Project Rain Barrel – Do It Yourself

This is the story about my latest DIY project …… a rain barrel.

I spent a lot of time online looking at all kind of different options. From complete ready to install systems from the home improvement or specialized garden stores, most of them ugly – to used barrels, you never know what you get – to plain food grade barrels that still needed a spigot and overflow fittings – and everything in between.

I finally came across a website that sparked my interest. Veteran Compost is a business owned, managed and staffed by veterans and veteran family members. Their main product, as the name says, is compost. But they also build and sell rain barrels, that are available in original blue ($70), or painted ($150). I was very close to ordering one of their painted designs, but I did one more “google” search for individually designed rain barrel images. I found an easy method to design my own barrel. So I placed an order with Veteran Compost for a blue barrel. The transformation and installation of the barrel can be seen here:


Ward 5 Happy Hour To Meet Thursday At Menomale In Brookland

Ward 5 Happy Hour Brookland NE Washington DC
MMmm MMmm Menomale

Last month’s Ward 5 happy hour was a great time. This month the event is returning to Brookland. This is from the Ward 5 Happy Hour Facebook page:

It’s official! Menomale will host Ward 5 Happy Hour – October 4th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm! And I am sure they would welcome you to stay and drink/eat afterwards too 🙂
Menomale is located at 2711 12th Street, NE. As the Ward 5 Happy Hour folks say: Meet Your Neighbors – Support Local – Share a Few Laughs – Why Not?

5th District Town Hall Meeting To Feature A Panel Of Crime Fighters

Logo Courtesy Of The U.S. Department Of Justice

At the last Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association (BNCA) Meeting Jamila Hodge, the 5th District Prosecutor from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia informed the community about an upcoming Faith-Based Town Hall  meeting.  

This focus of the meeting is to share ideas about how to cut down on crime. Jamila explained that the U.S. Attorney’s Office seeks to encourage people to stand up and be active be in their communities. The Town Hall will feature a panel ready to discuss resources available to the 5th District community and to take questions. The panel will include U.S. Attorney Ron Machen, Metropolitan Police Department 5th District Commander Andy Solberg, Chief of the USAO Victim/Witness Unit Jelahn Stewart, and Chief of the Office of the Attorney General’s Juvenile Division Jennifer White, among others. The Town Hall will take place Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 6 p.m. at Israel Baptist Church in Brentwood, located at 1251 Saratoga Ave, NE. The meeting is open to everyone in the community.

Update Of The Catholic U Development, Monroe St. Market

It’s been a while since we’ve done an update on the Catholic U development, so let’s see what’s new… Check out these really snazzy renderings of the common area spaces planned for the Monroe St. Market  apartment complex. This is the lounge area. 

Catholic University Development Brookland NE Washington DC
Monroe Street Market Lounge Rendering. Photo Courtesy of The Buzzuto Group.

This is the rendering of the game room.

Catholic Develoment Brookland NE Washington DC
Monroe Street Market Game Room Rendering. Photo Courtesy of The Buzzuto Group

This is the rendering of the Library.

Catholic University Development Brookland NE Washington DC
Monroe Street Market Library Rendering. Photo Courtesy of The Buzzuto Group

This is the business center rendering.

Catholic University Devlopment Brookland NE Washington DC
Rendering of the Business Center, Monroe St. Market. Photo courtesy of the Buzzuto Group.

The first apartments will be opening Spring 2013 and there will be a mix of  studios, 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom apartments. But, right  now the crews have been busy upgrading the sewer and water lines on Monroe and 7thStreet, among other things. Perhaps the most noticeable progress is in the C Block since both buildings are now wrapped with insulation, and windows have started to be installed. Pretty soon we should start seeing the brick facade installed. Inside the buildings, “rough-ins” are starting. A rough-in is a preliminary stage of laying plumbing and electrical lines prior to building, electrical, or plumbing inspections. Here are some recent photos of the C block.

Catholic University Development Brookland NE Washington DCCatholic University Devlopment Brookland NE Washington DCCatholic University Development Brookland NE Washington DC

Catholic University Development Brookland NE Washington DC 




As a reminder, here is what the C block is supposed to look like when complete:

Monroe Street Market (C Block) Rendering Courtesy of The Buzzuto Group.

Dance Place’s Open House & Brookland Family Day Was Fun For All Ages

Dance Place Brookland NE Washington DC

On Saturday, September 29, Dance Place hosted an Open House as part of their Brookland Family Day. The event was well attended and boasted tons of activities for everyone. Of course, dancing was the highest priority on the agenda. Free classes in Modern Dance, Afro Jazz, Zumba, African Dance, Hoop Dance, Hip-Hop, Creative Movement, Ballet/Tap, and Step were offered. There were also fun outdoor activities such as balloon sculpture, juggling, hoop making, and jewelry making. The fun-filled afternoon was capped off with a free sampler dance performance including modern, African, step, hoop and more. Dance Place is located at 3225 8th St.

Casey Trees Walk at Colonel Brooks Mansion

One event in celebration of the 125th Anniversary of Brookland was a guided tree walk on the grounds of Colonel Brooks Mansion.



Casey Tree’s Stephanie Juchs (Community Education Coordinator) led a group of interested residents around the historic property and explained the interesting diversity of trees. One tree that surprised us all, since it is a species you don’t see very often anymore, is an Osage Orange. Some of my pictures show the fruits, which can get up to 4-6″ in diameter. I found a helpful website that reviews the interesting history of this unique tree.

For those who are interested in other Casey Trees events, check out their calendar.

Brookland means trees ….. trees mean Brookland. Thank you Casey Trees for celebrating what makes our neighborhood so special – TREES.


Blessing Of The Animals At Brookland’s Franciscan Monastery

Franciscan Monastery Brookland NE Washington DC

The friars at Brookland’s Franciscan Monastery  conducted a Blessing of the Animals today in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals. The annual event is popular; we estimate that there could have been over 60 animals in attendance, and TV crews from Channel 4 (NBC) and 5 (Fox) were there and broadcasted stories about it on their 5:00 pm programs. The friars gave a brief ecumenical service, did a general blessing of all pets in the crowd and then did individual blessings afterward. There were all kinds of pets – even a parakeet and turtles. The largest pet was probably a big St. Bernard. All pets were given a blessing certificate and a dog tag that reads “Francis of Assisi Protect My Pet”. I spoke with one particular attendee who brought two dogs and wasn’t sure what to expect as a “non-religious person”. She was very touched by the event because of the personal attention given each animal, how welcoming the friars were to one and all, and how there was no mention of donations. The monastery is located at 1400 Quincy Street, NE.

Brookland’s 125th Anniversary Celebration Brings The Community Together

Yesterdays celebration of Brookland’s 125th birthday was a glorious day in more ways than one. The perfect fall weather set the backdrop for a day filled with community spirit and home-town pride. The festivities included a parade, community picnic, tree tour and walking tour.  Many thanks to the following folks for making the day a great one for all:

Sneak Peek – Progress On Brookland’s Round House Renovation

Brookland Historic Round House Renovation NE Washington DC

Everybody seems to know Brookland’s  “Round House” – the unique historic home built in 1901 at 1001 Irving Street NE. It has been under renovation  for a while, but now one can really get a sense for what it will be like when completed. After getting a tour today, my opinion can be summed up in 3 words: wow, stunning, and beautiful. Before the renovation there was quite a bit of water damage and rot throughout the roof and structure. This negative has been turned into a positive as now there are skylights, and huge windows throughout. The biggest change  is the centerpiece skylight  at the pinnacle of the roof that floods the home with natural light, and the 12 foot addition on the back of the house that also lets in a ton of natural light and has added quite a bit of living space.  The house now has four bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms. Two bedrooms on the second floor have full baths en suite and the other two bedrooms share a full bath. The first floor has an expansive open living space  with a kitchen, half bath, closet, and laundry room. The most remarkable thing about the house is how open and airy it is. Although there are windows everywhere, it still feels private due to the mature landscaping. One of the biggest challenges with this renovation is simply the fact that all the walls are curved, making the installation of sheet rock and molding more difficult than your average home. Some of the nice amenities that come with this renovation are the huge master suite, tons of recessed lighting as well as central air and heat. There is still more work to be done such as installing appliances, completing the plumbing, finishing the floors and staircase, and landscaping. All I can say is that this a gem, and I will be envious of the lucky people who end up living here!