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Garden Gnome Gathering - 12/20/2023

Reflecting on the eventful yet delightful day, I find myself in a state of contentment as I realize that I am nearing the end of yet another holiday season. Don't get me wrong, I adore the holidays and all the joy they bring. However, at this moment, I am yearning for a bit of rest from the constant hustle and bustle. However, today is different from our usual Wednesdays, where we typically focus on administrative tasks. Instead, we have decided to come together and simply enjoy each other's company while spreading some cheer throughout our town. Although the festive spirit still lingers within me, I embark on a journey to Mount Vernon today, eager to meet up with Kim and Emily. Our purpose is to gather some delightful goodies that we can share with our friends and neighbors who have been incredibly supportive throughout our gardening and growing endeavors.

As a resident of Columbus, I must admit that I have underestimated the impact of holiday traffic this season, resulting in yet another Wednesday where I find myself running behind schedule. I promptly informed Kim and Emily about my tardiness, and as always, they responded with nothing but concern for my safety and well-being, urging me to take my time. Grateful for the opportunity to work alongside such remarkable individuals, I finally arrived at our coworking space in Downtown Mount Vernon. Welcomed by warm smiles, we take a moment to catch up and explore the exciting developments in the Community Roots world. As we bask in each other's presence, a sense of camaraderie fills the air, and we seamlessly transition into our roles as a team. Kim takes charge of the nametags, while Emily and I diligently compile lists and pack the delectable treats they had prepared the previous evening, a testament to their unwavering dedication.

As I embark on my journey Downtown, I am excited to blend in like a gnome amidst the bustling crowd of muggles. However, I must remain focused and efficient, as numerous tasks are awaiting me in the garden. It is crucial for me to constantly remind myself of this, especially during such a busy time when it is easy to get distracted by the sheer beauty of Downtown. From the charming local stores and shops to the vibrant Square and Dog Fountain, every sight fills me with immense joy and delightful memories. Delivering our freshly baked goodies swiftly, I couldn't help but feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that I was spreading cheer to those who have brought countless smiles to my face throughout the year.

Now, it's time to shift my attention to the garden and roll up my sleeves. I have set ambitious goals to prepare the hoop houses before February arrives and to stay on track, I have diligently scheduled volunteer dates every Wednesday from 2:30 to 4:30. If you're interested in joining me for a delightful Wednesday afternoon, feel free to visit our SIGNUP PAGE!

Now, let me share with you how we are getting the hoop houses ready. Over the past few weeks, we have been collecting cardboard from various locations around town. Once we have enough, we will fluff up the soil and carefully lay the cardboard (with no tape or stickers, that's a job in itself!) over the grassy areas. This method allows the cardboard to decompose into the soil, creating a fertile environment for us to grow our plants inside the hoop house. By minimizing the need for excessive tilling, we can cultivate our crops more efficiently.

Arriving at the garden, I immediately notice that there is no one else there yet. It seemed like I had the place to myself, so I decided to take the initiative and start setting the pace for the day. My main goal is to complete at least one hoop house, so I unlock the gate and open the doors to the nearest hoop house. Inside, I unload the cardboard that I had collected the previous night from my part-time job. I carefully place all the cardboard inside, joining the others that are already there. As I began working on this project, I realized that the soil could benefit from some aeration to expedite the process. With the encouragement and support of my team, I grab a pitchfork and start turning and churning the overgrown and dying grass. To get into the groove, I blast some music, but soon realize how hot and loud it is inside the hoop house. I roll up my sleeves and decide to take a break outside to cool down. Just as I reach a good stopping point, I catch a glimpse of a figure through the plastic mumbling through my music to announce their arrival. To my surprise, it's Nancy popping her head through the door! It's such a delight to see her arrive and offer her help. Little did I know, there was still a significant amount of watering that needed attention. In addition to that, Emily's rosemary in one of the hoop houses is thriving, and we have our first pilot project, the mini cold frame, where Nancy's vegetables are still growing strong. It's incredible to witness growth even in December, but that's just what Community Roots is all about - we persevere and continue to thrive.

 Once I stepped outside to cool down I took the opportunity to catch up with Nancy and look more throughout the garden. However, we soon got back to work, as we needed to tend to the garden's needs in anticipation of the upcoming Spring weather. Nancy took charge of setting up the irrigation system and watering where needed, while I resumed the task of fluffing the soil. As I dug deeper, I stumbled upon some hidden gems from our initial construction, prompting Nancy and me to remove them before I finished my work. After a few well-deserved breaks and brief conversations with Nancy, I finally completed the soil aeration. With Nancy's assistance, we now have the task of placing the remaining cardboard in the garden.

Wow, what a relief! Now that we have finished our hard day's work, it's time to wrap things up and tidy up the garden. Nancy takes charge of storing the watering hoses while I gather the trash and dispose of it properly. We make sure to return all our tools to their designated places, ensuring that everything is organized and ready for the next gardening session.

As I go around checking the hoop house doors, I make sure they are securely shut to withstand any strong winds that might come our way. It's important to keep the doors closed tightly to protect the plants inside from any potential damage. While doing this, we notice a set of interesting footprints along the paved pathway. It seems that one of our furry friends, a local kitty, has visited us recently. It's always delightful to see the various creatures that find their way into our garden. We truly have a diverse community of friends, both human, plant, insect, and animal, who appreciate the beauty of nature.

With our tasks completed and the garden tidied up, we can now take a moment to appreciate the progress we've made. The hoop houses we've worked on today are now finished, bringing our total count to two. However, we still have two more hoop houses to go before our project is complete. It's exciting to think about the future plants that will thrive in the nutrient-rich soil we've created. Our hard work will surely pay off as these plants grow big and strong, providing a beautiful and bountiful garden for all to enjoy.

After securing the gate, Nancy and I make our way toward our cars. As we exchange holiday greetings and engage in cheerful conversation, we bid each other farewell, eagerly looking forward to our next encounter in the garden. With a tinge of sadness, I bid adieu to the beautiful garden, but as I prepare to get into my car, the melodious chirping of the birds reaches my ears, their sweet serenade serving as a heartfelt farewell until our paths cross again.




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