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Old 05-28-2009, 02:11 PM   #1
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Default Oh, the things I get myself into . . .

I think I need to STOP tagging along with people to meetings. . . .

There was the time I went with hubby-to-be to a duck conservation group's meeting, and I ended up treasurer (I wasn't even a member).

And I tagged along to a meeting about organizing events for disabled folks, and now I'm on the group's state board of directors AND coordinator of that outreach program.

You'd think I would have learned by now. I plant the donation garden for a local organic gardening group (1/4 acre). One of the members of this group sent a harmless sounding email stating she was going to meet with an alternative school teacher, and I went along, not knowing what the subject of discussion would be, and figuring she just didn't want to have to walk into the room alone. WRONG!!!! It turns out her plan is to involve the students (alternative school here means they have been kicked out of public school - troubled teens) to get me help in the donation garden. It sounds like I'll be their mentor and working with their science teacher to help bring the stuff from the classroom into the garden, with a goal of them learning enough in my garden so they'll be able to have their own garden at the school.

Geeeeezzzzz. Wish me luck!

P.S. I delivered my first harvest today from the donation garden to one of the soup kitchens! A bucketful of cucumbers, squash and snap beans! Hopefully that will be 2 days a week until frost in October or November.
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Old 05-28-2009, 03:50 PM   #2
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NO is a beautifully simple word and so hard to learn.

You are going to grow immeasurably from every one of those activities.
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Old 05-28-2009, 04:11 PM   #3
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I just looked at the tagline between your username and avatar...duh!

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Old 05-28-2009, 04:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage View Post
I just looked at the tagline between your username and avatar...duh!

Hahahahahahahahaaaa! Biig, you're doing a great thing here and out there. Good luck!
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Old 05-28-2009, 06:35 PM   #5
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We thank you biigblueyes for lending a helping hand at WG.
Quote:
It sounds like I'll be their mentor and working with their science teacher to help bring the stuff from the classroom into the garden, with a goal of them learning enough in my garden so they'll be able to have their own garden at the school.
This is an incredibly important role. You have an opportunity to leave an indelible mark on our children. We wish you the best, for their sake and for ours.
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Old 06-02-2009, 03:00 PM   #6
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Thank you!

Report on the garden project with the school:

I'll be meeting every Tuesday with one group of the students. The counselor's goal is to have one group working with me and the other group using their newfound skills to make their own garden along the sidewalks at school. She envisions pole beans and maybe some other climber going up the posts, and vegetables and flowers mixed in the "beds" that are now grass, in particular tomatoes and marigolds. Complicating fact - the maintenance crew has sprayed diesel (a big no-no in a school setting) at least twice on the grass. The entire area will need to be excavated and new dirt brought in. (Positive side - we won't have to deal with removing deeply entrenched grass)

2 hours has been set aside for me, but they were ready to go back into the airconditioning at the hour mark. Will need to have a real gardening task, followed by something we can do in the shade, like starting seedlings. (don't really need seedlings, but what can we do in the shade and seems productive?)

When it became obvious we needed to stop with the heavy activity in the sun, I took them for a tour of the rest of the garden, picking mint and catnip leaves for them to smell. One of the guys seemed truly interested if he could get a plant to grow if he planted the mint leaf, so I'll be starting a few mint plants. I hope the parents understand the nature of mint - I wouldn't bet that they'll remember to mention it to mom when the plant comes home.

We had seven students today. One of the girls seemed sharp enough to understand the big picture - food from the garden goes to people who need it "for whatever reason". Two of the boys will be a babysitting project and nothing more - they follow instructions, but don't seem to have a clue where they are. The pregnant girl tries to stay out of the work, but will participate when instructed to "come here". Then there are the twins whose eyes sparked at mint. Not sure what to think of that, but I'll work with it.

I was not surprised that they didn't know what asparagus was, but I WAS floored that they didn't know what squash was. I broke one open to show them what it looked like inside. That was a mistake. We had to take a zuchinni away from one of the boys who was ripping it to shreds.

The teacher thought it would be a good idea to start them "from the ground up" (wonder if he caught his own pun). The counselor wasn't sure if it would be allowed to allow them to run the mini tiller, so I went last night to till it up for them. I had them run a string to mark the row, put compost on the ground along the string, then handed them hoes, shovels and rakes to pull up the dirt from the aisles on top of the compost. We made holes, put vermicompost in them, made a hill and planted 3 zuchinni seeds in each. Added a cupful of water - it should rain tomorrow but the ground was on the dry side today.

(Sorry, Doccat - as important as it is, I was too chicken to open the subject of vermicompost, so I just called it Good Compost. Didn't want to lose them the first day over Worm Poo)

I'd call it a good day.
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Old 06-03-2009, 12:59 AM   #7
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You sure are a little sweetie for sharing your time with those kids. Let me think about a shade activity. How old are these kids?
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Old 06-03-2009, 07:26 AM   #8
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Good for you,! My husband taught at the local alternative school. He discovered some of the kids are very rewardding to work with! Others are the reason you have a teacher present with them, I'm sure!

Gardening is a great project for a group like that. Are you working with a summer school?
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Old 06-03-2009, 07:36 AM   #9
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They're 14-17 years old at the present. They can take kids as young as 11. Some are bussed in from their homes in surrounding parishes, some are under court jurisdiction - taken out of their homes and in foster care or group homes.

The continue classes through the summer.

They followed simple instructions well, so as long as I can break it down into one instruction at a time, we should be good. I would be willing to spring for a few dollars a week on supplies and may be able to get funding for anything more than that, so dazzle me with your shade project list!
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Old 06-03-2009, 08:13 AM   #10
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I'm not good at this "activities" stuff - but just off the top of my head....
looking closely (maybe with a little magnification?) at the things surrounding them in this shady area-
plants and bugs.
a simplified version of what to look for when they want to know what they've got in front of 'em.
for example alternate vs opposite leaves or other easy characteristics to look for.
simple bug ID - beneficials??
companion planting concepts
allelopathy - are there any black walnuts around?
cool vs warm weather crop

some of this stuff applies indirectly, tho.
and it's more teach-y less active.
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