Rites to Garden???

With spring and beautiful weather upon us, everyone has been so anxious to spend some time outside. Though we’ve all found ways to enjoy the early spring weather with bike rides and meals on the porch, we were able to devote this past Saturday to some yard beautification, and gardening. This turned out to be much more of an adventure than we’d originally planned….I guess by now I should come to expect those things…

Anyway, we began by raiding the garage for supplies; some we’d bought in the fall, some generously bequeathed to us from the first Ruka, and some mysteriously still around from the previous homeowners. Nonetheless, we found lots of pots behind the garage and some mystery veggies growing in our compost pile as we took some out to put into the planned garden. After surveying the supplies and a little research (both online and from more experienced gardeners) we took a trip to Home Depot. Side note: I was personally very excited on this venture because the plants had all come from a nursery in a small town near my family!  Then after much more weed pulling than anticipated and a couple individual battles with some ivy that certainly demonstrated a mind of its own, we were able to put some flowers into the back beds as well as some pots for the front and back steps. Not to mention sunflower seeds near the garage! All in all, with the help of the previous tenants who left some roses, azaleas, and a hydrangea, our yard currently is just so colorful, that as dorky as it may sound, I get really excited about!

Next we took on the box garden for our veggies. The plan being that since we’re in the same house now and through the summer, we’ll be able to really enjoy all the fruits of our labor.  So, using some seeds and some plants we now have two rows of green beans, multiple colors of bell peppers, a couple tomato plants, a jalapeno, an eggplant, and zucchini. Believe it or not the placement of each item was meticulous processes  to maximize growing given none of us are exactly green thumb professionals.  However, we were also able to use a large tub as our new herd garden. It currently hosts basil, cilantro and rosemary with the plan being to expand the better we get at this.  But also offers an exciting way to cook with things we’ve grown ourselves which is so encouraging.

The Ruka day continued from there, after washing off what dirt we could see (come to find out some hung out on my face for a while unbeknownst to me), we headed to Caritas for an afternoon at Rites to play with the Peacemakers! In addition to rediscovering my love for inflatable slides and face painting as well as actually appreciating physics (however briefly that may have been given some not so stellar past experiences), the day was full of so much laughter. I don’t think I realized at the time-but thinking back, those kids and that day were completely stress free—something that’s pretty rare in my life at Rhodes I hate to admit. But the ability of Rhodes to give back to Memphis and our ability to be a part of it was so incredibly rewarding that homework and assignments or due dates just didn’t seem to matter quite as much. I was reminded of the joy in the little things whether that is the first baby green tomato, a corn starch and water mixture squishing between fingers, or a day spent among friends. And the craziest part is, I hadn’t realized how consumed and overwhelmed I really was until some elementary school students pulled me back out of it all.  And it is those moments, or rather the reflection on them later, that I realized we’ve all learned so much this year. You never really notice it as is happens, but each of us consciously making the choice to put our time into something besides ourselves or our school work illustrate just that: not only did we spend time with one another and with some pretty amazing kids, we were invested in our community, and as I realized that day, the community gives us even more.

Shannon

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