Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How Does He Speak To You?

In our church bulletin on Easter Sunday, was this quote by Martin Luther: “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.”

I don’t know a lot about church history and I can’t quote the Bible chapter and verse. I think Luther was right, though. If you are a believer, God can surely speak to you in the words of the Bible and other religious writings but I think He can also speak to you in other ways that are specific to yourself. After all, He knows you best. The quote above resonates with me because I’m a bit of a nature freak. I love the resurrection aspect of Spring, the anticipation of the potential it brings. 

A few weeks ago, I was mentally dealing with the issue of outlining the book I’m writing and trying to come up with a serious plan. As a result I wasn’t working on the writing; I was working on the plan. Then one morning, while driving to the bus, an otter ran across the road in front of me. Yes, it was an otter, not a cat or muskrat or groundhog. That’s not a sight you see every day! 

When I posted about it on Facebook, my friend, Paige, mentioned that the otter is known for its playful nature. Okay, light bulb moment! I quit working so hard on the plan and started trying to have a more playful approach to the writing. So far, it’s worked much better.

Now, did God actually send that critter across the road in front of me just to tell me to lighten up? Or, was it just some random occurrence that will happen to one in every 1,258.479 people at some point in their lives? It depends on what you believe, I guess. For myself, I know that God does speak to me. I just have to be open enough to hear Him.      

Monday, April 18, 2011

Six Weeks To Go

Things get crazy this time of year, work and weather-wise, that is. On Friday we had an outbreak of severe weather. All the schools systems in the area let out. Everyone except ours. I kept watching the tv and making sure my radio and cell phone were on, waiting for the call that never came.

It was windy but hadn't started raining when we pulled away from the school. At the second stop, the tornado siren went off. Then the rain and lightning started. Great. I had no way of knowing whether the tornado was in the western part of the county or around the block from me. I kept having visions of the movie Twister where the cows and the school bus are sucked up and slung around. All I could do was drop the kids off as close their houses as possible without going off-route. It meant stopping at a couple of places where I don't normally stop, which I'm not supposed to do, but some of those kids have to walk quite a ways and I was afraid of the lightning.

Spring break is over and all the kids want to do is get out of school for the summer. We have one holiday in April, on the 22nd. The kids are out but we have to go in for four hours of "professional development" time. The budget for our department is so tight I don't know what they're going to come up with for that four hours.

I'm with the kids, though. As of Tuesday, there are twenty-nine days of school left. I have to start getting my bus cleaned up for the end of the year inspection. Not an easy task with forty middle schoolers riding it twice a day!

Last week the sixth graders had to stay on the bus one morning and pick up all the trash. This morning, it was the seventh graders. Eighth graders are too cool to leave trash in the back of the bus, or maybe they're just closer to the trash can. Either that, or they drop it in the sixth or seventh grade areas on their way off the bus.

Since Sunday is Easter, I've got some wrapped chocolate eggs to give out when the kids get off the bus. I just hope it's not so hot by then that they all melt in the wrapper. I could put them in a cooler and get one of the sixth grade girls to hand them out. Hope I don't get in trouble for giving a Muslim child a chocolate egg.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hand Raised

They start off as plain pine boards, in this case, 2x8s. The Music Man cut them into six foot lengths and three foot lengths.

He drilled pilot holes and used 3" deck screws to hold them together. I helped by holding them steady and keeping the angle straight, more or less.

After they became more or less square boxes, we stained them with latex stain. I don't know if it helps keep the bugs out our not. The stuff didn't smell very good, though so if we poison ourselves from it that's our own fault.

Once they were put together and in the right spot in the backyard I had to level them. Here are some of the tools I used. The little mattock in the center was my grandfather's. The level belongs to my dad, I think. If he sees this he'll probably want it back.

This is as good as it's gonna get. Our yard slopes in about ten different directions and leveling three of these more or less square boxes was a week long challenge.

 According to the book Lasagna Gardening, by Patricia Lanza, you don't have to dig the sod out if you put paper or cardboard down first. The New York Times has never been so useful. On top of the paper is some composted chicken litter, next, peat moss, then composted leaves. I topped it all off with more peat and some Jungle Growth soil from Lowes. We'll see how well this works.

 A raised bed, half full and more or less square and level.

Of course no backyard project would be complete with out my trusty helper, Daisy. Here she is, ready to lend a paw.

Okay we're done for the time being. All that stuff is piled on the first bed because my trusty helper, Ms. Muddypaws decided it would be fun to wander around in there for a while. I have no idea where the seeds are now but will wait a few days to see if they are going to come up before I replant anything. I might also try to put some kind of fence around them or put chicken wire over the top until the plants get a little bigger.