The Beginning and More Links

The idea for this blog was inspired due to my dad's death this summer and the subsequent writing of living wills, health directives, etc. for my own...
I have done a bit of body disposal research and will be working on a cemetery project, which will be documented.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Interesting Radio shows on home funerals.

Yesterday driving to see my friend's art show, I heard a great radio show about Home Funerals on KQED at the same time Nona heard a radio show on NPR....

 Here are the links:

For a more human show: KQED

For a more cerebral show: on NPR

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cemetery Orientation Day Success and next meeting Jan. 29, 2011

  1. Thanks to all who came to the orientation day: Chris, Nona, Carrie, Camila, Mala, Phoebe
  2. We have forged a new path down the jungle garden
  3. Looking for burlap bags and/or fabric for the next meeting on Saturday January 29.
  4. If anyone has an electric hedge trimmer, this would also be helpful.
  5. Bring memory stones: to add to the collection (The color theme is granite rock or other natural material, with black or etched in lettering.)
  6. Bless

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Project 0: Help build the first modern San Francisco Cemetery 2011

“At one time, there were probably more than 200,000 graves dug - some more than once - for each of the deceased residents in San Francisco before the year 1900. This was when the Board of Supervisors voted to stop all burials in The City and County of San Francisco, California. The exact number of the interred citizens within The City boundaries is hard to figure because most of the records were destroyed in the fires that resulted from the Great Earthquake of April 18, 1906.” *

Today we announce an opportunity to bring back a cemetery to SF.

There use to be numerous locations throughout The City where different religious groups and organizations bought land for the interment of members. There were Catholic, Chinese, Jewish and Protestant Cemeteries covering many neighborhoods of San Francisco.
This new cemetery will be located in the area between Arkansas Street and Wisconsin Street, with a future entrance at 19th street on Potrero Hill, SF.
It will be non-denominational, all-inclusive, memorializing all mammals.
Currently it is illegal to actually cremate anyone in town or bury anyone in the ground in San Francisco, California. The only exception today is the San Francisco National Cemetery/The Presidio.
Therefore this cemetery will be conceptual in nature, a memorial garden for the local community to reflect and remember.
Please come to our ground breaking meeting:
We're a volunteer-run nonprofit: we rely heavily on people
like you to make the memorial garden what it will be. So we'd like to invite you to our New Volunteer Orientation Day on Saturday January 22 from
10am-12pm. We will meet every Saturday, so if you can't make it this weekend come next.

If you've never volunteered at a garden before, or even if you have,
please come by: we will give a tour of the garden and explain our
mission. After that you can tackle a small project from the list:
weeding, pruning, brainstorming…

Wear sturdy shoes, and bring gloves, if you have them. We provide the tools, beverages and expertise!

Hope to see you there,
The Cemetery Project Team

*For more information and a great page showing you where to find old cemeteries in SF log on to:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Body Disposal as Landscape Art

This is the social sculpture part.
When thinking about our current cemetery practice and its environmental impact on the earth, one realizes the future needs a new solution…
If we could change our cemetery practice to benefit the future generations, 
what would that look like?
More open space, money for large landscape art projects, gardens; orchards the ideas are limitless…
One of the ideas I’ve come up with is burying the dead in the form of a large spiral labyrinth.
Utilizing GPS, we can now mark graves without stones, so the configurations can change.
Here are a few sketches: using words… stories… epitaphs… but the words could be vegetables, fruit trees, solar lights (fading in an out), or just ground cover eroding over time…

Monday, January 10, 2011

"Compost to compost" ak "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust".

a look at the definition explains ….
a mixture of various decaying organic substances, as dead leaves or animal remains, used for fertilizing soil.
a composition; compound.

Thinking of my evitable demise… and the problem left for my daughter to dispose of my body… I wonder, can I make it easier for her?

By becoming useful: compost
By becoming beautiful: a compound

This is the drive for the project. To create a “cemetery” of compost feeding an orchard, the orchard in turn feeding the living.

To create a beautiful compound to rest and restore the living.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Step 1: Pick out a piece of your property that would be appropriate.

1/4 of an acre lot in Bolinas @ 0 Pine Road

Nona Caspers and I went on a trip to Bolinas, in search of a cemetery, it was a rainy and stormy day.

This is what we found for sale:

1/4 of an acre, with an ocean view for  22,000.

Positives: It is only a 1 hour car trip from SF, amazingly we didn't fall of the cliff. The windy road is somewhat like a labyrinth, as you descend into Bolinas. Places to walk along the ocean for contemplation.

Drawbacks: No sleeping over, no building a house, may lose some of the funeral attendees on the windy roads, car sick, vexatious litigant neighbors.

Conclusion: still looking, any ideas out there please comment

How to start a family/friend cemetery

        1. 1    Pick out a piece of your property that would be appropriate. 

Remember such things as flooding and access to the property.
    • Property in a valley, is ideal for the emotion of decent and when leaving ascent
    • An area for contemplation, forest, grove
    • An area for interaction, stones for piles, gardening, fruit picking
    • 2
      Check with your local county clerks office for any special rules or permits that may be required.
    • 3
      Survey the spot of land you've picked out. In some states you are required to put a fence around the place you're dedicating. So, be sure to check with your county officials.
    • 4
      Map to cemetery location
      Map to cemetery location
      File a Certificate of Declaration of Dedication of Land with your County Clerk. You (the land owner) can file the info and complete the survey yourself. There's no need to hire someone to do this for you.
    • 5
      Layout of burial plots
      Layout of burial plots
      When you file your dedication you will need to take a map to the plot. You will also need to make a diagram of how you will lay out the cemetery. Then, in the future, you will need to keep good records as to who is buried there and file those with the County Clerk for record. GPS is now an option.

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    The Beginning

    The idea for this blog was inspired due to my dad's death this summer and the subsequent writing of living wills, health directives, etc. for my own...
    I have done a bit of body disposal research and will be working on a cemetery project, which will be documented.

    Here is the link for the submission form for the event: