2009: The Year of Uff-da

“Uff-da” is a Norwegian expression I learned from my husband’s family, and is similar to “oy-vey” or “aww-dang” It’s just been that kind of year :s

This year, I’ve learned about patience the hard way.  It started off with a bar brawl on my sister’s birthday in January.  This hippy hasn’t been in a fist fight since high school (20 years ago).  I think I just lost  my last marble this year, trying to balance Work along with Washburn and Motherhood.  That and our family budget resembles an overcooked noodle.  I had hoped to be more available to the UCD garden project this summer, especially after the success of our Flower Power fundraiser.  Although my studies at Washburn kept me away from the garden site, I did try to share information via facebook and sometimes this blog.  What I didn’t realize, and couldn’t really comprehend, was that some of our staff literally did not know how plants grow.  I’ve had chilling visions of young children’s chores consisting of dusting the plastic plant decor, instead of watering and caring for live plants.  This aspect of society, that an entire generation of now high school and college graduates has zero knowledge of plant life, is quite alarming.  I realize just how over-dependent on others the People have become.  This makes it all that much more important to teach the next generation how to grow plants for food and sustinence.  However, I became impatient in allowing others to learn at their own pace.  And I grew impatient with the time it takes for any grassroots project to truly grow.  Our staff are still learning that plants take time and care.  While we did not harvest any food out of our garden, we did learn that rabbits like spinach and squash.  We learned that strawberry transplants need lots of water, but not pine-sol & water.  We learned that the roly-pig composter needs to be watered, because it does not absorb rainwater like a traditional, open compost heap.  If I could see inside the pig, I’d know what the problem was.  Has something taken root (like whole potatoes)?  Is it seriously clogged and needs to be taken apart and started over (stinky-dinky)?  BTW, volunteers welcome 😉  Another downside to this year and the garden project is that I have not been able to work on it first-hand, because I’m in the Toddler 1 room, and these children are too young to dig a garden (but we do water our container plants).  See, the thing is, its not about me wanting to garden with children, its about children learning how to garden.   If these children in our care can be introduced to plant science, they will be successful science learners in higher grades, and maybe, just maybe, those with school gardens across the nation can grow a generation of individuals who know how to work a farm and provide food to communities.  The current state of the farming industry is about to collapse (hunch), and our nation will be in dire straits if we lose our ability to engage in a cooperative relationship with nature.

So I ask you, dear reader, to take a baby step with me.  Side by side, with our own two hands.  Remember, we should forgive our friends their flaws as readily as we forgive our own.  This is possibly the one difficult lesson it took me a year to learn, and I apologize for getting too pushy back there in September (it was my 37th birthday, and I was freaking out!).  Also please understand that while some staff at UCD are only temporary, others have long-term, professional goals in Early Childhood Education; this garden classroom is what I hope to accomplish in transforming UCD to grow with the 21st century.  When thinking of technology, think about what life was like before Mr. Weatherman’s radar, or even a rain gauge for Mr. Almanac.  Today’s technology gives you a soil test tool the size of a pocket-light.  Think about how processed food has affected previous generations of the People (cancer, diabetes, heart disease) and think about how our bodies are part of the Natural world.  Where does real food come from?  Time to tip the scales back to balanced in the world, and each of us has to act.

The baby step begins with a tiny seed, care, and Love.

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