Howdy Y’all. Lori here from McDowell County WV. It’s finally happened, we got every one of our participants garden spots plowed and tilled! I’m not sure who is happier, us or them. I am leaning toward us just because it means we can get more in the ground at the center.
This installment will have some pictures that our participants sent to us. They are proud of what they have going on and we are proud of them. Many have reported that they have harvested peas, potatoes, strawberries, lettuce, onions, and greens. Most of them have small tomatoes forming or their plants are starting to flower, and their other plants are doing well, and their seeds are sprouting.
We at the center harvested a mixed bushel of greens yesterday, it was collard and mustard greens. We got a bushel of leaf lettuce the week before. Today we got less than half a peck of peas but the plants are still full. We built a couple more beds on the parking lot and made some more tire planters. Thanks to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church from Pittsburgh we have more seeds planted! They planted beans, okra, squashes, zucchini, pie pumpkins, carrots, and cucumbers.
It has been so hot lately that we are really surprised that everyone’s plants aren’t totally cooked. We let our participants know to water when it’s cooler and water the roots instead of spraying the whole plant. There haven’t been an problems reported. It rained today and created a rain forest type atmosphere which the gardens are going to love.
Now is where I get to share a bit of ridiculousness with you all. I mentioned St. Paul’s Pittsburgh a few lines back, they are the work group that we have in this week. There are 31 of them and they split in to 4 different groups and one got to stay at the center to help us. Since our gardens are so far behind our participants we had them working on weeding a raised bed and planting some other ones. I heard some one yell “Miss Lori, Miss Lori” and immediately beat feet to the parking lot to see what was going on. The group leader with a look of fear on her face said there is a copperhead in the ditch next to the bed they were working on. After I got my skin to crawl back on my body I told them to get back so no one got bit and screamed for DJ. It’s always DJ. He came right away which impressed the group leader, and I told him there was a snake that needed some killing. He grabbed a hoe and went to the ditch to try to find it. He did and promptly cut it’s head off. The kids were sort of excited about it because the severed head was still trying to bite. We told them not to touch it and we put a rock on it. They asked what we were going to do with the dead snake, I said it would be bagged tightly and be thrown in the trash because if you just throw it over the hill or something it will draw other snakes. One of the boys asked if you could eat it. DJ said yep. Another boy wanted the skin. because he is fascinated with stuff like that and I guess he has a pretty large skull collection (that’s normal right?). So what happens next is DJ skinned the snake, removed it’s insides then handed it to me to wash (pictures will not be shared). Let me tell you something, it was so hard to keep my cool holding that thing and taking it to the kitchen. While I was washing it DJ mixed up some eggs and flour then heated some oil. Next he cut up the snake and breaded and fried it. Their priest was the first one to try it, and the kids followed suit. They LOVED it. These privileged city kids willing ate and liked fried copperhead! After that they wanted to learn how to process chickens so DJ and I showed them how to do it. We had too many roosters given to us and we had to thin them out. The boy that wanted and kept the snake skin wanted the rooster skulls, so he got those as well. After their food lesson, they went back and finished weeding the garden bed, and planted the carrots. The following day they got the rest of the beds and garden spots planted. They also picked and washed the greens and bagged them up to give out to people. That experience is something they will never forget, and I know that the snake and chicken part has nothing to do with the program but it does teach them about food, especially food that is healthier than what comes out of a grocery store.
Without further ado, here are some of the picture from our participants:
Until next time, let me leave you with this picture of our bull calf Smiley. We all need to be that happy!