Sunday, October 26, 2008

Inspired by Spain - Rachel's necklace

Had a bit of time this afternoon and created this multi-colored bead necklace. The center finding looks moorish. Like something you might find in Spain. This is the Rachel necklace.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Macomb Conservation District 's Tree Sale

I had one more volunteer activity for the month of October and that was participating in the Macomb Conservation District's fall tree sale. The District provides trees in quantities of 10 or more to residents at a very reasonable price. About five days prior to the sale, the plants are dug from the soil and shipped to the sale site. Volunteers sort and package the bare root trees. Each plant has a moisture mixture surrounding the roots to keep them alive and healthy.

These trees provide wind breaks for landowners, stabilize sandy soil and provide better air quality. Trees available included Norway Spruce, Austrian Pine, White Pine, and Colorado Blue Spruce as well as other conifers. Tulip, crocus, hyacinth, and daffodil bulbs were also for sale. The bulbs were shipped directly from Holland a day before the sale. Pretty fresh bulbs if you ask me.

The Macomb Conservation District is a great organization that has provided this service to the community for over 20 years. If you are in the area, look for it's next sale in Spring, 2009.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk

Each year, I participate in a 5k walk against breast cancer. The walk raises awareness of the disease and funds to help find a cure. This year, I walked around the Michigan's capitol building in Lansing.

It's amazing to hear survivors stories, watch the teams and just participate the camaraderie of the day. I walked for my cousin who was diagnosed with the disease a month ago.

About a month before the walk, I start raising funds. I fell a bit short of my $200 goal this year. I'll make up for the shortfall next year. Every bit helps to find a cure for the disease.

Please support the efforts of those you know that are participating in your town, work, neighborhood in the fight against breast cancer and all cancers. To those that already contributed to the American Cancer Society; thank you.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Landscaping for Habitat

For the past three Saturdays, I have volunteered to landscape houses built by Habitat for Humanity. This is a terrific organization that builds homes for people that previously lived in sub-standard conditions. These homes are not free. Families have to qualify with a minimum income level and then they also agree to work on building the home.

In my community, Habitat built three homes this year. The support from volunteers was tremendous. I only played a small role in making the outside of the abodes look more inviting. My team finalized grades around the perimeters, planted trees, bushes and perennials, installed edging and layered mulch. There were no egos involved. Kind of like "Extreme Home Make-Over" without Ty Pennington.

We started at 8:30a.m. and worked throughout the day. Last weekend, a group from the Marine Corps helped along with several church groups. The following Wednesday, members of the Coast Guard installed sod for all the houses as well as some plants.

It sounds easy. Dig a hole and stick a plant in the ground, cover the roots and water. Sounds easy until you remember that roots get bigger. Trees get large and grow too close to houses. Water lines and the amount of sun a plant gets all are important considerations. A sun-loving plant will die if grown in the shade and a plant that loves water will wither next to a sidewalk.

I wish I had taken a camera with me to the Habitat site. The transformation of each house was incredible once the landscaping was complete. The homeowners were thrilled.

Each new owner got a brief introduction to their plants. Many of the other volunteers that helped with with the installation learned about soil types and light requirements for plants. As a Master Gardener, part of our directive from Michigan State's extension office is to impart plant knowledge within the community. I think we sparked a desire to learn more about the fauna around us. So many people had questions. It was a success.

I had such a great experience with Habitat, that I want to volunteer for the build next year. Can you imagine me with a hammer and a hard hat wearing jewelry?

Because I made a commitment to help with Habitat, I didn't have a lot of time to make any new creations the past few weekends. Now that I have a little more time you can look forward to more postings soon.