Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Oh, the Pressure!

It was a dark and stormy night....last night....except for the almost constant lightning.

The good news is that rain in town measured between .9 and 1.5 inches! The not so good news is that corn in some gardens was pushed down.

At our Hands for Growing garden the corn looked a little disheveled but all in all, really good. 

And, there are ears of corn peeking out!

 No watering was needed, so our scarecrow, Jack, got a haircut.                                     

And then, there was this...

....what are they all looking at?


melon that has grown into the hole in the concrete block.
We worked and worked to get it out but it has become one with the block. So, when it's ripe we'll just cut if off at the bottom and enjoy the top!

Eventually, we got to the planned session today, which was pressure. We talked about times we feel pressured, and what that's like. There were only 6 participants today (fair week, family visits, etc) so we divided into 2 groups and made up skits showing examples of situations where kids might feel pressured.

Some of the kids felt pressure by having to come up with a skit and present it!

After that we talked about the reason for flowers on plants. Without flowers there are no seeds, without seeds, there are no more plants. And since our growing season here is limited plants are under a lot of pressure to produce seeds.

We hunted for seeds, which were taped onto paper and labeled. The hunting was funny and exciting, and turned competitive.

There were times when they thought they found seeds, but it turned out to be pollen or some other little part of the plant. We also discovered the plants whose seeds have been dispersed and those whose seeds are not ripe. 
                         At the end of the hunt the two groups shared their discoveries.

                                              We turned our attention then to peer pressure. We started by answering questions about peer pressure and shared answers and discussed. 

Because the group was so full of energy today, we changed locations and had a lot of engagement in a discussion on what peer pressure is and isn't. 
It's exciting to see when ideas pop into their heads and they share them with each other.
To wrap us this busy, funny, energetic day everyone got to choose from the prize bag. That is always a hit!    
Next week: A Little Help From Our Friends

Thursday, July 12, 2018


Oh my goodness, has it been hot! We are in a week of upper 90's, which is great for wheat harvest, but hard on people!

Water, always important in the garden, is even more so now. We gave everything a little extra water today to get it through the coming days of heat.

It was fun discovering new little watermelon, tomatoes and peppers!

Today's garden piece was about respect in the garden. We had a poster with the headings, Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible and Be an Ally. We named specific ways to accomplish each of those and took turns writing it on the poster. Pairs of participants had paper copies to work on and all of them got passed from pair to pair as we moved through the page so that everyone would have a part in creating the main poster.

After a break to
 run off some energy, and a great snack of popcorn and watermelon, we moved to the relationship piece of the day.

We talked about the many ways we can respect each other, identifying specific actions that show respect. We talked a great deal about respect for ourselves. After all, if we don't have genuine respect for ourselves it's going to be hard to have respect for anyone else.

Each person filled in a heart shape with things that they like to do  and things they like about themselves. That generated a lot of conversation.

This week there is homework...come back next week with a list of things you can compliment yourself for, and each day this week sincerely compliment someone. That's alot of positive for the coming week!

Next week: Oh, the Pressure

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Identifying Signs

This week was all about signs.

To begin, we named signs that we see everyday, and talked about why they are important.

In the garden we identified 10 signs of a healthy garden...foliage growth and color, water that soaks into the soil immediately, the presence of frogs, and the presence of birds, bees and butterflies, flowers (to invite the pollinators), bushiness of perennials, worms in the soil and minimal weeds.

As we looked at our garden we found that we have 9 of the 10 signs of a healthy garden...we haven't seen any frogs in the garden. That may be because we don't have a source of water for them. What makes that difficult is that standing water also makes a great place for mosquito larva to live, and we certainly don't want to be creating a place for them!

But, overall, the garden is looking great!

Since we were talking about signs, we ran off some energy by playing "Red Light, Green Light." 

Then, of course, the snacks!

For the relationship part of the day we identified and discussed signs that can be a cause of concern in relationships. Each person chose a paper with a caution sign on one side, and the concern on the back. The person who was reading explained their understanding of the sign, and then everyone who wanted to added to it.  It
is encouraging to hear how aware these young people are of warning signs and knowing what to do if they see any of these signs.

To finish this post, here are some pictures of the garden on this early July day.

 Next week:

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Thugs and Bullies

This week was about bullying. In the garden, we talked about plants that run over everybody else, crowd other plants out - and are, in general, thugs and bullies.

We also talked about safe way to control plants - and animals - that can create havoc in the garden. In Hands for Growing we learn about healthy relationships, and that includes having a healthy relationship with the Earth.

One of the plants that can take over and edge others out is our soft, beloved Lamb's Ear. A lot of it had to go. This was in our animal plant section, so in its place we planted (thanks to a generous donation)  some Dragon's Blood Sedum. We've never had dragons in our garden before!

An old-time way to safely deter pesky critters is to use a scarecrow. So, we put together our own scarecrow. Scarecrows have also been referred to as Scarebirds or Jacks-of-straw, so our straw brained friend was christened Jack.

It took a lot of stuffing and figuring out how to make everything fit and stay - but we got it done!


Drawing ideas for the face

Ahhh! Everybody is scared of the scarecrow!
Ta da!

 Jack doesn't have a face yet, hopefully next week.
Our new garden buddy - Jack
 For the relationship piece we talked about bullies and abusive relationships, and how to deal with those situations in ways that are safe and non-violent.
We talked about the harm that words can do, and what happens to a person who lives with abuse and bullying.

 There was good discussion and questions.


To bring home the point that once harmful words are out they're out there, that there's no taking them back as if they were never said
we did the toothpaste exercise.

Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, you can't get it back in the way it was before.

Next week: Identifying Signs

Oh, the Pressure!

It was a dark and stormy night....last night....except for the almost constant lightning. The good news is that rain in town measured b...