sustainability

In 1950, Hud and Ellen Weeks purchased land from Hud’s parents to build a home for their growing family. An otherwise unremarkable story might have ended there but for two things: Hud was the son of Des Moines makeup magnate Carl Weeks, and the parcel they purchased was carved from the Salisbury House grounds, Hud and Ellen Weeks Home - Double Lustron KitchenHud and Ellen Weeks Home - Double Lustron Kitchennow a national landmark and museum. On this historic site, Hud and Ellen commissioned a unique modern dwelling comprised of two “Lustron” ready-to-assemble steel home kits built around a central atrium. Only about 2,000 Lustrons remain in the world today. The double Lustron home was significant architecturally due to its distinctive design and historically because of its association with an influential Des Moines family.

On a chilly February morning in 2013, Salisbury House staff arrived to find massive machines tearing into the enameled steel-cladding of Hud and Ellen Weeks’ former home. A developer had purchased the lot and proceeded with demolition. Historians had no chance to document or reclaim any portion of the structure for study or reuse. This story is playing out today with the demolition of three century-old buildings for expansion of the EMC Insurance Companies in downtown Des Moines.

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Chicken: Photo by Erica Zahn via Wikimedia CommonsChicken: Photo by Erica Zahn via Wikimedia CommonsI would love to raise chickens. In theory. The reality is, of course, that I don't have enough time to raise chickens. I don't even change the kitty litter often enough.

Yet, the idea of going out to the coop on a Saturday morning to gather eggs for breakfast is very appealing. I also like the idea of utilizing the "natural fertilizer" they create to power the garden I have planned. Oh, and chickens are fun.

When my fifth grade class hatched chickens, I took home two of the hatchlings "Abbott" and "Costello", and kept them for eight weeks. The agreement was that I could keep them until they got too big for their cardboard box in the garage. At that point, they would be relocated to my dad's co-worker's farm, where they would live happy and productive lives. Unless they were actually an Abbott and a Costello instead of an Agatha and Costella. If they couldn't produce eggs, they were to end up at the kitchen table themselves.

Luckily for them, my names were incorrect.

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