Alexandra Malecki

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since Oct 26, 2020
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Since moving to Colorado Springs in 2016, I've learned how to garden and I keep finding myself with a higher stack of books about permaculture, natural building, greenhouse design, etc. I have two young children and am a Mechanical Engineer. I got my first PDC from CRMPI in 2021 and my second PDC from Pikes Peak Permaculture Society in 2022 (in progress). I lived in an urban cohousing community for 5 yrs and learned a lot about cmty and how crucial aligning values is for intentional cmtys. I got the opportunity to visit Wheaton Labs in January 2022 for the Garden Masters course and I'm so hooked on permaculture that I can't see straight. I now have a .35acre suburban lot but I think I'll spend my limited resources investing in a public property to try to penetrate more minds with permaculture. I dream of having property, living off-grid, and meeting like-minded people.
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6a; BSk; Colorado Springs, CO; Suburbia; 0.35 acres
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Recent posts by Alexandra Malecki

Over the weekend, I made my family moccasins out of elk hide. I used scissors, a leather awl, a leather needle, paper for a template, white buckskin trim, and gold elk hide. No glues. My kids have been wanting me to make them each a pair since I made some for myself. It took about the same amount of time for me to make 3 pairs compared to the first time I made 1 pair for myself!

Minimum requirements:
 - make a pair of soft-soled shoes or slippers
 - will be sewn, no commercial glue

To document completion of the BB, provide proof of the following as pics or video (< 2min):
Attachment 1 - Your materials and tools.
Attachment 2 - Stitching the shoes.
Attachment 3  - Wearing the finished shoes to demonstrate fit.
3 days ago
Here is my submission for the Food - Sand - Grain BB.

I cooked 4 dry cups of long brown rice.

To complete this BB, the minimum requirements are:
 - you must produce at least two cups of grain
 - you must use a rice cooker, crock pot or Instant Pot (other brands of pressure cookers are fine)

To show you've completed this Badge Bit, you must provide:
Attachment 1   - a picture of the uncooked grain in your cooker
Attachment 2   - a picture of your cooked grain in your cooker (clearly at least 2 cups of cooked grain - if it isn't clear, make it clear with an extra picture)

- All food prep and preservation BBs strictly prohibit plastic, teflon or aluminum touching the food at any point
Here is my submission for the Community - Sand - Present BB.

I presented the Permaculture Design Principle: Produce No Waste to an environmental club consisting of 2nd-5th graders. "Oh, there's no such thing as waste, only things in the wrong place" --from formidable vegetable. The focus was primarily on the non-recycling actions: refuse, reuse, repair, and rot. I nearly didn't get a photo at the end because we only had an hour and the kids wrapped dandelion flower cookies in homemade beeswax wraps to take home so I needed to be part of the assembly line getting them out the door for their parents to pick them up.  I hope that the beeswax wraps prevent hundreds of ziplocks from going to the landfill and that the kids think of clever ways of minimizing their waste. I was thrilled by how participatory the kids were!

To document this Badge Bit, provide proof of the following as pictures or a video (<2 mins):
Attachment 1 - the presentation (with countable attendees) as it is beginning (including a clock or phone with the time)
Attachment 2 - the presentation (with countable attendees) as it is ending (including a clock or phone with the time)
Attachment 3 - you giving the presentation with at least one identifiable attendee

Note: Obviously, I altered the photos to hide (and count) the heads of these children. I added a duplicate attachment 2 photo for the ending of the presentation photo to include a zoom in for the two students at the very back of the room.

This is my second attempt at documenting myself doing a presentation. It has been really hard getting photos taken while I'm working
1 week ago
To complete this BB, the minimum requirements are:
 - should serve at least 2 people (leftovers!)
 - ingredients are not be pre-processed (no can-of-whatever soup or preshredded cheese, for example)
 - no microwave

To show you've completed this Badge Bit, you must:
Attachment 1 plus below recipe  - post a rough recipe of what you put in your soup/stew/chowder/pottage
Attachment 2  - post a picture of you preparing some of the ingredients (chopping herbs or carrots, for example)
Attachment 3  - post a picture of your ingredients in their cooking vessel
Attachment 4  - post a picture of your finished soup!

- All food prep and preservation BBs strictly prohibit plastic, teflon or aluminum touching the food at any point

1.5lbs wine cap mushrooms from my garden
3 carrots
5 celery stalks
1 russet potato
1 onion
1 broccoli head
1cup wild rice
2cups lentils
2cups homemade vegetable-mushroom broth
1tsp salt
1tsp pepper
0.5tsp funegreek
1tbsp garam masala
0.5tsp ground mustard
1tbsp curry

I used a le creuset enameled cast iron pot, potato peeler, and a juniper ladle that my husband carved for me.
I recently read Toxic Conveniences by Darin Olien and felt compelled to remove all of the toxic gick from my house. I combed through the house 5 times. A lot of the stuff in these boxes I've had for over a decade and haven't used (and continued to move it from house to house... because I might need it?) and the majority of items I was shocked to find that they're made of terrible stuff because I thought we did pretty good. I also found that I had a hard time parting with some of these conveniences. If in doubt, I referred to the EWG product search website:, and removed anything that didn't have a 1 or 2 rating.

Toxic ingredients that I removed include fragrances, parabens, PFAS, petroleum (including any petroleum by-product), phthalates, tricolosan/triclocarbon (antimicrobials), and food coloring.

Other items that do more harm than good include sunscreen (unless it uses zinc oxide only), deodorant (I stopped using this years ago and don't need it), mouthwash (I never would have guessed this).

The hardest products to part with were menstrual products. It didn't make it into the box until the fourth and fifth walkthroughs partly because I needed to purchase alternative products but partly because I rely so heavily on this convenience. By the 5th walkthrough I couldn't stomach the possibility of using them knowing that they're made with PFAS and creates waste in the environment.

After speaking to a number of different local permaculture friends, the consensus was to donate all of these boxes to a local nonprofit organization that offers housing and rehabilitative services to women and their children who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. However, I didn't feel good about that. On one side, perhaps I would be displacing the purchase of new products that are equally as bad but I also can't give (in good conscious) toxic gick to women and children who are already at risk as it is. Can anything good come out of this effort?

I contacted a local recycler to see if there was a solution there but they would only work with empty containers.

So, I decided to keep all of the products and use them to educate my friends and family. I plan to use these products as teaching aids for future permaculture classes and any visitors to my house.

The biggest conflicts that came out of this effort was in removing aluminum foil, toothpastes, and floss. The aluminum foil will require adaptation to new bbq-ing methods while the toothpaste and floss conflicts were resolved with humble-brand tooth tabs that are made out of biodegradable packing and floss made without PFAS or plastic.

This was a lot of effort and I wish I had done this years ago.
1 week ago
Here is my submission for the Greywillow - Sand - Dishpan BB.

To complete this BB, the minimum requirements are:  
- use water from a dishpan  
- to flush a toilet, or to water something outside  
- at least three gallons  
- verify high quality biodegradable dish soap (the soap usually says "greywater safe" or "readily biodegradable")

To show you've completed this Badge Bit, you must:
Attachment 1 - a picture of the dishpan with water
Attachment 2 - a picture of the at least 3 gallons of water being used to flush a toilet or water something
Attachment 3 - a picture and link to the verifiable biodegradeable dish soap  
- OR a 2-minute video of you doing the above and a link to the verifiable biodegradeable dish soap

I frequently emptied the dishpan water into a 5 gallon bucket outside to minimize the risk of me making a water mess on the floor. I use Azure standard citrus fragrance dish soap because it’s “readily biodegradable” per their product website: I used the dishpan water to water the gamble oak trees.
Here is my submission for the Earthworks - Sand - Seal a Tiny Pond BB.

Make a hole in the ground that is 2 feet in diameter and at least a foot deep.
  - Pour in 5 gallons of water and prove that the water is gone in less than 60 minutes
  - Compact the soil (probably with different kinds of digging bars, or a piece of rebar stabbed into the hole a hundred times)
  - Repeat the 5 gallon test with water remaining for at least an hour

To document the completion of the BB, I have provided the following:
Attachment 1- show the new hole
Attachment 2 - show how long it took to drain 5 gallons
Attachment 3 - show the compaction process
Attachment 4 - show the new 5 gallons going in
Attachment 5 - show a toothpick marking the water line once the water is in
Attachment 6 - show another toothpick marking the waterline five minutes later *** This requirement seems to have been added at some point so I'm not sure if it's actually required
Attachment 7 - show that the water level has not dropped more than a half-inch in an hour

The hole is at least 2 ft wide and is deeper than 1 ft. I used rebar, a tamper, my feet, and wild clay that I sourced from my property to seal the pond.

I look forward to seeing all the ways that this pond will create edge in my landscape and plan to make a larger pond.
3 weeks ago
Here is my submission for the Roundwood - Sand - Spoon BB.

Minimum requirements:    
- useful size and shape    
- smooth    
- something you might actually use    
- made with hand tools only

To get certified for this BB, post three pics.  
Attachment 1  - Your chunk of wood that you are starting with  
Attachment 2  - Progress about half way through, with the hand tools you have decided to use for this
Attachment 3  - Final product

I was very excited to use juniper for the pink coloration. I thought that this would be a lot easier than it was and I learned a lot. I've never carved a spoon before. There was a knot in the wood that was hard to work with so I tried to use an ember to burn the the bowl of the spoon but, in doing so, incurred some burn damage in the handle even though I thought I protected the spoon with wet clay. I used a mallet, an axe, a knife, a spoon carving knife, 3 grits of sandpaper, a pencil, and flax oil.

I spent at least 5 hrs on this spanning 3 different days because it was so demanding on my hands. I'm very happy with how the spoon came out and I'm looking forward to making a much better second spoon!
Yesterday I posted my list of 20 BBs and I wonder if it's critical to hit the button: "submit for badge request". I'm not sure where I went wrong but I'm unable to select that button, please see attached photo.
3 weeks ago
I was looking at the BB and noticed that I could get Sepp Holzer grain if I get to BB20! Wow! I'm so excited! I passed BB20 some time ago and didn't apply, boast, and certify. I'd like to boast so that I can plant some Sepp Holzer grain!

1-nest - straw badge Setup a Cloth Napkin System
2-nest - straw badge Clean Interior of Fridge
3-nest - sand badge Sweep a Floor
4-nest - sand badge Oil Wooden Kitchen Utensils
5-nest - sand badge Wash Dishes by Hand
6-Food Prep and Preservation - straw badge Restart a Cast Iron Skillet
7-Food Prep and Preservation - sand badge Water bath canning
8-greywater and willow feeders - sand badge Give Urine to Growies
9-greywater and willow feeders - sand badge Reuse Water From a Shower
10-foraging - sand badge Prepare a dish
11-foraging - sand badge Cup of tea
12-foraging - sand badge Fresh harvest list
13-foraging - sand badge Dry harvest list
14-gardening - sand badge Ruth Stout style composting (2 spots)
15-rocket - sand badge Add Ash to a Garden Area
16-rocket - sand badge Start Rocket Hot Water and Get to 140
17-rocket - sand badge Start and Operate Batch Box RMH
18-rocket - sand badge Build and Cook with a Dakota Stove
19-community living - sand badge prepare & clean up a basic meal for 8 people
20-electricity - sand badge Install/Repair an AC Outlet

3 weeks ago