Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Just wanted to let you know I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. My year-end college recruiting activities are going on now. In the community college world, a lot of students make up their mind to attend a CC at the last minute, so we do a lot of recruiting events this time of year. What's more, the student club I advise has been putting on events left and right--last weekend we held a two-day "Madden" tournament. (Before this weekend, I had no idea that videogame football is so popular.) Our event was packed with some very serious videogame players. This weekend, the student club is doing a car wash. And in two weeks, we may be going to Chicago for the day (this depends on how successful our car wash is!). In my spare time, I've been reviewing scholarship applications, attending the occasional student achievement dinner, etc. It's a busy time of year in the community college world.

But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. In just two weeks, spring semester will be over. The college will be deserted for a couple of months, and I'll have some time to dig through the paperwork piled on top of my desk: do my budget for the year, turn in my travel expenses, rewrite my student worker training guide, etc. During the summer, I'll do some marketing writing, work with the web guys to redo a few of our webpages, visit a few businesses and community organizations for some "non-traditional recruiting efforts." Mostly thought, I'll be planning for the recruiting season to start all over again.

And in my spare time, I've been doing some gardening. After many hours spent pulling dandalions, I had to give up that fight. I made a sizeable dent in the dandalion population in the front and back yard, but the side yards are riddled with the little buggers. I just couldn't keep ahead of the blooms, and now the side yards are filled with white puffs. My goal is to continue to pull dandalion weeds through the summer to see if that won't make a difference next year.

The plants I ordered over the winter all came in one week. I planted five shrubs, two blueberries, 50 strawberries, and 200 ground cover plants in about two weeks. The entire time I was working on this project, our weather was really windy. It didn't get really cold, the wind just blew like crazy. It didn't even rain that much--just this stong, persistant wind. This made working outside really unfun. And then, last night the temperatures got down to freezing. I managed to cover up all the new strawberry plants and most of the shrubs, but I knew I'd never get all the ground cover plants covered. This morning, I went out to check, and the ground cover did not look frosty. This might be because the ground cover is planted on the side of a hill, or maybe its because the hill is pretty well shaded by some big trees. Anyhoo, I don't think the frost damaged the ground cover plants last night. We'll see what happens tonight. We're supposed to get down below freezing again. I would like to point out that we are now four days past our official "last frost date." Grrr.

Speaking of the ground cover plants, the plants that I ordered were the tiniest plants I'd ever seen. I ordered vinca from one of those mail order nurseries. Vinca is supposed to be a general-purpose kind of ground cover. Hardy, hardy, hardy. The 200 plants came in a box small enough to hold a pair of shoes. The individual plants were not much more than long stems with one or two leaves and a very few roots. Rightly or wrongly, I went ahead and planted these tiny plants out back. When I look at the hillside out my back window, I can barely make out a sprinkling of leaves bobbing around in the wind. The instructions said to get the plants into the ground as soon as possible, but now I'm wondering if this was a mistake. Maybe I should have brought the vinca plants inside and started them under lights for a few weeks until they were a little more substantial. Outside, the plants seem to still be alive, so we'll see what happens.

In the mean time, I have a bunch of little flower plants wanting to get in the ground. The seedlings I started under light are eager to go outside. Over the weekend, I'd hoped to get them all planted, but when I went outs with my trowel in hand, the wind blew me back indoors. Now with the frost, I see it was just as well they are doing some time under lights. The flowers are pretty well "hardened off," so I think they are safe to go outside once we get beyond "all danger of frost."

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