Current permanent residents
Edwin, Chris, Rocco, and Mark.
Four pickup-style campers, a 14-ft camper-trailer n 18-ft camper-trailer, and a 24-ft motorhome. Some of these have been connected with roofs to create larger living spaces. Edwin also has a small adobe dome we built to test out the Cal Earth building process. We have also built foundations for the campers and a shower facility. See newsletters for more details on our current status.
The community toilet is a simple barrel composter. It been enclosed in a small building made from recycled and new materials. Edwin also has a separate system.
A solar system has been installed in the motorhome, consisting of 5 120W panels, a charge controller, a Xantrax inverter and six 6V golf car batteries.. 12-volt wiring has been run from the motorhome where the batteries are stored to the campers and the composting toilet house for lighting.. Power is sufficient for our current needs, with occasional supplementation from a small generator.
Edwin has an additional solar system with three large panels, 200W each, and two high-capacity deep cycle batteries.
We will be building a solar system soon, which will power the solar pump for the well.
We have a good well capable of at least 15gpm in March 2007. At first the water was sulphurous and highly mineralized, but as we continue to pump the water, the sulfur is unnoticeable now and the water "sweeter" with less minerals, although still has a pH of about 9. We currently are running a 1/2 HP pump with a generator.
A garden has been created in the lower terraces and is being expanded as needed to supply community needs and farmer's market sales. We now have over 40 double-dug beds, most of them 20 feet long and 42 inches wide, some much longer.
Successful harvests of lettuce, cantaloupe, watermelons, kale, tomatoes, red peppers, squash, green beans, and cucumbers have been obtained. We are also having success some years with our tree crops of apricots, almonds, and pomegranates. Other fruit crops we are developing are boysenberries, blackberries, grapes, and strawberries. Some lessons have been learned concerning specific conditions here and the garden will continue to be much improved and expanded. One such lesson is that the sun here at this latitude and elevation is extremely intense in late spring and early summer, which can shut down photosynthesis on some plants. We are using Agribon cloth to protect crops in the winter and early spring from the cold and insect netting and shade cloth in summer to protect crops such as lettuce and spinach from withering sun. Another lesson is that we need to control the grasshoppers (organic controls are available), which in the fall of 2008 ate every green leaf in sight, even the poisonous oleanders! Biological control from Arbico had some limited success. Since we put on more applications of it every year we are seeing a reduction in the grasshopper population. This is product is a natural fungus approved for organic gardens. We are also using insect netting, which is 90% effective.
Experimental plantings of various fruit trees have been completed. See the Food Plant List and the Forest Plant List for more information on what has been planted and what is planned. Grapes have yet to fully thrive but have potential. Figs are marginal because of the cold winters but should do well in a south-facing sheltered area. We have planted cold-tolerant olives, one did not survive due to gopher activity.
We have installed a koi pond in September, 2011. It is functional but still a work-in-progress. We are currently building a shade structure for it and adding rock-and mortar t the berms.