Evaluating the Year of Change
~ Maureen D. Brucker
As you know, from the last installment,

we have now linked three gardens about

town, for mutual help.  For me, it was a

wonder to watch.
How can I forget the day Ruben came in

absolutely giddy about the quality of eggplant

plants he was able to score from a local vendor?  The joy in his voice was amazing.  His reports on the tomatoes and peppers were equally filled with joy.  This is a man of 45 with a very mundane maintenance job.
The children have spent part time delivering our overflow tomato crop to the neighbors.  It is a fine way to get to know people on a one on one basis.  In many cases, they have returned with fresh product in return.  A more than equitable exchange.
Layla and Christina spent a day of very hard work moving the fire pit to the upper level of the garden where we once had a sweat lodge many years ago.  The initiation included the burning of old branches and the roasting of marshmallows.
Not everything has been joyous, however.  A day after Christina published some rather nondescript pictures of the improvements on Facebook, Ruggles, the well-loved American Bull Dog, was found dead in the back yard.  The lack of blood and the presence of a bunch of yellow flowers, reminding one and all of the animal killings where they used to live.  Ruggles was well loved and Ruben Lee did not deserve, at 12 years old, to be the one to discover the death.  Unfortunately, the city and county are uninterested in following up on such deaths.  We are working on increasing protection around the house but much is yet to be done.
On a happier note, it looks like, with vigorous pruning, the apple trees will both survive.  Now to expand the orchard.  We already know there will be sand plums as a windbreak.  Raspberries will go into the moister lower area.  Will research the possibilities of peaches in a bit of a memorial to three trees on a different property, that were mistakenly cut down by an over-zealous city forester.
Beyond the orchard, we are in need of a sage bed.  Not to mention a bit of an herb garden, perhaps in the front of the house under the locust tree or a wall garden at the rear of the front patio.  We will see. 
A planning meeting would be best.  Something on a winter’s day when everyone can come together.  Perhaps around a lovely pot of tea, scones and light sandwiches to create a comforting and festive occasion.
Speaking of winter and the cold weather, I ask you again to think of those in need of propane. 
Football season has been upon us for a while now.  Here are a few football themed suggestions for gathering money for our less fortunate relatives –
n     the all popular ‘rez can’ that sits on the buffet table or is passes around during breaks in the action.
n     -- a football pool where half the winnings are donated to the fund.
n     A nominal admission with the proceeds going to the fund.
n     A silent auction of football cards with the fund as benefactor.
n     A taco sale at the house while watching the game.  For those with the knowledge, perhaps Indian tacos, all for the same worthy cause.
Whatever you choose, be sure to send the proceeds to the EREZ fund at https://www.whispernthunder.org/news-home-page.html  . Thank you!