Detail: inside the arch view of shelf, bed, deck and bench.   

January 5, 2014

INNOVATION AS IMMUNIZATION


Gardening is an ancient craft that grew in importance as a matter of "food security" over the course of the Great Recession. Even so, gardening will not become a widespread skill as long as our system of agriculture monopolizes how we are fed, and what we learn to eat. Agriculture as we know it seems committed to a path of innovation that views soil health and seedstock as solely a commodity, and something we can replace with the chemical and biological innovations of factory farming.

The green revolution of the 20th century, with all the good it has done, will not sustain our health through sterile mediums in hydroponic greenhouses alone. Our human genius for working with plants must itself be cultivated by a new generation of children who enjoy growing seeds and nurturing them into fruit bearing plants. The Nurse Tree Arch is an innovation that I hope can contribute to immunizing the generations to come against what author Rchard Louv describes as "nature deficit disorder," the atrophied awareness and development of our senses that comes from lack of experience with nature, in both it's sublime and dangerous aspects. I believe gardening is one of many ways we can cultivate such an experience and awareness. At the same time, the arch is a tool for bridging gardening culture into a time of much hotter growing conditions.

Over the Holiday Season, the Nurse Tree Blog went on a break. That break helped forge a present time of great productivity and forward motion for the Nurse Tree Arch Project. Here is what you missed:


1) I'm excited to report that Sky Island High School Principal Shari Popen and parents associated with Drachman K-6 Montessori school express interest in fundraising to build arches as a complement to their gardening and ecology programs.

2) The Prototype Raised Bed Arch funded by Scott and Edna has loaded the 2 yards of 60%/40% soil compost mix from Tanks Composting over the 3 yards of gravel that with a fan and perforated landscape pipe comprises the heating and cooling system. Scott calls the arch "my cathedral." Scott and Edna have seed catalogs and plant guides. By the end of January they will be germinating seeds for their beds. What remains is to hook the arch to electric power for the fan, install the Aluminet shade screen, and finish the rims of the bed with some Mexican tile.

3) When I returned home I opened the December 23 & 30th New Yorker to an article titled "The Civilization Kit" that features Marcin Jakubowski's project, the Global Village Construction Kit. That in turn led me to find out more about Shop Bots: computer controlled routers and milling machines that can produce (out of plywood) something as large as a New Orleans Row House, or as the builder's describe it, a Wiki-house. The Shop Bot may be helpful in developing the arch along the path from craft item (200 plus hours of labor time) to a product that could be manufactured to order much more quickly, shipped and assembled more easily. See a photo of the Shop Bot and Wiki house below. 

May 24, 2014

Prototyping Continues at Scott's Arch 

Feedback from Scott as he uses the arch results in several additions to the 3rd prototype. Vented rear windows and storage for the Solexx roof panels are a new addition.
The first Indiegogo campaign brought in $2250 in contributions but failed to reach the goal of $6000. A second campaign with a goal of $2250 is now up to harvest those original contributions. If you want to add to this amount in support of our manufacturing goal, go to: igg.me/at/NTarchesforeveryone


Earlier this week Michael installed a hugelkultur bed for a client in preparation for assembling a Patio Arch in the fall (see photo above). This is for Barbara Warren, the second pioneering arch client! This will also be the first combination of the "sponge mound" technique with the all-season arch.

Yesterday Arizona Daily Star contract writer Elena Acoba interviewed Michael for a June 29th Sunday Garden Section article about the Nurse Tree Arch project! This is a huge opportunity and further sign that piloting the manufacturing process for the arch is a timely development.


Another milestone moment occured today when Michael had his first face-to-face meeting with Gary French, the owner of CNC Routing AZ - the business that will manufacture the components for the 4th Prototype arch and a new version of the Patio Arch.


Gary has 28 years of experience with milling, originally as a cabinet maker. When the recession crashed the building industry, Gary pivoted to serve a diverse set of businesses for whom he mills parts out of aluminum, plywood and a host of other materials. His wealth of knowledge about materials is already aiding the Nurse Tree Arch project.


See photo below of Gary and Michael standing with the Onsrud Panel Pro milling machine. Gary describes it as "scary powerful." That is why there is a yellow "keep back" line around the machine!​

Michael Ray is the Inventor of the Nurse Tree Arch and Presiden t of Nurse Tree Arch Design, L3C 

5-24-14

$6000 - This Indiegogo Campaign Goal Won't Fly! 

$1525 is the Current Amount Contributed by Sixteen Supporters-What Would that Accomplish?


With a combined $700 cost for cutting and materials, $1525 could get us the CNC router-cut frame for the fourth prototype and a second frame for the new display arch. With another $475 in contributions we would cover the cost of the Solexx glazing and Aluminet screen material for the next prototype arch.

Proposal: Let's finish the last six days of this campaign with a push to get to $2000 or more in contributions. When this campaign fails to reach the $6000, we will start a second campaign at $2000 or more.This will harvest the good will and contributions you have made in this first round.

That will make it possible to move the Nurse Tree Arch Project forward toward it's goal of a marketable product by January 2015.

Michael will still need to find other ways to fund infrastructure needed to move this to a business footing: an assembly facility that is air-cooled, Insurance, advertizing, legal advice.

All you need to do is contribute before the May 30th deadline, so we can calibrate a goal for the next campaign. See link to site below:
http://igg.me/at/nursetreearch


​Thank You!
Michael Ray
President
Nurse Tree Arch Design, L3C
(520) 609-3653

9-28-14

ANOTHER MILESTONE: FIRST MILLED COMPONENTS ARRIVE

COMPONENTS FOR THE PATIO ARCH ARE THE FIRST TO BE ROUTED.
PICK-UP MADE IN CHANDLER, AZ. ON THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 25TH. ASSEMBLY AND TESTING OF COMPONENTS HAS BEGUN. Hurricanes usher in soaking rains. Ponding at Prototype #4 site makes digging footers for earthcrete walls easy. 

Work table configured for cutting Solexx for window frames.

Orange Cal Wonder Bell Pepper

Fig and hugelkultur beds beneath Palo Verde canopy

  Scott Rosenbaum helping with foundation

Allium cepa var. cepa 'I'itoi's Onion' 

Javier and Gary assemble the Display Arch at Earth Day Celebration

12-21-14

PHASE TWO OF THE INDIEGOGO FUNDED PROJECTS: THE BERMED ARCH

Michael and the 87' Nissan truck took a two hundred mile round trip journey from Tucson to Chandler, Arizona and the workshop of CNC Routing Arizona. Gary french completed routing gussets on his "moving gantry" onsrud CNC Router. Nurse tree arch design owner Michael ray used his reciprocating saw to break the plywood sheets down into smaller pieces for transport back to Tucson.

GUSSET PLAN                                                                                                                        ARCH PLANKS

ABOVE: BLACK JACK FIG LEAFING OUT                        ALOE VERA AND GHOST PLANT IN BLOOM                 GINGER AND GREYCLOUD IN THE VERBENA

April 26, 2014

Piloting the Arch Manufacturing Process - Indiegogo fundraising site is live at: http://igg.me/at/nursetreearch 

The last 6 weeks produced new design elements, learning how to design in 3-D on Sketchup Pro, producing dwg files for CNC Routing AZ of the 13 components and 214 pieces to be routed, and displaying the arch at Earth Day, all while learning how to knit together a campaign on Indiegogo, monitored by Hootsuite, presented on Mailchimp and included in far too many social network platforms.


Did I mention planting three fruit trees, building hugelkultur beds, planting more seeds, tending the garden and working on a consulting contract with Partnering Resources in Boston. Yes, I am busy. That is why I call it Protirement.  Here are some photos showing developments.

7-10-14

The Second Season Begins

Tropical rain fills the cistern; A new round of seed propagation and planting; Design of the Manufactured Arch is rounding the corner; Scott's arch video shows it defending against hail.


First - Take a look at Scott's Arch in a hail storm! Watch the hail bounce off of the Solexx. The waterfall behind the arch is channeled below the structure in a culvert. It exits down the driveway to the base of the hill. 

Detail: overhead view of windows opened to vent arch.

March 20, 2014 

The Vernal Equinox - Here and Then...​

The garden at our home and work site in Tucson is the feature today.  I'll let the photo's tell the story of this fine Spring day...

10-19-14

Putting it all together


How many arches have I built? The first was constructed as a shade structure in March of 2012. This basic 2 x 4 and gusset structure underwent a Kickstarter-funded transformation of into an all season "green to screenhouse" completed in January 2013. The second arch is a smaller display version dubbed "the Patio Arch" which made its debut at the Earth Day celebration in April, 2013. Scott Rosenbaum funded construction of the third- a raised bed arch. The current manufactured (rather than craft built) patio arch is the fourth, and it will be followed soon after by a full-sized manufactured arch which will be #5.  This fourth arch is producing data on manufacturing costs (close to $1500) and finishing costs (probably another $1000-$2500 depending on the design). A sixth and seventh arch are to follow for two "early adopters." Drachman Montessori school is in the process of procuring grants to build arch #8 for its ecology program.

The photos below illustrate the current finishing process on Arch #4. This week it will all come together in time for assembly at the Envision Tucson Sustainable Festival. See the announcement above for time and place. 

6-21-14

THE HARVEST - CELEBRATING THE SUMMER SOLSTICE

TODAY THE INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN SURPASSED ITS GOAL. WE HAVE MUCH TO BE THANKFUL FOR. IN SPITE OF THE HEAT, TOMATOES BECKON FROM THE VINE, AND ALUMINET CURTAINS WERE PUT UP IN THE DOORWAY TO HELP REFLECT HEAT AWAY FROM THE ARCH. THANKS TO THE 19 SUPPORTERS WHO CONTRIBUTED THROUGH THE INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN, AND FOUR MORE WHO WROTE CHECKS OR OFFERED CASH. 


IT IS A FACT THAT WITH A COMBINED $5000 FROM CROWDSOURCED CAMPAIGNS THIS YEAR AND LAST, MUCH HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED. BY THE END OF AUGUST OUR NEW MANUFACTURING PROCESS WILL GENERATE BOTH A 4TH BERMED-SIDEWALL PROTOTYPE AND A 5TH PATIO DISPLAY ARCH, ENABLING US TO BEGIN OFFERING CAMPAIGN SUPPORTERS MANUFACTURED ARCHES LATER THIS YEAR. BY JANUARY OF 2015 WE EXPECT TO HAVE FIVE ARCHES OPERATED BY OUR EARLY ADOPTING CUSTOMERS IN PLACE - READY FOR THE SPRING TO SPROUT.

January 18, 2014

THE DROUGHT EMERGENCY​

When you turn your gardening into a source of food for your family, you start to pay attention to the weather in a way that is rooted in hunger and lost effort if your garden fails to produce. Rain and sun and heat matter. The news is not good. 


  • This past Friday California Governor Jerry Brown announced a drought emergency, calling for a 20% reduction in water use.
  • I am a member of a task force on Building Resilient Neighborhoods, an action group that spun out of the Climate Smart Southwest conference held this past September. We want to get trees planted to help stem the heat island effect and protect citizens from heat related deaths. One of our members spoke of her belief that we have only five years to get trees established under the present system of available water. She believes that after that we may be on such a rationing regime that only our grey water will be available. While  I hope this is not the case, I respect her concern.
  • This morning I was interviewed for an article in the local slow food magazine edible Baja Arizona. I was asked by writer Molly Kincaid how much less water I was using on plants in the arch. I was sorry to say that I didn't really know. My experience tells me that it is half as much as I use on a comparable bed outside in the full sun. I've got a lot more work to do bringing my total water use down. The arch is just one part of a larger water use picture in my household.


I'm designing the Nurse Tree Arch for this future of continued drought and heat, for I believe it is coming whether we like it or not. In fact, it is the future we already experience today. Controlling the temperature of a garden bed means also controlling the water those beds retain. My work with hugelkulture beds is in this same vein - finding ways to help the soil stay moist when it is bone dry and the wind is blowing under a hot sun. Gary Nabhan speaks of this challenge in his book Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land:

"In essence, to become better food producers in the face of climate change, we must learn how to become better "water and food system plumbers," redesigning our water delivery strategies to best meet the needs of our food plants."

Arch Updates

1. January 13, 14 and 15 I participated in another of Gary Nabhans groundbreaking projects, the Arizona Food and Farm Finance Forum.

  • This forum attracted a large group of small farmers, social services such as food banks, entrepreneurs in the food industry and investors.
  • I highly recommend that you see the film "Tasting History" which was screened on Monday night. It features the story of Jesus Garcia's journey from Mexican farming to teaching us about heritage trees in the U.S. Gary outlined the challenges of poverty and unemployment, and the cost of public health created by the lack of decent nutrition that impacts children and adults in Arizona.
  • The speakers were Woody Tasch of Slow Money, and Michael Dimrock of Roots of Change. Both encouraged us to develop our own sources of financing for the food revolution we are working toward. Publisher Doug Biggers introduced Mayor Jonothan Rothschild who announced an initiative to make Tucson a UNESCO creative city of gastronomy. On Tuesday Elizabeth U, author of Raising Dough helped us see that there is more money for socially responsible business than ever before, money that can solve the access to capital problems so common for startups. Local First Arizona founder Kimber Lanning shared her passion for helping consumers to redirect money away from out of state businesses (Amazon, we are talking about you!) and into local businesses first. Lisa Pino,CEO of United Food Bank and former deputy undersecretary of the USDA covered what is available from Government sources.
  • A bunch of businesses got a chance to pitch their products and services. I received many requests for information about the Nurse Tree arch project, and came away with excitement about the support I can see is out there.


2. I'm moving the project to a business footing:

  • Secured the services of Valerie Levine, CPA of Sabino Canyon Accounting LLC, who helped me get Quick Books set up.
  • Scott Rosenbaum is helping me with a spreadsheet that can help me speak to investors about assets and expenses.
  • Getting close to registering Nurse Tree Arch as a trade name, forming an L3C (a kind of limited liability corporation), getting the federal EIN and establishing a bank account.
  • Most importantly, I am working on a new manufacturing process for the arch frames and solexx panels that I expect will bring the cost down while improving quality and effectiveness.


3. Scott's Nurse Tree Arch is nearly complete

  • Finished sealing bottom and sides against the homemaking attempts of rodents
  • Installed Talavera tile
  • Sealed plenums and installed fan and exhaust housings.
  • Installed electric box and plug for extension line.


4. Visitors


  • Kriston Bury representing Drachman Montessori school, daughter Marissa (tree house fan) and mom Jean from Minneapolis. See photo below.
  • Molly Kincaid, writer for edible Baja Arizona.
  • Valerie Levine, CPA with Sabino Canyon Accounting

Painted window frames, gussets and planks drying. 

Purlins in  place

 'Black Jack' Fig

As we complete what will be the warmest year on record in Arizona, plants inside the arch and outside in the food forest show what can be done to produce food year round. Blessed be all the wonderful support people who make this citizen science and small business development possible!

8-2-14

THE SLOW PACE OF SUMMER PROGRESS


In order to produce arch components with a computer numerically controlled (CNC) router, clean and concisely described components must be drawn and rendered in a file the computer can read. I am using Google SketchUp Pro to produce both two dimensional drawings and a three dimensional model to test the fit of components. The drawing below demonstrates the progress made in this regard. This is the rendering of the components for the 4th prototype, and I hope to have components milled by the end of August. I'm reducing my competing commitments to make this happen, but eldercare and back problems stand in the wings to challenge my focus. I've helped my mom make progress, and with some physical therapy I will get a sore bursa and wobbly back in line as well.

The "second season" of grow out began in late June when seeds for lettuce, kale, Yard long beans, and yellow-meated watermelon were planted.

The peat pots enjoy the humidity in the arch, and watermelons were up and secondary leaves appearing within a week. The lettuce need more time in their grow pots before transplanting outside.

6-13-14

Fruit of Effort Near Enough to Taste!

June 21st Marks the End of the Campaign - Then Building the Business Gets Started!

On Sunday June 29th, the Arizona Daily Star will run a feature story in the Garden Section on the Nurse Tree Arch Project. People will contact Michael and want to know about cost, where to see the arch, and when will it be delivered?

5/25/14

What a Difference 24 Hours Makes! Five Days Left. 

$560 Committed for a Total of $2060: Supporters include Lorrie and Tom Tolbert family in S.F. and Tres English in Tucson!


A New Campaign to Harvest Commitments Will Appear Soon if this One Doesn't Get to Goal.


Contribute at: http://igg.me/at/nursetreearch

Here is another image of the venting windows from inside Scott Rosenbaum's Arch - the 3rd Prototype:

Gary French of CNCRoutingAZ pulls gussets out of the milled plywood.  

This winter solstice represents not only the return of the sun's light, but the beginning of the end of the prototype process. The Bermed Arch will demonstrate the capacity of earthen sidewalls to help keep bed temperatures in control on raised beds, without subterranean heating and cooling using warm moist air piped into a gravel heat sink.

This view (see below) does not show the south facing solexx wall and double doors so that the ferrocement raised beds are visible.

Note the adjacent 1320 gallon rainwater harvesting tank. The Nurse Tree Arch is designed to make gardening with rainwater a practical reality.

ARCH UPDATES

1. Preparation of the articles of incorporation for the L3C business entity are complete and ready for review by consultant Sy Rotter. Arizona does not have the legislation for the low-profit limited liability company. I will incorporate in Vermont and then apply in Arizona as a foreign company. I'm taking the time to do it this way because the values of the Nurse Tree Project align with many non-profits in regards to helping people to learn how to feed themselves. We expect many of our partners to be non-profits and want to make it clear that our values align, thus the emphasis on low-profit when we seek investment funding.

2. While the business entity is forming, we have purchased Quickbooks and begun a relationship with Sabino Canyon Accounting LLC and Valarie Levine, CPA, EA. Thanks to Valarie, the Quickbooks are loaded and ready to use.  Scott Rosenbaum is also helping with a spreadsheet that can help calculate business metrics.

3. Research into fabricators with computer numerically controlled routers is leading toward several businesses up the road in Chandler, AZ. Next step is to prepare a sample arch frame design in Google Sketchup, and seek help in producing a prototype arch with the new computer-assisted fabrication process. As soon as I select a fabricator for the prototype build, I will set up a crowdfunding site (possibly Indiegogo this time around), and seek support for construction of a fourth prototype using berm sidewalls and the new framing process. I hope this can be accomplished in March. Stay tuned!

4. Meanwhile, Spring is nearly sprung in the Southwest Deserts. The land is parched, and there is always the danger of a late frost. This calls for more water system plumbing projects. I've got five new hugelculture beds to add to the two I used last summer to raise squash under the canopy of the Palo Verdes, Acacia and Mesquite. A Black Jack Fig is planted, and will be joined by a Spanish-era Pomegranite and a Mexican Lime in early March. With the existing Lemon, Olive, Chiltepin pepper and Mesquite, our backyard food forest is taking form! My existing keyhole bed got refurbished with the installation of a perforated landscapers pipe underneath a hugelculture-style bed leading to the future location of the Pomegranite tree - a white 5-gallon pail. See pictures below.

6/05/14

INDIEGOGO HARVEST CAMPAIGN #2 UP UNTIL JUNE 21ST; FIRST VISIT WITH GARY FRENCH AT CNCROUTINGAZ!​

FEBRUARY 6, 2014

1ST ANNIVERSARY OF THE COMPLETION OF THE NURSE TREE ARCH​

The first seeds were planted January 25th, 2013 inside the Kickstarter funded  prototype arch. We celebrated that anniversary by planting our 2014 crop on the same date this January. The first seeds to germinate are lettuces (see below). We also rehung our doors on the original prototype arch and applied a coat of sealer to the arch frame. It is a delight to harvest tomato fruit in February! Meanwhile, the Aluminet for Scott's arch arrived, and is hanging over his raised bed. He and Edna are preparing to plant and very excited about it! 

Scott's raised bed arch is now a working garden!  

Painted components on work table

Scott's Arch Gets an Innovative MakeOver

Aluminet wrapped around the arch frame made it tough to access the raised bed from the outside with the Solexx panels removed. The solution: create a frame that nests inside the arch spans, and then raises the Aluminet into a shade extension that reminds us of an window awning.

Test assembly of front and rear walls with doors.

The Monsoon rains arrived July 3rd with a contribution of 1/2 inch of rain on our workshop watershed - about 300 gallons in the Cistern. July 5th another 1.27 inch of rain fell. The 1320 gallon Bushman cistern is now holding about 1000 gallons with room for another 1/2 inch of rain. The arch is now watered primarily by the water in the cistern. Rain is directed to the beds by the Solexx panels inserted in structure's side like wings: what I call the raincatcher mode. It was this configuration that weathered 60 mile per hour winds during the July 5th storm. The drought weakened eucalyptus lost more limbs in this storm. 

March 7, 2014

The Nurse Tree Arch is profiled in the March/April edition of edible Baja Arizona!​

Michael is dubbed "The Plant Whisperer." See article on page 14.
Some plants are overheard suggesting that the title is undeserved. Sugar Snow Peas in particular complain that they are being planted out of season. To quote:  "What gives with these 80 degree days and 50 degree nights - we can barely stand the heat!" 


In his own defense Michael claimed that seasonal variations in temperature were out of his direct control. He lamented that the Snow Pea's are upset at not seeing any snow, as was the case last year.


Frequently Asked Question #1: When will the arch be available for sale? (see text below for context and answer).
Nurse Tree Arch Design, L3C Incorporates in Vermont and Arizona.
- Now comes the challenging part: testing the manufacturing and sales process that can take this extreme climate solution to markets.


Readers of this blog know why I think the Nurse Tree Arch is important. If gardening is to survive as a vocation on the new planet we are crafting, it will need to control evaporation and transpiration. Keep the writhing mass of organisms we describe as soil at a temperature below 85 degrees in the summer and above 60 degrees in the winter. Happy soil organisms equals productive plants.  The structural solutions offered by the Nurse Tree Arch help make this happen.

I chose to organize as a low-profit, limited liability business. This type of business entity attracts investors who share the values of the enterprise.

“The low-profit, limited liability company, or L3C, is a hybrid of a nonprofit and for-profit organization. More specifically, it is a new type of limited liability company (LLC) designed to attract private investments and philanthropic capital in ventures designed to provide a social benefit.”   -Non Profit Law Blog

By reducing the focus on profit taking, the L3C form of organization is explicit with investors that the path forward involves maximizing investment in the service of its social progress goals, rather than making investor wealth building the center of the universe. At the same time, investors can help assure that the investments are smart and productive. Arizona lacks the legislation needed to get that form of organization. That is why the Nurse Tree Arch Design is organized through the State of Vermont.

As an innovator amidst a groundswell of interest in sustainable food supplies, Nurse Tree Arch Design is destined to face many moments of truth. My job as the inventor and business owner is to move through the business making process with integrity as I organize a way from early adoption to mass acceptance of sustainable gardening methods, structures and tools.  I hope the L3C will attract investment from foundations and individual supporters.


The answer to FAQ #1: The plan is to have all systems (business plan, production, quality control, market plan, sales and assessment) working together to serve customers by early in 2015. It is helpful to know that we have willing customers - contact Michael Ray at mray@dakotacom.net .


Are you interested in supporting this Nurse Tree Arch enterprise? In the month ahead you will have at least three ways to help this business grow.


  1. Once it is announced (end of March hopefully) go to the Nurse Tree Arch crowdfunding site (To Be Announced here soon) and make a contribution to the construction of the 4th prototype.
  2. Contact Michael about becoming a sustaining investor. Investment can help build a workplace, improve the production process, and expand sales reach.
  3. Contact Michael about help needed to staff the April 19th Earth Day booth, or offer other skills and contacts that can help move the project to its full potential. 


Photo's below: components of the CNC routing methodology being explored to manufacture the arch.

Michael with window frame

Three arch spans in place-purlins locked by wedge and peg.

The image files for the manufacturing process involve detailed design and drawing work. Modeling in 3-D helps find problems before committing to the cost of milling and assembling.
In the garden, picking our varieties to plant, refreshing the hugelkultur and arch beds with Tank's compost.
Behind the scenes I am hammering out the SketchUp 3-D drawings needed to obtain bids for the manufacturing process. Because it is essential to have this cost data for fundraising, the crowdfunding campaign kickoff is delayed, probably until the end of March.

Arch sections loaded for transport to Earth Day Festival 

2-13-15

The Bermed Arch Rises from the Earth

Poured earthcrete foundation is complete. Design of the internal raised bed walls is determined. Walls will begin rising in the week ahead.


The sandy soil is excavated a foot deep. Relatively small amounts of Portland cement (an energy intensive material) are mixed with water to make a 12 inch deep foundation and a 24 inch high solid wall, thick enough to be stable and functional as a storage mass for the heat of the day. This will create a vessel into which we put a hugelkultur heart - carbon for the microbes and fungi to feed upon, deep below the top soil mixed with compost and the remaining soil.  The Nurse Tree Arch spans overhead, providing further protective summer shade and winter cover.

Is it a scalable model, ready for large scale farming? Absolutely not. Yet it is a conceptual departure from normal practice, and a spur to think through what it will take to continue kitchen table gardening on a hotter planet and in a desert environment.  From this prototype and others will come understandings about how to care for the underground life that is missing in our current cultural fixation on above ground leafs, stems and flowers. From this shift in perspective may come the capacity to keep trees alive, to keep soil alive and growing our favorite vegetables, and thus to supplement our food and keep the atmosphere from becoming a completely toxic mix of carbon dioxide and methane.  I suppose this is the closest I can get to the Nurse Tree Manifesto: Keep microbes happy, and continue to grow what you eat.

Prefabricated spans loaded into the 87 Nissan Pick-up 

First arch span in place.

Test assembly of prefabricated spans and purlins.  

Prefabricated Solexx window frames in place.

6-28-14

The Creative Process Continues at Scott's Arch

This morning Acacia and I visited Scott's Arch to see the new deck. Check it out in the photos below! Scott and Edna are delighted with the transformation, not only of their outdoor space, but in their daily routines. Now they can garden!

New work table under construction.

ABOVE: HUGELKULTUR BED WITH SQUASH, LETTUCE AND BULBS                                   MEXICAN LIME RECENTLY PLANTED

Painted Gussets foreground, with painted plank at rear

LAST BUT NOT LEAST...

...THE ARCH CONTINUES TO PRODUCE PUNTA BANDA, NICHOLS HEIRLOOM AND FLAMENCO TOMATOES, ALONG WITH A FEW HATCH CHILI'S! IN JANUARY!!!

12-8-14

Assembling the New Patio Arch

Solexx installed inside wall frames.

(Below)  Routed components on wall of work space

Drachman Montessori school organizer Kristen Bury oriented Michael to the site where one or two arches may be assembled--stay tuned!

3-3-15

The Bermed Arch - A Shelter to Keep Soil Alive

I don't mind digging, but to the outside eye it must seem odd that I would build a raised bed surrounded by such massive walls. You might ask "why?" And I would say "Consider what it will take to keep a raised  bed of soil organisms alive through a summer with humidity in the single digits, and temperatures in the triple digits, without resorting to coal-powered electric plants for cooling, and copious amounts of water for replacing what is evaporating." 


The sandy soil is excavated a foot deep. Relatively small amounts of Portland cement (an energy intensive material) are mixed with water to make a 12 inch deep foundation and a 24 inch high solid wall, thick enough to be stable and functional as a storage mass for the heat of the day. This will create a vessel into which we put a hugelkultur heart - carbon for the microbes and fungi to feed upon, deep below the top soil mixed with compost and the remaining soil.  The Nurse Tree Arch spans overhead, providing further protective summer shade and winter cover.

Is it a scalable model, ready for large scale farming? Absolutely not. Yet it is a conceptual departure from normal practice, and a spur to think through what it will take to continue kitchen table gardening on a hotter planet and in a desert environment.  From this prototype and others will come understandings about how to care for the underground life that is missing in our current cultural fixation on above ground leafs, stems and flowers. From this shift in perspective may come the capacity to keep trees alive, to keep soil alive and growing our favorite vegetables, and thus to supplement our food and keep the atmosphere from becoming a completely toxic mix of carbon dioxide and methane.  I suppose this is the closest I can get to the Nurse Tree Manifesto: Keep microbes happy, and continue to grow what you eat.

A Project of Nurse Tree Arch Design, L3C LLC - funded through Kickstarter and Indiegogo - Contact: Michael Ray - mray@dakotacom.net  - (520) 609-3653

UPDATED 4-25-16


Welcome to the newly redesigned Nurse Tree Arch Project Blog site! 

This site documents the business development process for the Nurse Tree Arch. In it you will find a record of every milestone achieved since the original shade structure was built over four days in March, 2012.


The Project is currently testing the newly assembled Entry Arch installed as a annex to the original first Nurse Tree Arch prototype. A full size version of the mortise and tenon design (Dale's arch) was recently completed. It features a hugelkultur deep bed with cement board side walls buried three feet deep.


You can also find out more about this innovative garden product at our Nurse Tree Design page, and our

Nurse Tree Arch Facebook page. 

The router cuts all but the final thin layer of veneer, ensuring that the vacuum system will keep the plywood secured to the table during routing. Back at the workshop in Tucson, the unfinished components show the burr's left on the components after being broken out of the plywood sheet.

Doors, rear vent,  deck, bench and shelves installed.

Cutting 18 degree champfer on window frame

ABOVE: NURSE TREE ARCH & KEYHOLE GARDEN        CUTTINGS FROM HERITAGE FRUIT TREES, A PAPAYA, AND KALE INSIDE THE ARCH

Component storage on wall

You can help Michael prepare for this golden opportunity.

1) If you haven't already - contribute financially to the project. The $2250 goal of this second Indiegogo campaign only covers the cost of cutting and purchasing components for two arches. There is no margin for covering other costs. There is no better time to contribute.

Go to: igg.me/at/NTarchesforeveryone

2) Let Michael know if you would like to become part of a team to make this opportunity one that will build confidence in the capacity of Nurse Tree Arch to deliver. Initially this will be a voluntary effort. Help will be needed to set up bookkeeping, help with marketing and sales, assemble and test the new materials. This Summer will be spent sorting out the true costs of the business model. If this interests you let Michael know.

Contact Michael Ray at: mray@dakotacom.net