When I heard about The Circle Corner — a suburban homestead project in Kansas City — my first thought was of its origin. What inspired Stan Slaughter and Linda Chubbuck to spend 5 years renovating a suburban home into a model of sustainability? The truth is there was no moment of revelation.
“It’s not something you decide,” says Stan. “This is the way we live.”
Stan Slaughter has a lifetime of notable eco-stewardship behind him. Not only does he write about environmental sustainability; he sings about it too, thus his distinction as America’s “Eco-Troubadour.” Linda Chubbuck share’s Stan’s green-geared goals, as well as a passion for music, making them the perfect pair. They share a home in Kansas City where they host tours for anyone interested in seeing just how green a suburban “homestead” can get.
Located on a half-acre corner lot, the eco-friendly features of Stan and Linda’s 1,400-square-foot home look like this:
IN THE YARD
In the front and in the back, all yard care at The Circle Corner is as sustainable as gardening and landscaping can get:
- Lawn care that relies on rainwater, mulch and compost instead of a costly irrigation system, fertilizer or pesticides
- Raised garden beds for eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, rhubarb and more
- Large fruit trees, including plum, apricot, apple and pear
- Big shade trees on the southwest side of the house for optimal cooling effect
- Natural, decorative grasses that require no mowing
- A pergola that helps shade the deck in the summertime
- A hoop house where kale and tomatoes thrive
- An herb garden
They can, dry and freeze much of their produce, all grown organically of course. They give a lot of it away to their neighbors, but Stan says they eat most of their fresh fruits and veggies all by themselves. For as vivid a picture as any online experience can paint, check out the lovely photos of their organic produce on the The Circle Corner Facebook page.
SPECIAL NOTE ON COMPOSTING
For obvious reasons, The Circle Corner’s composting system deserves special attention from CompostMania. Using wooden freight pallets, they’ve created three 3′ by 3′ open chambers for compost piles in various stages of development — from a hot “working” pile in one to a finished maturing pile in another.
Stan and Linda also have a BioPod, the grub composting system invented by CompostMania co-founder Robert Olivier. Though you can purchase a bunch of starter grubs to get the BioPod going, you can also wait for it to populate naturally, which is what they did at The Circle Corner. “It took about three weeks to have a good bunch of grubs in there,” says Stan of the BioPod.
Through all of these composting efforts, Stan estimates they produce about 2 cubic yards of compost each year.
IN THE HOUSE
In what has become a near-perfect environment of energy-efficiency, Stan and Linda:
- Increased the size of the duct work for more effective heating and cooling throughout their split-level house
- Installed an additional foot of cellulose insulation made from recycled newspaper
- Replaced slider windows with casements as they seal 10 times tighter
- Caulked and weather-stripped everything
As a result of all these improvements, the house is 70 percent tighter than when they started, which of course helps keep it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
To learn more, “like” The Circle Corner Facebook page where you can inquire about their tours and see more pics of their healthy organic produce.