Monday, February 23, 2009

4-H and beyond

I have known for weeks that tonight I was scheduled, with another Master Gardener, to give a demonstration and talk about propagation to a local 4-H gardening club. I wasn't really nervous, and I didn't mind at all doing it. But I always feel underprepared, and that does lend some tension to my situation.

I should know better by now that things always go better than I think they will; tonight was no exception. My partner did some hands on with Morning Glory seeds then helped each one of them divide and replant a daylilly. It was a tough act to follow, since my portion was more talk and less action; I spoke on dormancy, and roses, why and how people take cuttings and when NOT to take cuttings. Then I showed them how to begin a rooting. But the kids were so good, very attentive listeners, and had all kinds of questions! They ate it all up, and were very grateful. And quite a range of ages there were, too. All the way from 12 or so down to five or so. It was awesome to talk to kids who were dying to learn about plants. It's amazing to see our future gardeners at work.

Friday, February 20, 2009

More unexpected blessings

A friend took a trip to Honduras with his daughter this week, serving with a medical mission that gives poor Hondurans a chance to consult with eye doctors, dentists, general practitioners, and each one is exposed to the Gospel. The kids can also have their hair washed and cleaned of lice. Everyone I know who has been on a trip like this tells of the ways they see God working in the people they meet and in their own hearts, and it makes me want to go. In lieu of being able to go, I usually end up helping cover the Sunday School class that is left without a teacher for this time. This is no small task, because I am typically a poor preparer, and am just not a teacher. I just am not. I did it for a couple years before finding that it just wasn't my forte and I was doing the kids a disservice by not having someone more qualified in my role. Not that I didn't enjoy it, mind you.

Well, this particular class is a daunting one for substitutes. First, they are junior high age. Enough said on that, right? Second, they really love their teacher. His shoes are tough ones to fill! He assures me it will be fine, and the kids essentially set their own schedule for the class, sort of.

He was not kidding. These kids knew exactly what to do, someone had brought doughnuts, they made their cocoa, and wwer ready to crack open their Bibles and get learning! Every kid in the room participated in reading aloud, and during their question and answer time, every kid had either something to ask or something to answer. It was awesome, the way these kids were hungry for the word of God. You should have seen their eyes light up when I pulled out my exhaustive concordance and explained how to use it!

The whole experience was awesome...and I never thought I would say that about junior high sunday school. I can't wait to do it again this week.

What a week!

The majority of the Hort department is away on the Milwaukee Field Studies trip. I opted to stay home because I knew this was going to be an overwhelming semester, so I got three days off from school! Woo hoo! One might think this would be a time to relax and enjoy this time...but no way! So much to do, and catch up on. Practically all the first day I worked on my big semester project for Nursery Management. Once I got started I didn't want to stop! It was loads of fun, and seriously, not sarcastically. Our job was to design a nursery layout that would efficiently use all of sixty acres, growing at least five genus of trees. Rotation and planting schedules, initial planting costs, harvest times, final sale cost, pests and diseases associated with our plant choices, irrigation, etc., etc. All were considerations we had to work through. It was a blast. Wish I had sixty acres and a half a million bucks ot get started! :o/

In addition to my school work I have some serious housekeeping tasks to catch up on, mainly my filing. Today is the day given mainly to that task, although I still have to fit in a trip to the vet for our cat (who developed a nasty case of dermatitis and is just miserable), a trip to barn to observe how Tuesday is after a minor injury to her ankle, an appointment later this afternoon, and making sure ducks are in a row before I leave tomorrow for an all-day visit with my mom.

Geez. I can't wait for school to get back in session so I can have a break.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Undeserved Blessings

It's official, the job at Prairieview is mine! I am both very excited, and eager to get started, and humbled deeply. See, I know how exactly this job fits me as a person and as a student, and the tremendous benefits it will provide me in the way of experience. Ths job seems literally created just for me and handed over on a silver platter, thanks be to God. But I know I don't deserve it. Not the job, necessarily, but the blessing it so obviously is. I have been weak, selfish and less-than-faithful. I know how many people are struggling for employment, and for this to fall in my lap almost seems unfair. But I AM grateful...grateful beyond words. I am fully aware that God has his reasons for me to be in this place at this time, and that place in that time. I only pray that my heart and ears will be open to opportunites to glorify Him.

I literally can hardly wait to get started! After filling out my application (as a formality; apparently I had the job before I even set foot in the door! :o) )they took me on a tour of the golf course so I could get a glimpse of the magnitude of the job ahead of me. It's pretty daunting; the beds have been neglected for many years, and even "low maintenance" native perennials are not "no maintenance." But I will have an awesome supervisor who will provide me with detailed lists of what needs to be accomplished each day, and that is absolutely perfect for me! Let's get cracking!!!

Monday is a big, big Botany exam. This is a very in depth course, and we have been learning complex systems for five whole weeks before taking this first exam. This means that there is going to be a LOT of material on this exam. I don't know if this is typical for this instructor, but maybe he will be open to taking smaller exams more often in the future. And of course there are a hundred thigns to do this weekend that are all important and pressing, lol! Just one of those things.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Trees Are People Too

Okay, not really, but they certainly all have their very own personalities; shaped by genetics, culture and environment none is exactly alike. God's handiwork is so blatantly obvious when you consider the wealth of biodiversity, yet much of the world turns a blind eye and deaf ear. Such a pity.

I did much better on my tree ID quiz than I thought. I had all the names down, but putting them to the correct tree was going to prove much more difficult. A couple of foolish blunders, and a couple of complete blanks. But all in all not too bad, considering that when the Trees class took their first test most of them completely boombed it. (This is for Nursery Management.) Now if Botany will only go so well....

Tomorrow I go to the golf course to fill out my application and take a tour of the course, but today on the phone it was mentioned that the interviwers were "tickled with me," and the job is practically mine. I am afraid to be too excited for fear that it will be taken from me through some technicality or aspect not considered.

This leads me to consider God's generosity. It is abundantly clear to me that I did not get this job, but that God provided it for me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

An unexpected turn of events

Today was Interview Day at school, finally! I have been geting geared up for it for over a week, and was finally starting to get nervous. Interview Day for Hort, and Diesel Technology, is when prospective employers come to the school and sit through a series of first-interviews with students who are interested in working for them. The slots are twenty minutes long, and they get a chance to meet six or so students, learn about their majors and their employment wishes, and decide whether they want to schedule second interviews. Kinda like Speed Dating.....except not. :o)

Well, I went into the day knowing that my first interview was going to be with a company I REALLY wanted to work for. Small and rural yet a complete package as far as landscaping goes...and desperate for good help, including a Landscape Designer. I had another interview with a local golf course, and one more with the greenhouse manager at school.

Something totally unexpected happened: the landscape company seemed to have little interest in me, and I wasn't surprised. I do not, after all, have much experience and wasn't really qualified for the type of position they wanted filled. But the golf course....wow! Turns out I was exactly the type of person they were looking for to help rehab, redesign and restore the landscaping on the course! It was an excellent interview, and they really liked me. They asked me to come in and fill out an application, and they won't have to ask twice!!! I relish the thought of working for them. It is some design work but not on a large, formal scale, but it is much more working outside taking care of the plants, coming up with ideas, doing some planting, learning some pruning, garden-type maintenance. Things I am very, very qualified (and eager!) to do.

So, I didn't expect this. But, I did, first thing this morning, pray about the day and relinquished all control to Jesus. "This day is yours, Lord, to do with what you will."

I am surpised at the turn of events....but then again, not really.....

Friday, February 6, 2009

Blast from the Past

Yesterday my son signend me up on facebook, so now I am one of gazillions on "the illustrious facebook" as our Sofe so put it. It's fine, I will probably enjoy it. But an early surpise came in the form of finding an old aquaintence, a youth pastor from way back and the man who married me and Steve, Pastor Pete! It was wild to look at his facebook page and remeber some of the past. He and his wife married barely a month before Steve nd I, and we were PP's very first wedding he performed! Now he has five kids and is in Florida again after a stint in New England and the Middle Eastern Seaboard. What a trip.

Tonight was Family Fun Night to benefit the seniors at the kids's school, and I was asked to be in charge of planning, organizing and preparing the meals to be sold. It is a huge undertaking, one I always underestimate. But I think our seniors did excellent work, and likely made a LOT of money! I learned a lot about planning meals for many people, especially when you don't know how many people will be there.

I have to admmit that I didn;t want to do it. After all, I have three big exams coming right up next week, including almost sixty trees to be winter-ID'ed and common and botanical names memorized, Botany, and Nursery management. It is a LOT coming on all at once. Oh, and let's not forget interview day on Wednesday! But it's good. Tomorrow I will have to study. I love my classes, and can't wait to work in the field.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Circling Back Around

And I don't mean circling the drain! Ha ha! During some research for a school project I came across a landscape and design company not far form here, a homegrown business that has been viable and growing for several decades. The deisgn portfolios they offered for viewing online were lovely, too, and just my cup of tea style-wise. When I realized they had just hired a Landscape Designer from Kish two years ago I thought, "Dang! Guess they won't be needing anyone for a summer internship!" Then, when we driving to a basketball game, we happened to pass right by one of their offices. "Oh," I said, "there's ______." So, imagine my delight to discover they were on the list of interviewers for our interview day at the school! The best part is that because they are significantly more westward than most students in our department, I didn't have a lot of company on the list to interview with them. This means not a lot of competition. Woo Hoo! My delight quickly turned to excitement, which threatened to bubble over my imagination. What if? What if? Now I am a little afraid to keep wanting it, because I don't like to deal with the disappointment. It is a lovely small company, I am not looking for an ambitious career, and it is a relatively close drive. I dreaded the thought of potentially commuting to the suburbs for a minimum wage job.

If there are any praying types out there, please feel free to offer one on my behalf. May I interview well, and may their hearts be moved to hire someone with little formal training, more practical experience, and a whole ton of passion and willingness.