Sunday, May 19, 2019

Garden volunteers and other Garden enthusiasts

Br. Aidan led a group of garden volunteers this week. They did a lot of weeding, pruning, cleaning up and planting. They started a new flower bed along the Middle House. Their enthusiasm is always a joy to behold.
Garden volunteers. From left, clockwise: planting a new flower bed; planting peonies in the little cloister; preparing the ground; the plantings taking shape.
While some were hard at work to add more beauty to our gardens, others were enjoying what beauty there already is to behold there (quite a lot, actually).
Garden enthusiasts enjoying the spring weather. From top left, clockwise: Sonia Frontera from Lambertville, NJ; Br. Aidan and his friend CB from NYC catching up on the lawn; a baby groundhog checking out the photographer; our Associate, Bob Griffiths of Sarasota, FL in conversation with Evan Breckner of  Huntington, NY: the hardships of Associate Living - CB enjoying a read; Bob checking out the NY Times; Bob catching the sun by the Middle House entrance.
One of the many joys afforded by our gardens is that they provide beautiful blooms for the church, the guest house, and the enclosure. Brothers Rob is most often responsible for the beautiful flower arrangements found in the church.
Garden-to-Church blooms. From left, clockwise: white dogwood by the paschal candle; pink dogwood; alliums, tulips and irises by the Good Shepherd icon; alliums, columbines and Queen Anne lace at the feet of Our Lady and Child.
On Friday, four of us went to visit "our" solar farm in Kingston. Last October, we signed an agreement with Clearway Community Solar for them to provide us with solar electricity credits. They assemble enough customers to buy the energy from a solar farm which is then locally constructed. For the next 20 years, the customers purchase their part of the farm's electricity output. In exchange for that, they receive clean energy credits against their electricity utility's bills. We have contracted to receive clean energy credits that, on average, cover 100% of our electricity usage. Essentially, our electricity is now fully solar and locally generated. We have long sought to achieve renewable electricity at the monastery.  The "community solar" formula enabled us to not impair the beauty of our riverside meadow while sourcing fully solar electricity.
"We have a solar farm in Kingston, NY." From top left, clockwise: Craig Hightower, our Clearway Community Solar account manager, and Hector, a CCS technician waving; Bros. Aidan, Bede, Roy and Bernard with Craig; a view of one part of the farm; enjoying an ice cream treat after taking in the solar goodness; the Bros in front of a few inverters (DC to AC converter); another perspective on the farm.
Next up, on the renewable energy dream list: install a couple of charging stations on the monastery's parking lots and purchase a plug-in hybrid car... What do you think?
Little by little, we are doing our bit to address climate change.

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