The end, for now

Sad news on the garden front. The new property lessee ask us to be out by March 1st. Apparently, the sewage system needs to be redone and it runs directly and shallowly under the garden (oh, crap! Literally.)
So, we are out.

What now? We could up and quit, but that doesn’t sound like Christ calling to me.

I can think of three choices -
1) wait until CC finds land to rebuild
2) find a new, temporary host site
3) partner with other churches to build gardens on their property, setting the garden up and then working along side until the host church takes over. We could be Christ Church Appleseed. Or Johnny Christ Church. Don’t get too hung up on the name, just now.
I like option 3, but I want to hear from you.

Thank you to everyone who has served in the garden. I hope and pray it has blessed Austin’s homeless, MLF, CC and all who worked in it. I can tell you that it has blessed me!

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Our last harvest of carrots et al -

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The Main Mobile Loaves and Fishes’ Garden Experience

“Lead By Example” is one of those things people that train leaders are always going on and on about. So I decided that, since I am pushing for all of us to go volunteer at the main MLF garden after working at the CCG, I should get on over to the MLF Garden and see how it works. I hope all those leader teachers will be happy with me.

So I loaded up our two three year olds and we went out to the garden. Now, I think that anything that I can do with two three year olds is easy enough that anybody can do it. Also on this list – watch cartoons, and, well, I’ll keep you posted.

We showed up and were greeted by all involved and given a task that was suited to both the little ones and my skill set. Weeding!

Weeding with Wondergirl! You know you always wondered what she did in her spare time.

Weeding with Wondergirl! You know you always wondered what she did in her spare time.

I learned a couple of amazing things out there – 1) those little ones are good at weeding. Which I guess they should be, already so close to the ground and all grabby as they are. 2) Chickens will eat bermuda grass and make eggs! OK, I already knew that chickens made eggs, even though I missed that day in veterinary school. But I did not know that they eat, nay, prefer bermuda grass! They take in the bad of this world and make good things for all. Those chickens are leading by example.

We took plenty of breaks to play.

Rakes, horses, what's the difference

Rakes, horses, what’s the difference

Heidi, who was running the show at the garden that day, showed us that they have cotton planted there. One of the friends of the garden had donated the seeds that she had saved from her childhood as a share croppers daughter some 80 plus years ago (pretty amazing story, but you have to go out there to hear it). So, we were allowed to harvest actual cotton bolls and talk about where our clothes come from. We discussed this for upwards of 20 seconds until the kids got bored and ran off.

Learning! Education!

Learning! Education!

Then, we had brunch! All the workers from the two separate MLF garden sites (there is the model village and a farm – again, you have to go out and see for yourself) gathered, prayed, ate and talked.

Brunch!

Brunch!

Two fine examples of brunch fare

Two fine examples of brunch fare

We wrapped up with some more playing.

Just a swingin'

Just a swingin’

So to summarize, we had a great time. We worked, we learned, we played, we ate and we formed community. We met the MLF team, other volunteers (including one lady that insisted that I make the kids wash their hands before eating! I mean really, a little dirt is good for you, right? Right?) and the formerly homeless that work with MLF.

A brief point worth noting – the same formerly homeless team members who helped CC build CCG are still working with Steven and Heidi at MLF (not counting Danny – who’s story you can read here.) I am not a trained missionary or philosopher or theologian or really qualified comment on the wondrous work of Jesus in anyway, but I suspect that the changed lives of Mike, Allan and Anthony = awesome. God is at work at MLF and GG. And in us at CCG! Yes, we are thankful!

What Up With That August 22nd, 2012 edition

Since it seems we have some new readers, I thought I should remind everyone why the weekly update segment is called “What Up With That?”. Before you open 1)Prepare to have that hilarious song stuck in your head for between 3 hours and 12 days. 2)The views expressed on the fictitious show What Up With That and real show SNL are not endorsed by Christ Church, Genesis Gardens, or most of rational humanity. This link is for entertainment purposes only and should not be opened if you are a serious person or have ever considered yourself offended. Yes, so that is where the name came from. So here we go (oooo-eeeee…..)

What has been -

Seth and I hit the garden on Saturday. I was distracted by work issues and forced to use my phone as a phone instead of a camera and neglected to take any photographs other than this one of a fuzzy caterpillar on the red okra

It didn’t look like he was bothering us, so we didn’t bother him. Besides taking his picture and posting it on the internet, which is pretty offensive if you think about it.

We did get our work done. We weeded, watered, fertilized, tied up the tomatoes with twine for the 73rd time. I got out and slung the sling blade to take down the humongous weeds outside the fence. I even found a ready to harvest watermelon (from the melon ring by the sign, remember?) once I cleared the space a bit. I don’t know what the weeds are. They look like weed but I assume they are not as 1/3 of Austin is not out there smoking them. Whatever they are, they grow well there.

Annie Crawford came out to water this week and had good reports on tomato growth and overall thrift of the garden. Thanks, Annie!

What is yet to be -

No Saturday work crew. I will be at my real job. I think I may hit the garden Sunday post church, but no one else should have to see it in the mid-day sun. It’ll get you down.

To-Do-

  • Hold tight! Fall is coming
  • Weed, water, harvest and pray.

Volunteer schedule is coming, I promise!

Mustard Seed Cafe Visit (or The El Paso Invasion)

As some might know, I work in the Equine (that’s latin for horse; yes, we are a pretty uppity blog, here) industry. I see equine athletes every day and while they are all amazing, there are some that I always get a kick out of – the hidden gems. The ones that don’t look like super stars, but are. The ones that surprise everyone with their heart, moxie and prowess. You’ve read (or seen) Seabiscuit – that kind of horse. What kind of person can’t get behind a horse like that? (safety tip of the day –  try not to get directly behind horses, it can be dangerous back there. I meant metaphorically “get behind”)
I met some people that reminded me of those hidden gem horses last week. Normal people. Like me, like you, like our church is full of. But they are doing something incredible – they have heart, moxie and prowess that surprises people. Here is where they are different from those favorite horses of mine (besides the obvious 2 feet versus 4 hoofs, et al. Stick with me, people!) – it is not by their own might or power that they are incredible, but by the Spirit of the Lord! He moves with power in them, urging them on to an amazing undertaking, specifically this – to love and serve their fellow man by starting The Mustard Seed Cafe.
The group responsible came from El Paso to see our garden and use it as a model for a garden to include with their cafe, and to meet with Steven Hebbard of Genesis Gardens to learn more about gardening and serving the poor.
I must admit, I was more than a little excited to show our garden off. And more than a little prideful that we had done something here that others wanted to see. But my unwarranted pride quickly faded into humility as I stood in awe of what they are doing, what Steven is doing, how little I know about poverty, how little I know about humanity, how little I know about God. For some part of the day I started to wonder what we are even playing at, thinking we are serving the homeless with our postage stamp garden that will feed three people with undersized tomatoes on a good day. Is it merely serving our (mostly my) ego?
But, as you know, God is good! I needed to have my eyes opened. I needed to see what is out there to be done, what people are doing and I needed to again, over and over, every day, be reminded that it is by God’s Spirit that we have the love to do this. When my eyes were opened to that fact, I saw also where our garden is part of his plan – to paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt, “we are doing what we can, with what we have, where we are.” It is good. But it isn’t enough and it isn’t all we are going to do. Led by God, through his Spirit, we can and will do more! We can be normal people and doing wonderful things, just like they are at the Mustard Seed Cafe!
That is what I learned last Thursday and, I’m sure you can tell, it kind of (ok, really) blew my mind. I hope the kind folks from El Paso learned a little bit about gardening and starting a community garden in exchange, but I’m pretty sure I got the best of the trade.
Special Thanks to those normal, amazing folks from El Paso – Christi Brown, Patsy and Trey Burdick, Shelley and Terry Speicher