Molly McCahan Summer/Fall 2022 Portfolio

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N MOLLY M C CAHAN Portfolio of Selected Works Summer/Fall 2022

Opposite Page: Self Portrait, January 2021 CONTENTS Front Cover: Forest Edge and Shadows: A map made by walking Autumn, 2021 This project aims to “...critique current maintenance practices and ordinances while developing new maintenance regimes - and tools - to enhance ecological performance and promote an alternative Midwestern landscape aesthetic.” Foraging as Maintenance .........................................................................15 Spring-Summer 2020 What happens when a small community outside of Pittsburgh decides to clean its water, generate is own electricity, and building a community pool all in one landscape? Westinghouse Waterworks: a Water Re-generation Plan ....................37 December 20, 2020 History research reporting The Lion Rock: Power and Buddhism at Sigiriya, Sri Lanka .................47 Spring 2022 » Land Histories and Critical Historiography » Regional Mapping; Novel Methods » Field Work and Theory Development » Field Work Reports and Botanical Specimens Commoning for Resistance: the Cemetery as Autonomous Space ......1 Autumn, Synthesizing2020the tools of ArcMap and Adobe Illustrator to map, analyze, and critique the landscape of corn and soybean production. A collaborative project, each person produces a set of spreads on a particular topic that compile into an atlas and cookbook. Seeds of Resistance / The Joy of Decommodification .........................23 Autumn, 2019 The project begins with the design of a landscape made by extractive quarrying and folds into the design of a pocket park in the city of Columbus “This project endeavors to make the connection between the limestone’s site of origin...and the site of deposition legible.” In Praise of Limestone................................................................................43























Widespread and intense plowing by settler-colonizers in the southern great plains during the 1920s, followed by a decade-long drought in the 1930s brought about the ecological disaster known as the Dust Bowl. The agricultural impact and drought, mixed with a series of windstorms displaced approximately 300,000,000 tons of surface soil in just one day alone.1 300,000,0001930s2000s tons lost 500,000,000 tons lost 1 Editors, “Dust Bowl,” October 27, 2009,


The Dust1930sBowlDust Storms

The story of agriculture in the United States is often one that goes hand in hand with severe erosion. The Dust Bowl of the 1930s was a hard lesson in land management, and while there are many contemporary soil conservation initiatives in the U.S., there are still millions of tons of soil eroded from fields every year.

50% - 90% Land is in Agricultural Use Surface Sediment Erosionranges from 3 - 1388 metric tons per localized watershed

The Sediment Funnel? The NRCS

30% - 50% Land is in Agricultural Use

Formed in response to the Dust Bowl, the National Resources Conservation Service works to help farmers conserve the nation’s natural resources with science-based techniques and solutions.


2000s Sedimentary Plumes

A clear parallel to the 1930s Dust Bowl is the loss of sediment from agricultural runoff into the Mississippi river each year. In 2000, NASA captured the plumes of sedimentation flowing out of the Mississippi Delta reaching miles out from the coast and dumping an approximate 500,000,000 tons of sediment into the Gulf of Mexico.



1. Angela Ryczkowski, “Ideal Percentage of Organic Matter in Soil,” Home Guides | SF Gate, October 7, 2016,


OM will be darker in color, though there can be variations due to bedrock color. in order to support food-producing plant life.1 It can be seen on the map below OM are found mostly in the northern regions of WI, MN, and MI, where the land

Total USDA Budget 2020

A defining factor in both soil health/quality and soil color is its organic matter (OM)

The layers of soil horizons are differentiated through a system of letters that indicate their defining mineral and physical features. O is the humus layer and A is the topsoil layer. A majority of organic matter is found in these layers.




TheSoilNationalSurvey Farm and Conservation Almost all the data the U.S. collects to monitor and research soil health is done through the National Soil Survey, which is an initiative within the NRCS. Data collection such as soil horizon collection is done by individual soil scientists in the field.

The state with the highest corn production also shows a correlation between OM and dark soil color.

Iowa Soil Survey Global Agrochemical Market Value NRCS Private Lands Conservation 28

Organic Matter levels of 2.5% or higher per NationalwatershedSoilSurvey Office Locations BILLION$6.24 $ MILLION830 MILLION$75 BILLION$215.8 (OM) content. Generally soils with higher levels of color. Soils must ideally contain a minimum of 2.5% OM that a majority of soils with a minimum of 2.5% land is more forested and not used for agriculture.






7. Taste the paste! You may want to adjust the seasonings depending on your desired result. This is when I added chili flakes to give the cheese a little more spice. I added small dash of salt and syrup as well. Whatever you add, mix well.

tablespoons nutritional yeast teaspoon salt teaspoon maple syrup teaspoon chili flakes (optional) cup sumac (see wild foods page more more information) cup powdered mugwort teaspoon sage leaf cup nutritional yeast teaspoon turmeric powder


2. Scoop the paste into a clean bowl and stir in the sauerkraut brine, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, salt, and maple syrup. Make sure the ingredients are well combined.

4. Gather the edges of the towel together, twisting to form a tight ball with the paste. Place the collected, twisted paste back into the bowl.

5. Layer several more pieces of paper towel on top of the acorn paste, then place a weight on top of the whole contraption. I placed a dumbbell into a bowl on top, which worked very well. A brick will do, or a large rock. Protect the bowl from flies by covering with another towel, and leave out to ferment 24

cups (300 g) hot leached acorn pieces, cooled cup 3-7 day old sauerkraut




*quantities of flavorings should be adjusted according to taste* **these toppings are merely suggestions. There are many other options to explore from herbs such as thyme, to paprika and chili. See wild foods page for more info on mugwort and sumac.

tablespoonbrine garlic powder

“Different Heroes” (feat. Northern Voice) by A Tribe Called Red

6.hours.Unravel your pressing contraption, and peel the acorn paste into a clean bowl. The paste should be dry enough to be able to form into balls but not too dry so that it is crumbly.

Use acorns that have been hot

3. Line the bottom of a separate bowl with several layers paper towels. On top of the papers towels, drape several layers of cheese cloth or a thin, clean towel so that the edges of the towel are hanging outside of the bowl. Scrape the acorn paste into the towel.

This recipe is derived from Pascal Baudar’s book, Wildcrafted Fermentation, which also serves as an excellent reference for collecting and using other wild foods. Making acorn cheese is a highly involved but highly rewarding process. It requires you to have an actively fermenting batch of sauerkraut brine ready to use. I suspect this could be replaced with kimchi brine and no one would be the wiser! (see fermentation chapter for kimchi recipe). The brine contains the microbes that ferment the acorns and give this vegan cheese a delightfully tangy flavor to contrast the nuttiness of the acorns.

leached.1.Usinga food processor, blender, metate, or any other mashing tool you may have, blend or mash the hot leached acorns into a paste.

8. Separate the paste into three equal parts (approx. 110-120 g each). Roll these pieces into balls with your hands, then gently flatten the balls to form a small cheese round about 3.5” thick. Put to the side.

10. Set the cheese up to dry. I simply place the cheese into the cold oven and turn the oven light on. This acts as a very gentle dehydrator, but if you have a dehydrator, you can place the cheeses in that. You can also set a fan in front of the cheese on their plate to wick the moisture from them. If you do this, make sure you protect the cheeses from flies by draping a towel over the fan and cheese plate.

Whichever method you use, leave to dry for 5 hours.

On three separate bowls, spread the toppings (sumac, nutritional yeast, and/or mugwort) so there is a thick layer on the bottom. Carefully place each cheese round into the bowl, tossing the toppings on top to coat the entire surface of the round. Place on a separate plate.

9. Prepare your crusts.

11. Once the cheeses are dried, set the in the refrigerator to cure. They can be eaten immediately but the curing allows the flavors to meld together. The suggested curing phase is about 4 days. Maximum time a cheese to cure is 10 days. The cheese should be eaten within 14 days.

PART 3: 35



The Forest Hills GREEN NEW DEAL Council announces WESTINGHOUSE WATERWORKS: A water regeneration plan for our community August 22, 2030 Ever since the toppling of the Van de Graaff Atom Smasher, the plot of the Westinghouse Nuclear Research Lab has been left barren and abandoned, a stark symbol of a bygone era of hope and prosperity that served as the very foundation of our community. Hope, howev er, has once again returned to the neighborhood as the newly established Green New Deal Council (GNDC) of Forest Hills announced this week plans and funding for the re-creation of the site into a new, many-faceted project. The GNDC was established in November 2020 to spearhead the movement to address climate change in our community. The project, called “Westinghouse Waterworks,” aims to address two of the most pressing concerns for Forest



Hills’ future: water security and renewable electricity. “It’s clear that we need to address the acid mine drainage that is prevalent in our local waters,” says Council President Helen Alder, “with that in mind, we have partnered with a group of landscape architects and ecologists to design a site that will at once serve as a water reclamation zone as well as a hydroelectricity production area.”

As if that were not enough, the Council hopes that the site may one day also house a public swimming pool. At the base of the site, a stream con taining acid mine drainage will be dammed and directed into a ram pump (a water pump that uses the force of the falling water to pump itself uphill) that will push the water up into the re-purposed Atom Smasher, re stored to its rightful place, this time atop a community center. It is thought that the smasher will be able to retain hundreds of gallons of water, a reser voir for the droughts that are projected to occur in the next 50 years. The water will then be directed into a series of three successive wetlands, each populated with a specific set of plants that are known to take up the heavy metals that contaminate mine polluted wa -


Dammed stream with acid mine drainage Distribution water towers

Forebay tank (further water retention)

41 ters. With thorough testing, it is believed that the water will be clean enough to supply a full sized Olympic pool as well as a 600 square foot splash pool with safe, clean water.

Electricity transformer, community utility hut Water flow outlet through existing culvert Eastern Prairie planting Close look at pico-hydro generation huts


The final journey for the water will be through the pico-hydro electricity generation system. This system uses the steep Pittsburgh hills to its advan tage, piping the water through a set of small turbines that turn a generator before being directed to an existing culvert. The water eventually meets Turtle Creek and then the Monongahela. Three cheers for our council members for regener ating not only our community’s climate and resource resilience and independence but also our sense of pride.

Pico-hydro generation huts

Penstock pipe (directs water into water turbine)



Reclamation wetlands Olympic pool (7 feet deep) Natural pool purifying wetlands Splash pool (1-4 feet deep) Water retention towers

Water AlternatorGeneratorturbinehousing



A Pocket Park in Downtown Columbus, OH


The concept that inspired this pocket park comes from Gilles Clement’s theory of the “Third Nature” as depicted by his work, “L’ île Derborence”, in Parc Henri Matisse, Lille, France.

The forms are also inspired by the limestone alvar formations that are found in only three places on earth: the U.K., Scandinavia and the Great Lakes Regions of the U.S. The great walls located at the pinch point of the site make unavailable the forests growing on top, asking the question, “What should we leave be?” The formations are built with the wastes from the quarry, and are rough in formation, inviting spontaneous growth to occur on site. Much of the ground is carved into rivulets where water can flow through the site, further inviting spontaneity and change. Overall, the site serves as a reminder of both the precious ecologies and systems that are both invisible to the city and essential to its sustenance.

Parti diagram of site plan 44



47 Power and Buddhism at Sigiriya, Sri Lanka The Lion Rock

Deep in the northern dry zone of Sri Lanka, a large peneplain stretching from the southern mountains to the Bay of Bengal is home to the inselberg known as “the Lion Rock” (fig.1). Today, the granite monolith is home to the ruins of a Theravāda monastery and the city of Sigiriya, whose physical forms were directly influenced by seemingly paradoxical ideologies of religious and political power. Working primarily off the writing of Nilan Cooray, whose publication is found in the journal, Architecture of the Built Environment, I will highlight the history of the site as it was influenced by Buddhism and monarchy. Cooray’s publication is extensive and hints to the ideological frameworks utilized in the site but does not plainly discuss the relationships and connections between those ideologies. I posit that the forms found at Sigiriya are the direct result of the fusion between symbols of Buddhist cosmology and ideology with monarchical symbols of power and influence.

Figure 1: Poswiecie. Sigiriya, Sri Lanka. September 24, 2014. Digital Photograph.








P.O. Box 479 Plymouth, NH mccahan.6@osu.edu603.726.108203264 MOLLY M C CAHAN