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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Butterfly Tuesdays

As I entered through Peace Patch’s white gate this morning, I remained in a half-asleep daze. The morning blues consumed me until the team’s eagerness to conquer the tasks ahead sparked immediate excitement! We began the morning by clearing the beds containing any visible weeds. They were everywhere, and seem to never stop coming back! Clearing the weeds takes little manpower, but great patience. Walking through the garden, I noticed the ‘Three Sisters’ were absolutely covered with them.

The ‘Three Sisters’ is an ancient Native American method of growing corn, squash, and beans closely together so that they actually benefit one another. They encourage nutrients in the soil, while preventing any weeds from growing. Unaware of this sufficient and sustainable gardening method, I mercilessly pulled out dozens of them surrounding the mound. Only until after I finished clearing did our (I.S.) leader, Katie, mention that the 'Sisters' were doing the same work all along—just over a longer period of time; they grow in manner that deters weeds from getting sunlight, eventually riding the mound from them.

After I got over my embarrassment, I noticed bees were also doing work. Taking pollen from the squash plants’ flowers, which rely on bees as they have both male and female blossoms, the important bugs transferred pollen from the flower to the squash’s leaves; thanks to these tiny helpers, squash reproduce other squash!

Now, I felt entirely useless! Not only were the ‘Three Sisters’ taking care of the weeds, but the bees were also repopulating the squash! I continued through the garden, only to see Katie completing a brand new immaculate gourd bed.

This made me more eager to do something productive, so I decided to help Cam dig a large hole to make way for our new compost pile.

Competing against one another, in a friendly manner of course, we created an ideal spot; eventually, water will be trapped below, encouraging the compost to turn into healthy soil.

We placed the compost pile’s wooden cage above the hole, and reinforced it with extra dirt.

The Peace Patch is proud to announce a compost pile trifecta!

Shortly after, our students came outside to learn about butterflies—rather, they came outside to teach their mentors about butterflies. They knew every aspect of their developing process!

Convinced they had it down cold, fellow volunteers, the students, and I went on to play a tweaked version of ‘Rock-Paper-Scissors,’ reformatted to the development of Butterflies: whoever won a game would rise in the ranks of turning from an egg to a caterpillar, cocoon, and finally into a butterfly.

I am proud to say I took one final beating, losing six times in a row to Lakewood’s brilliant 2nd graders.

Until next time,

Nicholas Ginsburg

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