Hours volunteered: 6.5 (combined)
States: Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona
Budget: over by $30 (we’ve under budgeted for gas)
People Visited: Candi Williams, Robin Popik, Buffy, Jack and Katie Wimmer, Cindi, Morgan, and Nate Holt and our niece Laya.
Nights under the stars: 2
Best meal: every meal at the Wimmer’s house in McKinney Texas
Best beer: an imported Belgian Trappist Ale that Jack Wimmer gave us
view from the Wimmer's backyard
One of the things I didn’t think about until my shoes were covered in about 5 pounds of black prairie soil is that on this trip we only have the stuff in the car. I have only one pair of walking shoes and on Saturday they got filthy. It was a memorable way to learn that Plano Texas is part of a unique strip of soil that is incredibly rich and comes in either of two forms: sticky or solid.
Jay's Shoes Covered in Black Prairie Soil
On Saturday morning we woke up early to backtrack from McKinney to Plano Texas. My friend Robin had given us the heads up on a community garden work day there. Arriving a few minutes late (we’ve been getting lost frequently on this trip), the coordinator, Erin, had already started her intro. We joined a small crowd made up of teenagers from Future Farmers of America and women who are garden regulars. This Saturday turned out to be their once a month volunteer work day, so we jumped right in with picking up litter and digging rocks out of the soil.
The garden area we were working in
When I think gardening, I think planting, weeding, harvesting, watering…. We did not do any of those things. As you can see above, the garden isn’t much of a garden yet. It turns out that there used to be an extensive garden here, but it had to be transplanted in order to make way for a new LEED Platinum Certified Environmental Education Center, built on the grounds. The building has just been completed, so now it’s time to get the garden back in. That means a lot of grunt work, tearing out any plants that aren’t part of the plan and picking all the rocks and junk out of the soil.
Jay dragging tree branches to the street
It felt good to get a little dirty and join in the community effort. Community gardens are particularly noteworthy for being a place of common ground where diverse peoples can gather and work together to create a space that is beautiful, productive, and safe. When we are in Phoenix at the end of February, we plan to revisit the Garden of Tomorrow, that I volunteered at in November.
Sharon carrying tree trimmings to the street