Tyler teaches James about technology :P

And James blogs:

"Today led to the continuation of several of our currently ongoing projects: the ever present weeding, sanding of the former hands-across-america table, and just tendi
ng to our beautiful garden. Our crew today consisted of our fearless leaders Becky and Jerome, several Sisterhood members- Jackie Chance and Anna Kiluba- as well as Natalia Truszczynski , Sarah Weck, Tyler Bronaugh and Beth Byers all home from college, Audrey Linville and her mother, Joyce Crawford, Grace Reida, Jessica Zanellato, Chris Barnett, and myself.

Between Grace and the Sisterhood members, the former table was sanded and a coat of primer was put on. It may have taken three weeks, but the table is finally almost ready for full painting. Jerome, with help from Grace, Beth, and Tyler, restained both of our stained tables and then put finish coats on them, making them ready for yet another year.

With permission- finally- from our lovely school's administration, myself, Grace, Jessica, and Chris all headed down the hill and filled up two buckets of sand, which we then promptly carted up the hill- good lawd, those things were HEAVY. It took Jessica AND Chris just to get the second bucket up the hill. They pulled weeds from the beginning of the path, and sand was put down and brushed in as we went.

The rest of the crew spent time out in the beds with their weed pullers and hand shovels, yanking out our accursed/beloved weeds. Work on an in ground butterfly puddling area began with some more of our hauled up sand.

A fairly relaxed day in all, with plenty done on the current projects.

I think that those of us no longer here would be proud."

Cloudy with a chance of glitter

Due to a chance of rain that did happen about 8am, we didn't expect anyone to show at the garden today. Jesse's dad and I went because we always will and because we'd checked the radar on Intellicast and decided the morning shower was all the rain for the day.

The garden was peaceful and beautiful when we arrived and we decided to move a few plants and pull some weeds. Wonderfully, several of the awesome "Sisterhood" showed up to work on the picnic table (and some glitter magic) as did Josh sporting a new hair cut. He talked and entertained me while I labeled several of our newest garden additions namely, a HUGEMONGOUS bur oak (to replace "Foreboding" - our bare root transplant that didn't survive) donated by Springhouse Gardens.

Hannah's parents also had three lovely fringetrees and three shining sumacs planted by Springhouse around the wooden benches - the perfume of the fringetrees wafted about us and everyone noticed.

While our volunteer crowd was small, and the temps got hot, we managed to get a lot done along with some wonderful conversation. Anna talked about how she loves the hot weather and shared a story about her grandparents visiting from Africa and how it snowed and they asked "Is this the end of the world?" So now their story becomes a part of the garden and their granddaughter, a student at Dunbar, has afforded us the chance to celebrate her heritage. Of the many "things" that make me smile about this sacred space, the diverse groups of students participating in it together makes me proudest for Jesse, for Hannah, for Josh.

The picnic table is now ready for a coat of primer and several plants were relocated. We pulled some weeds, ate some burrito's and sent Josh off on his bicycle to visit Chris. After the garden Jerome and I FINALLY managed to stop by Landscaper's Corner and meet the incredible Elaine Pence who donated a huge load of compost to us back in June of 2007 (and a major reason why the plants are doing so incredibly well). One of her employees is a Dunbar graduate and we were thrilled to meet Matthew and to thank Elaine. We are kind of slow but we do remember everyone who has helped in this work. And that's a very long list!

<3 Jesse's Mom

In the absence of thunder - Hannah day at the Dunbar Garden

We dedicated our work at the Garden to Hannah - who has been gone from us for one year this week. Hannah loved and protected the garden even when she wasn't working in it. She laughed and cried, carried pavers, moved mulch, raked soil and occasionally spread out on a picnic table in the shade to just be. Hannah's handprints are all over that sacred space and while she will forever be a part of it, working in her name this Saturday allowed us to not only remember her but to honor what she did and how she did it. We love you, Hannah!

About 20 people showed up and while there had been rain in the forecast, we had
a perfect day for weeding and playing. It was a wonderful mix of old friends and new ones and while there was a minor issue getting back to the garden (a district track tourney was being held at Dunbar), most of us managed to maneuver our way through the pylons and youngsters to be together. We put out a dozen purple balloons and most everyone wore something purple for Hannah and after hugs and chitchat we got down to business. Namely, pulling weeds and an assortment of sunflowers whose seeds were spread by the birds and wind.

James set up work on the picnic table that is being refurbished and had a little help from Suzy, Grace and Jerome scraping and wire brushing. Tag teams were formed in the garden - Hannah's dad with help from Audrey, Sandy, Rose, and Tyler set off in the left bed while Elizabeth, Ariel, Sarah,Beth, Austin and Trent buried themselves in the sunflowers. We had a furry, four-footed source of great entertainment in "Chewy" - Ariel and Trent's adorable pooch who decided that he would pop every balloon in the garden - and almost did. He spun circles around us all and while he pulled no weeds he made up for his lack of a work ethic by sheer energy levels. Seth sauntered up on break from Berea College - a n00bie to the garden but certainly a wonderful and well-appreciated addition.

Sarah and her mom brought some beautiful annual flowers purchased from the Dunbar Band's Plant Sale so Sarah proceeded to fill up every empty container with yellows, pinks and purples. Trent and Austin helped her create a sweet area around our "Anonymous Dogwood" and then they mulched it down for good measure. By the time the noon hour struck and while the clouds started rolling in and threatening rain, we'd managed an incredible morning and the garden looked AWESOME. Carol showed up with a handful of pink, purple and yellow butterfly decorations that were placed around the garden and we all hugged our way back out again - and carefully drove through the track crowd.

While I stand proud, amazed and humbled each time we collect together to do this work, today was a particularly beautiful day with a particularly beautiful group of people who all seemed connected in a very particularly wonderful way. When Jesse's dad said to me later "What a great group at the garden today" I could do no more than agree.

Dear Hannah,
I hope you saw us there.
Jesse's Mom

April showers bring ... May showers (aka the Claymation of James)

In Kentucky they say if you don't like the weather stick around, it will be totally different tomorrow and this week has been no exception. After 80plus degree temps last week things cooled off as the rain moved in but every forecaster had a different opinion for what our 2nd work session Saturday would bring. Luckily, Ms. Eller - Dunbar's pottery instructor - gave us a fall back plan to work in her room on the ceramic tiles we've been making.

All this rain was supposed to pound through the area yesterday but by late afternoon the skies were kind of clear and the temps were nice so I took a risk and wondered out to the garden in the 5:00pm Friday afternoon rush hour traffic (I'm a whiz sometimes). But, I am glad I went and packed a few empty plant flats because the conditions were perfect for digging up some "narrow leaved" (also known as "lance leaved") goldenrod, a bit of oxeye sunflower and a few large stalks of Sarah's ever-spreading bee balm. The bee balm and sunflowers made the transition easily but the goldenrod is still a little droopy today so we'll just have to wait and see how accepting it is of transplanting.

Several plants were in bloom including the vibrant bright colored "wild pinks" and the London Grove blue phlox. The Cranberry Viburnum and the Chokeberries looked awesome. I spotted the shoots of the 2nd butterfly milkweed (an incredible plant that I just read should be displayed as a specimen in a premo spot) and while I considered moving it while I was there, just got too nervous and opted out. The indigo's (both white and blue) are growing in leaps and bounds and since this is their second year we should have some gorgeous flowers this season.

Due to my "whiz-dom" I left the camera at home but am hopeful that sometime this week we can get some new pics posted on the website at www.jessehigginbotham.com/garden.html.

So, back to today - our 2nd work date in 2009. This morning the skies were gray and obviously we'd had rain overnight which made sanding work on the picnic table impossible. While I poured some coffee a steady drizzle started and I new, I mean "knew," that our work today would have to take place indoors. James and Jerome showed up about 9:30am informing me that there would be no training lab for Mindtriggerz as the park shelter had been promised to another entity :(

So we sat and chatted and ate a little breakfast and then James and I headed out to Dunbar to post signs at the garden about moving indoors to Ms. Eller's room. While there two students showed up and I got a call from Natalia and we all headed around front to go "be artistic."

In the course of the next couple of hours we had about 15 people come in and out working on either creating new designs on tiles or painting glaze on the ones that had been bisque fired. Ms. Eller's incredible daughter Lily, aged 5, provided us with much entertainment and instruction. She moved around the pottery lab in a fashion that reminded me of Jesse - totally at ease, totally "owning" the place, offering her advice and working on her own project. We had several Beta's show up including Ellidia (who dragged in late and looked a bit under-rested but had a generous donation for the Trust) along with members from the Sisterhood including Jackie who was accompanied by her beau, the handsome Kendrell who is getting ready to graduate from Spencerian as the first recipient of the Jesse Higginbotham Scholarship. After obtaining his degree in CAD - his plans include continuing his education at UK and studying architecture. It was a great treat for me to get to see him again.

While I missed digging in the dirt today it was a super cool crowd and I think everyone had fun. We are uber-excited to have more tiles to install in the garden and I know that with the addition of all these other new faces the reason and purpose of why we do what we do will continue to spread and grow like the showy sunflowers.

Oh and lest I forget the Claymation of James, well he did this really cool tile but when he went to make his second he managed to drop kick it or something and well the backside was a mess. He salvaged it with a little clay magic and a beautiful stamped pattern and it was in fact, all good.

We are aspiring for good weather next Saturday as we dedicate our work at the garden to Hannah Landers who would definitely want us outside in the sunshine - where she was so many times, laughing and talking and working and sometimes just "hanging." Oh yeah, and bossing us around. May 6th will mark the passage of one year since we lost Hannah in an auto accident and it's difficult to talk about her without crying and missing her so much. But next Saturday we are donning something purple for her and working as she would at the garden, with our friends.

Forever loved, forever remembered - Josh, Jesse, Hannah. <3

Jesse's Mom

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