Home composting has come to the city of Boston

In late May, I saw that the City of Boston was launching a curbside food waste collection program or a household composting program. When I was a teenager, my mother did composting for her garden, and I’ve always wished I could do composting in my apartments. There is an independent program in Boston called Boostrap Compost, but since I’m on a fixed income, the monthly charges were more than my budget could fit.

When I saw the City of Boston was starting its own program, I registered immediately. There’s no charge to participate, and they provide you with everything you need to get started. The starter kit contains

Boston Food Waste program kitchen supplies: A bucket to collect your food waste in, a magnet for your refrigerator, a roll of compostable bag liners, and a guidebook for teh program. Not shown is the curbside bucket, the
  • A wheeled bucket to put out on trash day
  • A smaller bucket for your kitchen
  • A roll of compostable liners for your kitchen tub
  • A guidebook to help you know what you can put in the tub
  • And a handy magnet to put on your refrigerator you can check you make sure you’re only putting acceptable items in your tubs.

If you already do recycling with your eligible trash, you’ll find that some recyclables, like paper towels and toilet tissue cores, can go into your compost tube. If your grocery store has compostable bags for their produce, you can use those to put compostable items in. When you run out of bin liners, you can use a double-lined paper bag or any BPI, CMA, or OK Compost certified compostable bin liners. It’s all in the guidebook, and you can also check the FAQ page for more information on the program.

They’ll start collecting food waste the week of 1 August, and it will be picked up on your regular trash day. If you have multiple trash pickups every week, they’ll pick up your food waste on the first pickup of the week. Not every neighborhood in Boston is participating yet, and the first step of signing up is to make sure your neighborhood is eligible.

If you want to get some of the compost produced by the program for your garden, you can purchase bags of compost. I’m going to look into doing that when I finally start doing more gardening than the five pots of plants that live on my back porch.

The Boston Food Waste program curbside food bucket, a bright green wheeled bucket with a lockable lid. The locking mechanism is bright orange

If you’re interested in getting more information or signing up, congratulations, and thank you! You’re a better steward of our shared planet than many of your fellow human beings. Go to bostoncomposts.com and peruse the information, including the FAQ page, then fill out the enrollment form and get ready to start keeping some of your food waste from going into the landfill.

TestPics: Schoolmaster Hill Terrace

Franklin Park: Schoolmaster Hill 24 - The plaque dedicating the structure to schoolmaster Ralph Waldo Emerson (taken 20150419)When I got to my local branch of the Boston Public Library last Thursday I found out the IT folks were updating all of the laptops available for loan. I go to the library every day and the first thing I do each day is to get one of their laptops to work on. When the techs were done updating the laptops I found I could no longer mount my external hard drive, which is something I had been surprised to be able to do in the first place. My external drive was formatted for my old Linux laptop and needs special drivers to be mounted on Windows computers like the library has available for patrons to use. Not being able to install the drivers essentially destroyed my daily workflow because I can no longer access any of the files I used every day to get things done online. I’m still trying to figure out how much I can and can’t do, but if it weren’t for the WiFi-only Android phone a friend is letting me use I wouldn’t even be able to take new pictures, let alone post them.

When I walked out the door Sunday morning, 19 April, I wasn’t planning on taking any new pictures, partly because I don’t have a memory card for the phone so I’m usually short on space for new pictures. As I was heading to the clubhouse for Franklin Park’s William J. Devine Golf Course to use the free WiFi to check my email, I took the turn off Circuit Drive/Jewish War Veterans Drive to go to Schoolmaster Hill, only planning to see how things looked now that all the snow has melted.

When I finally left the Schoolmaster Hill Terrace to go to the clubhouse there were 26 new pictures on my phone. As I started writing this post I realized I had missed taking some pictures so I went back yesterday and took five more pictures.

Just a note before the jump: Most people refer to the area as simply “Schoolmaster Hill,” but I found out the original name is “Schoolmaster Hill Terrace” so that’s the name I’m going to use most of the time. I’ve also found there are other names for the Forest Hills Corner and the hill where the Wilderness Scenic Overlook so I’ll be going back in the next week to update the posts to show the proper names of the sites.

more “TestPics: Schoolmaster Hill Terrace”

A glimpse at a video I would have made for the Franklin Park photobook

Read my posts about the Franklin Park photobook I wanted to make this past summerSome of my readers will remember that at the end of the summer I ran a Kickstarter campaign to try to raise funds to buy the equipment I needed to create a photobook of a year in Boston’s Franklin Park. Not only would I have taken a year’s worth of pictures for the book, I also would have shots some videos as well. This morning I was finally able to shoot a video that I’ve wanted to make for a year and a half. more “A glimpse at a video I would have made for the Franklin Park photobook”

Thanks for your help with the Franklin Park book Kickstarter project

The Franklin Park book has been cancelledUnfortunately the Kickstarter project simply didn’t get the backing it needed and I’ve closed it early. This obviously means the Franklin Park ebook won’t get made at this point, but since the laptop to replace my old one was part of the budget for that project it means that it will continue being difficult for me to do much writing. I still have the rewrite of He’s With the Band that I want to finish but it will take time during the day that gets taken from other tasks to work on it.

Thanks to everyone who backed me and got the word out, especially Amy, Tara and Danielle, as well as Pareesa and everyone over at the Franklin Park Coalition. Perhaps we can try it again at some point because I’d love to get this book made.

Kickstarter Challenge: I need to see $1,200 raised for my Franklin Park book by Monday

If you're going to back my next book on Kickstarter I need you to do it nowAs I write this there are only nine days left in my Kickstarter project to create a photobook of Franklin Park but we’re still sitting at only 4% of the needed $2,900 raised. That’s puzzling because I’ve talked to a lot of people around Boston and I’ve heard a lot of excitement about the book, and with the exception of my very last backer all the money has come from out-of-state family members. The one Boston backer is a friend who used to live in Jamaica Plain and still raves about the area.

If you’re planning on backing my project I need to ask you to do it this weekend. After running the numbers I’ve decided to set a challenge for my backers and prospective backers: I need to raise $1,200 for the project by noon Eastern Time on Monday, 4 August. That’s just over 40%, and I it’s a lot of scratch to raise in a mere four days. But if we can’t meet that goal there’s no way we’ll raise 96% in the remaining seven days.

If we can hit that goal we’ll still need to raise about $250 every day for the remaining week of the campaign. Some will say it’s too much to raise after raising less than that in the past three weeks but if we can hit Monday’s goal I know we can all get the word out and put the project over the top.

If it turns out that Monday’s goal is missed I’ll cancel the funding and thank everyone for their help. Depending on how much money is raised by noon on Monday I”ll look into possibly trying again, either with a smaller goal or possibly through another crowd funding site. I’ve seen recently that there’s another service that can let you choose to accept whatever money gets raised rather than being all or nothing like Kickstarter does but if I don’t see the possibility of at least replacing the laptop that died back in September I’m not sure if it will make sense to try again.

If the laptop can get replaced I’ll at least be able to finish the rewrite of He’s With the Band that I’ve been trying to do for the past few months, and it should let me get back the mystery I was working on when the laptop crashed one last time and took the hard drive with it. I may not be able to make the photobook at that point but at least I can get back to writing and try to give my readers something to read. I can’t tell you how many people have told me they loved He’s With the Band and want me to write more, even if it’s not a continuation of Al’s story. Without a laptop there’s just not enough hours in the day to do the things I need to do online and to be able to write.

The ball’s in your court. If you’ve been thinking of backing my next book now’s the time. It doesn’t have to be a big amount, even small pledges can add up to make a difference, and the more people back me the more others will be wiling to join the crowd. You won’t need to pay your pledge until after the campaign ends on Sunday, 10 August, and then only if the project is fully funded. This way you can look to see what your budget will be able to handle before making your pledge.

Back my Picture Book of Franklin Park on Kickstarter

The Kickstarter campaign is almost at the halfway mark and it doesn’t look good for my Franklin Park photobook

Want to back my next book?Last week I was glad to be able to report that the Kickstarter campaign to fund the creation of my next book, a photobook of Franklin Park, had its first two backers. Unfortunately despite hearing lots of enthusiasm about the book only one other person has backed it since then. And that’s not a good thing for the creation of a photobook of Boston’s much-loved urban park. more “The Kickstarter campaign is almost at the halfway mark and it doesn’t look good for my Franklin Park photobook”

I’m working on a new book. Want to help me Kickstart it?

Can you help my next book get a Kickstart?I’ve lived in Boston for 25 years now and didn’t know a lot about Franklin Park, part of the Emerald Necklace of public park space Frederick Law Olmstead’s firm designed back in the late 1800’s. But earlier this year I discovered Julie Arrison’s book Images of America: Franklin Park (Arcadia Publishing), about the design and creation of the park. There’s a whole lot more park than I had any idea about.

That’s how I start describing the book I’d like to make on the project’s Kickstarter page. Over the next 30 days I’m looking for people to help me raise $2,900 to fund the purchase of a new laptop and a smartphone to use to take pictures of Boston’s Franklin Park over the course of the next year.

Of course there’s more to pay for in that $2,900 bucks, like some really great premiums for people who help me fund the creation of the book. If you back me with as little as $25 US you will get a free copy of the ebook version of the book as well as access to a funders’ area that will have a lot of the pictures for the book as they’re taken. If you can donate more there’s some great added goodies waiting for you, including a signed copy of the paperback edition of the book when it comes out if you back me at the top level with $250.

The book will be published as an ebook in Fall 2015 both as an ebook via Smashwords (and their partner stores) and Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, as well as a print on demand paperback through Amazon’s CreateSpace. But you can get a free copy if you’re one of the book’s backers.

There’s only 30 days to get this done so if you can help you can’t wait too long to do it. Head on over to the project page and see what you can do to help make this book real. I promise there’s going to be a lot to like in it, even if you don’t live in Boston and don’t plan to visit. Our park really is that beautiful.

Visit the book’s Kickstarter page

Coming Soon: J.M. Hardin: The Kickstarter Campaign?

I’ve been kicking around an idea for a book to write after I finish the rewrite of He’s With the Band. It’s a book of photographs of Franklin Park here in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. I’ve seen some nice books about Franklin Park but the ones I’ve seen have older pictures, and while there’s some nice sites with pictures of the park there’s no book of recent pictures. The idea is for it to be partly a travel book, but more a book for Boston residents (and former residents) to use to get more out of our beautiful park.

My biggest problem: I need some new gear to make the book and my budget for it is nonexistent, so I’m going to turn to Kickstarter to try to fund the equipment I’ll need to make the book. more “Coming Soon: J.M. Hardin: The Kickstarter Campaign?”