then we got our hands dirty, measuring the spaces, and mapping the different components on separate base maps. By the end of the session we had created a complete set of base maps showing: 1) terrain, landscape and soil; 2) sun; 3) wind; 4) hardscape; 5) wildlife and animals; and 6) existing plantings. And in doing so, we realized that Scott was already on his way to meeting his goal of a wildlife-friendly yard. Throughout the session, the small birdbath in the yard was visited by thirsty honeybees from a neighbor’s hive.

Photo by Alice Apley
The biggest take-away for the participants was the importance of mapping each of these factors on its own map. We only realized the importance of this in the doing, because simply describing existing fences, walls and rocks was a challenge to organize in a clear way. Also, by creating separate maps, when something changes, you don’t have to start from scratch. For instance, if that big tree in the corner of your yard comes down, you only need to redo the existing plantings and sun maps, but hardscape, soil types and other features won’t change.

And while the focus was on Scott’s yard, each of us could relate to his challenges and the process was easily transferable to our own spaces. So while we were helping him block out and map his space, I couldn’t help but start to imagine the goals for my side yard (part composting work area and part zen garden?).

The next session will be Turn Imagination into Plans: Learn to Make Scale Drawings! Hope to see you there. If you’re interested in joining us for this session, sign up on this form.

Photo by Alice Apley