Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Gardener's Clothes

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

40.8° already with a bright sunshine rising above the tamaracks and spruces. Gail just headed out withe Karl the Wonder Dog for his "real" morning walk, suggesting that my walk at 5:30 in starlit darkness really didn't do the trick. The critters of the woods will be out and about now and there's no doubt Gail will return with a story. She and Karl have seen more big game on their morning walks than most hunters see in a season. I cannot get many stories out of Karl save for a waggy tail but Gail gives good detail about how close they get to deer, bear, moose, woodcock, partridge and turkeys. Their encounters have always been positive but some of the stories raise concern.

I really intended to get back to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay and then head up the coast for a ways before returning to Portland for a night or two. I usually do this in October by myself but this year there have been too many chores and I have to be content with looking at pictures from previous years. This one up top is from a few years back and I always look it over again because of the great use of color, height and texture.

Every gardener has fall chores and one of ours is the local winter clothes exchange. Years back a local lady who runs the food shelf and handles all kinds of situations for needy people started a winter coat exchange. She had always worked with local kids and ran a day care that cost free-to -nothing because she knew the long term importance of starting kids off with a good education. She was also concerned about kids keeping warm during Vermont winters. Over time the coat exchange became a clothing exchange and a sandwich board notice by the side of Route 2 brings in a bundle of people each year. This happened last Saturday and Gail volunteered as she always does. It was not a gardener's fall responsibility perhaps but for Gail this was an important part of community life in rural Vermont. After this year's floods and the very poor economy here, being warm is a serious challenge so warm clothes can help.

The stories Gail brought home of who she helped pick out clothes would bring tears to your eyes. Getting a warm thank you hug and a smile from someone you've never seen before is a memory that doesn't leave quickly. I mention this because every gardener needs new clothes once in a while--jeans without holes in the knees, socks without toe holes, gloves that match and don't have missing thumbs, a hat with a visor the dog didn't eat yet. But gardeners all live in a community where everyone may not be as fortunate as they are. If you are a gardener and your community is having a coat exchange soon, go through those closets and drawers and help out. If you have a little time, volunteer to help. The reward will be like planting seeds. It may take a while to see the real proof but it will come in great glory.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where a flock of Canada geese appears heading in the wrong direction if they want to spend Thanksgiving on the Chesapeake.
"Nav-i-gator--check the maps!"

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and also as George Africa
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm

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