Monday, January 11, 2010

For MB

Today in homeroom, my students told me, in hushed and awed tones,  that a couple former students were involved in a shooting death this weekend. Apparently, one of my former boys got upset at a dice game, took another boy's gun, and shot the boy he was upset with. They are in ninth grade. Fourteen or fifteen-year-olds. Rumor also has it that the shooter panicked and took the body to a local fast food joint and then skipped town.

  The shooter was a kid who I would describe as a big teddy bear. He never had issues with other kids and was very popular. Now, he might not have been the best student academically, but he wasn't a kid who I would expect this from. I could make him cry if I wanted to.

I spent the rest of today watching my current seventh graders work in pairs and then separate and cozy up in bean bags for silent reading time. They are so small and so innocent and so ignorant of how cruel life can be. 
Which of these will I be hearing tragic stories about in 2 years?
Which will not make it past the age of 20? 
After I left teaching in juvenile detention, I would follow the crime beat in the Boston newspaper. Many, many of my former students are dead. It's not shocking to me anymore, but it is still saddening.

The Mississippi River is mostly frozen over. Yesterday, we drove up river to look for eagles and to check out the amazing and beautiful ice floes. The ice is broken up into 2-inch thick slabs and there are actual snow drifts across the ice in some places. When you stand still, you hear the quiet sounds of the ice moving and cracking against itself. Even the sun doesn't penetrate the frozen, otherworldly feeling you get when you see the ice field.
I  imagine the hearts of the mothers involved look like this. Cold and broken with no signs of life.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Many Moons Later...

I've found that there is a dearth of St. Louis urban garden blogs. Or, I've found that I can't find them. So, just like when you skid in snow, you know you should steer into the skid, I see that this blog became a garden blog without me realizing it. I'm steering it that way, then.

It is almost painful to read the last posts as I sit here, trapped inside the house because it is 7 degrees outside. I've been trapped inside for the past 4 days, due to 2 snow days, Saturday and today being Sunday. The couple inches of snow have not melted. The dog still demands a walk each day, even though she gets snow between her toes and then limps the rest of the way home.

But how could I resist that grizzled face?

How did Rabbitt Gardens turn out?
1. I made 5 bags of marinara sauce.
2. I roasted and mashed and froze 2 bags of mystery winter squash.
3. The potato/tire planter suffered too much water and did not work. I have hopes for this year, though.
4. Squash has to go somewhere else next year. It grew into the alley and became a nuisance.
5. Watermelon wants more sun.

6. I will never plant corn again. Sure, it looks neat and orderly, but what the squirrels didn't eat during the day, the raccoons or possums ate at night.
7. Cleome has tiny little painful spikes on it.
8. Money plant reseeds like crazy.
9. I will pull up all dill I see next year.

10. Tomatoes are going in a different place this summer.
11. The front yard is a fine place to grow peppers.

Pictures, you say? Sure, I've got lots!

There were 3 pairs of goldfinches that hung out most of the summer, working on the 3 varieties of sunflowers I grew. The one in the top right is not deformed; he's just itching.

Monarch caterpillars on dill:

Giant yellow and black garden spider. She had made a huge web conveniently across the top of the compost bin. I almost walked into it, and am glad I didn't, for that would have taken years off my life. Here, she is eating a grasshopper, which I am very thankful for. Where do these things come from?!

The last picture of the garden.

Then we look forward to orchid blooms and Christmas cactus blooms:

So, stay tuned as I plan for Garden 2010!