Monday, February 2, 2015

Beekeeping 101

Beekeeping 101  Class dates and times are and March 21 and 28  10am-1pm (Choose 1 or both) Cost for each class is $45 for 1 or $75  for both classes. (this would be repeat information, but offered if you wanted to sign up a friend who can’t come same day as you)
Beginning Beekeeping classes at Village Green Nursery. 12 max, 5 min
A three hour class to get you ready for bees in your garden in 2015.
This class will introduce you to the life cycle of the honey bee and the basic tools and equipment needed to set up a hive or two in your yard.
The instructor, Christine Ranegger, has been a hobby beekeeper in Seattle for 6 years and is an Apprentice Level beekeeper as part of the Master Beekeeper Certification Program with the Washington State Beekeepers Association.
Full frame
Some supplies to get you started will be available for purchase.

Early dismissal clay genius

March 25th, early dismissal clay genius workshop   2:30-5 pm.  $40.
5 kids max, ages 9 and up
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clay/handbuilding workshop for 9yrs and up
need a safe place for your kids for the early dismissal? Does your child love to play with clay and art materials?
We will explore hand building by creating interesting shapes that can later be used in mixed media projects.
Each class comes with unlimited potential, unbridled creative abilities and certainly some laughter and fun. Oh, we’ll work with clay, too. Fearless exploration. No specific agenda.
Pack a snack, bring water. Wear older clothes that can get dirty
Parent release form required for each child. Please be certain this is a class your child will enjoy.
Park out front and walk down the driveway to the rear of the house, the studio is under the deck through the purple door.
Vera  206-819-8544 call to confirm sign up

Saturday, December 27, 2014

What the heck is the Village green?

The 'Village green' by definition: community gathering space…
My business is hard to define, though it has many functions and operates as an organic garden center/nursery where I, and others, teach (to name a few) organic gardening, beekeeping, food production, Food Forest workshops, Herbalism, wreath making, pottery, and even blacksmithing…
what can I say…I’m an information/how to junkie :)
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This land was once orchards…it’s been used for agriculture for over 35 years.  For years it was maintained with chemicals and synthetic fertilizers. Nary a frog or snake was to be seen on the property the first 5 years I lived here….but now, it’s  returning…
This property is almost 2 acres of woodland, wetland, vegetable gardens and pollinator gardens plus host to many critically important trees, native plants meaning it’s abundant with wildlife. A culvert moves surface water and street runoff cuts directly through the land and much of the water filtration plays a very important
role in this rich ecosystem. The property is bordered by a protected wetland (I’m in the process of also becoming certified as a protected wetland with King county.)
It is the lowest property on this street, meaning all of the water in the surrounding neighborhoods, north, south and east of here filters through this particular piece of land flowing to another holding pond just east, then directly into the Puget sound. 30 years ago a creek that once was home to fish is no longer running through BECAUSE of the development on peat bogs where a Safeway and townhomes now sit.  Cutting off the flow of water that was once connected to the bog at Roxhill park.
 Just this year after 8 yrs of releasing frogs and tadpoles here on this land we hear them in the yard, having heard them in the neighborhood for past 4 years. The diversity of birds here has multiplied over the years, many overwinter that have not in the past. The many educational opportunities continue to reveal themselves.
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In the  11 years of living here I’ve transformed this property from a toxic waste, worm free, bugless and beeless garden.. to an abundant, healthy organic garden that it is truly healing and rich with diversity. The wildlife is returning! FROGS AGAIN! Just recently a neighbor found a salamander in her yard!
The hard work and efforts I’ve put into this property holds proof that I’m transforming the ecosystems here. That alone means something.I’ve documented these changes and have proof of the health and vitality of proper land management.
There’s proof here that the land can heal... the ripple effect is happening in my neighborhood. I’m in tears. Of joy, pride, gratitude, opportunity and a deep powerful sense of knowing everything will work out. The community here will not stand by and allow development to happen here I can trust in that.
We focus on collaboration,  community building and land stewardship.  I work with my community on clean up projects,  planting for wildlife, addressing water cleanliness, runoff and filtration. I also teach continuing education classes to Boeing employees through a programIMG_3824 copyB.jpg geared for team building relations among employees and  staff.
We have hosted many  guest teachers, authors and speakers for workshops and educational programs  including Ciscoe Morris, Robyn Jasko, Annette Cottrell, Colin McCrate and Brad Halm, Deborah Prinzing and Kimberly Leeper
This property is a piece of local history.
Now, for the other piece of the story...I've been fighting Bank of America for 5 years to keep this property from Foreclosure. I was not even behind in my payments when I was told to get behind and then they would help...what they did instead was send me a notice of default and notice of foreclosure sale date.
 I rallied, spoke publicly as often as possible, campaigning for myself and was finally given an unsustainable short term fix, only because I went so public. MSNBC, Huffington post, New York times, Bloomberg plus local publications like Seattle Times, West Seattle blog and West Seattle Herald.
(Did I mention this is my home AND my business. I lose my home, I lose my job. This is not just about my home though. It's more about the environmental impact development will have)
Today, the problem is escalating, again, though now I am a seasoned activist and foreclosure fighter. I have spoken in multiple press conferences in D.C. I have been interviewed by NPR, Al Jazeera, RTTV,  and finally after being Tased and arrested in D.C. during a peaceful protest at the DOJ on May 20, 2013 was interviewed by Matt Taibbii for Roling stone politics .
Having had a Forensic audit performed on my Deed of Trust I now have  evidence of fraud, robosigning and broken chain of Title. This alone gives them reason to want to hastily get me out.
 How did I get to this place of impending foreclosure again you ask? (always the homeowner is blamed, shamed and dismissed)
Well, as I paid my monthly mortgage payments via DIRECT TRANSFER from my bank account, which CLEARLY shows the monthly transfers, the money was not being applied. Instead they were sending me late notices, threatening foreclosure again. I asked for proof of that claim, to which they replied, 'we do not have to supply that'
 Finally, I became weary of the threats and extortion and hired a lawyer to fight this in a civil case. The legal fees are accumulating while the injustices keep rolling out...the auction date for my home was January 9th. I had to file bankruptcy to stop the auction. Mind you, I have NO other unsecured debt. No car payments, no credit cards, no student loans, no medical bills. I pay cash for everything. NO debt. Except my home. I am not taking advantage of anyone or anything.
Even with a lawsuit, the bank was going to go ahead and Auction off my home, they simply don't care, because...which is also illegal.
they are too big to fail.
 Well, I'm too determined to keep this beautiful,environmentally critical peice of land from becoming 16 houses. Yes, High density urban development. We need More of that? Really? With all the empty and Foreclosed rotting homes that rob our communities, business and families of a human right and disrupting quality of life?
Homeowners who have not experienced this cannot fully comprehend the complexities, just as anyone who has never experienced prejudice, exploitation or abuse cannot understand or even imagine it, but that does not mean it is not real and that it doesn't exist.
I am now taking this to the Federal court level.
When I win ...and I am determined to have justice...
I intend to turn this property over to a chosen community group that will promise to maintain the integrity and values I have implemented and maintain this incredible space, meanwhile living here in my home until I choose to leave permanently.
Additionally I plan to start a non-profit and assist others who are experiencing what I am who have not had the access to resources or the support I have received.
This is a National, state and community problem. If we let corporations run us down and ruin our communities we will have nothing left. No rights, no freedoms. No choices.
There is power in numbers. I believe that.
Please donate what you can, and share this campaign with others.
I am in need of financial support to pay for my legal fees.
This money will not be used for anything but that.
If I exceed the asked for donations, you can feel confident I will put this money to good use by assisting others.
Vera Johnson
Photo credits:
Holli with an i (Cedar Trees, leaning tree with support)
Dana Sanderson (event with Ciscoe Morris and beehives)
Jim Mader (mason bee with pollen)
Vera Johnson (queen bee, fern frond, arbor/woodland)

Easter baskets/miniature gardens

Oh happy day!!! Spring is here!!!!!   Well.... let's pretend and act as if it is, to put a skip in our steps, shall we?
Let's put together some colorful baskets to brighten up your entryway or create your own pretty Easter table centerpiece.

Easter baskets/miniature gardens   $65   5 min, max 12
Bring your own basket or pot to revitalize (no larger than 10") or choose a basket from one provided.
 Grab a basket and fill it with your favorite flowers to create a colorful table display or decorative container for your porch or entryway.  Create an herb garden, cheery color combo or whatever you imagine.
We'll line and fill the baskets/pots with organic soil and fertilizers.
 then you can choose from

violas, narcissus, hyacinth, herbs, various cheery flowering spring bulbs, pansies, grasses and herbs based on seasonal availability  . There will be plenty to choose from.
  Add special touches like small tables and chairs and garden miniatures from our own handcrafted miniatures collections (limit to 5 miniature handcrafted pieces each) use colorful glass to make pathways. If you have grandkids, they love to see these mini gardens, creating all sorts of stories to go with this! Great place to hide an egg...HINT!
Class includes:  basket and liner, soil, fertilizers, 5 plants from assortment, 5 clay miniatures crafted here in our pottery studio, 1/4 cup glass pieces for pathways, hot tea, sure to be laughter, and... you take home a pretty spring basket!
There will be pots, miniatures and plants you can purchase separately if you prefer something outside of provided materials.

Monday, November 24, 2014

My latest upcycle project

 Easy and fun. Oh so beautiful!

Holiday Wreath workshop

We gathered together and went for a walk in the yard. We foraged for interesting bits of natures beauty to create our holiday wreaths.
Who could have imagined what would happen when you look at the fallen lichen covered branches, rose hips and red twigs as artful decorations?
The freedom to create with natural materials is a deeply woven part of our human makeup, yet we seldom get the chance to fully embrace it. Here, we
were given the chance, and look at the joyful expressions and pride felt by the masters of their works!
I teach these workshops 3 times in the Holiday season. To take a workshop, please sign up for the mailing list so you will know when they are happening.

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