Thursday, August 7, 2014

You'll Find Me in My Garden

Some summers, I spend a lot of time reading and writing.  Lately, however, I've been taking lots of time to be outside and working with my garden.  It may be that I spend so much time sitting during the school year -- working on the computer, grading papers, reading for my classes, etc. -- that I want to do something completely different during my summer break from teaching.  Or, it may be that since I'm inside for so much of the rest of the year that I want to be outside as much as possible.  Or, I'm avoiding some of those big and little inside chores, e.g. laundry, dishes, cleaning closets, sorting through the basement storage.  Whatever the primary, secondary, or even tertiary motivations are, most days you'll find me outside in the garden.

Working in the dirt, compost, and growing stuff in my vegetable is highly satisfying.  In the spring, armed with my spade and pitchfork, I work the soil by myself, turning it over and mixing in manure, organic fertilizer, humus, and the lovely compost from one of my three bins.  Sometimes a child or two will help dig, edge, and work the soil for my gardens.  When the soil is prepped and before I put in the fences, I will stand back and look at the brown soil as if it were a blank canvas. Even though I've been pondering my arrangement of plants during the wintery, snowy months, I like to think about this dirt, full of potential yet currently without any visible growth.  In four short months, it will be brimming with nutrient dense foods not only for my family, but for neighbors and friends.

Sometimes it is good to acknowledge the blank canvas in order to more fully appreciate the finished product.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, and for that reason, I usually plan my syllabus so that we're discussing poetry during April.  A few students love poetry, while some really dislike it.  For the most part, however, students are fairly ambivalent towards reading poems for class.  They don't love it, but they know it won't kill them.  Honestly, I think this is the attitude for most people, students and adults alike.

Some poetry is pure fun.  Take the limerick, for example.  It's short and cute, and it doesn't require too much deep thought:

There was an old man with a beard
Who said, "it’s just how I feared!
Two owls and a hen
Four larks and a wren
Have all built their nests in my beard.
- Anonymous

There once was a lady named Sue
Who had nothing whatever to do
And who did it so badly
I thought she would gladly
Have stopped before she was through.
- Anonymous

There was a young fellow who thought
Very little, but thought it a lot.
Then at long last he knew
What he wanted to do,
But before he could start, he forgot.

- Anonymous

Some of you may be thinking to yourselves, "How can I participate in this illustrious event?"  Below are some links for anyone wanting to explore more of their own poetic natures:

Poetry Through the Ages
Poem-A-Day e-mail sign up
A Brief Guide to Poetry Slams
30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month
National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo)
The Academy of American Poets (for more information about poets and poetry than you could read this month.)

Have fun!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

New on Etsy!

Boutique Part One was at our house last week. Boutique Part Two is an online fundraiser at the Etsy Shop, JasperGateAll items currently for sale at Jasper Gate are as a fundraiser for Ryan Prichard's trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand to participate in a Discipleship Training School (DTS) with Youth with a Mission (YWAM).

Below are some samples of what you'll find at Jasper Gate: