Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bird Houses

Last year Harrison Park brought in an organization called Elpis Enterprises ( Once again Elpis Enterprises came to the Park and brought a fun project for the kids to attempt. Like last year the project used wood, nails and a power drill to make a birdhouse!
Using the forms to align the wooden pieces.
Elpis Enterprises brings homeless youth together with their communities while teaching them trades and leadership skills. When Elpis comes to Harrison they usually bring 2-3 youth who run the show and work hard.
Sometimes hammering can get tricky!

It's exciting to use tools and pound in nails but sometimes there needs to be a bit on finesse to get the nails to go all the way in. Patience was important as well attention to detail! I was very impressed with how well organized Elpis was and how they were able to troubleshoot any problem that arose!
When the birdhouses were finished we got some free seed to feed the birds with a hanger to put them in a tree! I put mine up and within hours the squirrels were all over it! The plan is to cleverly devise a system to outsmart the squirrels. We will see how that goes!
Winston, myself and Simya
This is my third year working at Harrison Park! It's amazing how quickly these kids grow up and how much Harrison means to them . Harrison is a community park and there is no charge for the kids to be there nor is there a required attendance. The kids come and go as they please. The important part is that they WANT to be there. I have had a blast working with each of them and influencing how they view the world. Simya lives near me and I have really enjoyed seeing her at the park, at the library and at Theodore Wirth this winter!!! She truly takes advantage of the awesome opportunities around her!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Spring Time = Garden Time

Working in the garden

After a long season I am finally home again in Minneapolis. The end of the season was a bit of a disappointment with bad luck and exhaustion. I could think of no better way to recoup and relax then to see my family! It's been almost a year since I last saw them at our wedding and I was excited to catch up with everyone after one year of being a married woman and a homeowner! The trip was jam packed with fun and excitement and I wish we had more time to see everyone more. We did get to see my dad and his girlfriend Jeanie, my mom and my step-dad, my brother and his girlfriend, my grandmother,  Brian's sister and her boyfriend.

After such a mild winter I couldn't help but start thinking about starting a garden as soon as I got home to Minneapolis. Well, less then two seconds at the curb with our car Brian and I were greeted with hugs and warm welcoming by the neighborhood kids. They were genuinely ecstatic that we were home again.
We invited the kids to come over and start planning for the garden. We first assigned everyone a vegetable or fruit that could grow in the upper mid-west climate. There were a lot of requests for bananas but I had to explain that it was just too cold here for them to grow. We settled on greens, cucumbers, peppers. string beans, carrots, squash, and raspberries!!! We drew out a plan for the garden and decided to start the next day.
Garden Planning     

  The next day was perfect weather to start raking and digging. We found the area of the yard with the most sun and got to work clearing it a and preparing the ground for the plants to come. After almost 5 hours of work we had a beautiful section of earth awaiting the nest step.

After a long day of work it was time to celebrate with a marshmallow toasted over our burning brush pile! Yum!!!

Making the path to the garden!

 There is a frost advisory for tonight so I am glad that nothing is in the ground yet. I hope to get to the garden supply store this week to either get some seeds or some started plants! More pictures to come of the finished product!  The garden represents a great accomplishment for the kids in our neighborhood. They are excited about the ability to grow their own food and to learn about the benefits of composting and recycling.