My blog earned its first (and I hope not last) award, the Honest Scrap Award, given to me by Daphne’s Dandelions at http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com.
Woohoo! I won, I won. There. That fulfills the first requirment, bragging about the award. How embarassing.
The Honest Scrap Award comes with five requirements. I must:
1. Brag about the award (did that).
2. Include the name of the blogger who bestowed the award on me and link back to the blogger (did that).
3. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that I find brilliant in content or design.
4. Show their names and links and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog.
5. List at least ten (10) honest things about myself.
Some of these requirements are probably beyond this newbie awardee, but I’ll do my best. Here is a link to Daphne’s Dandelions, a wonderful vegetable gardening blog from Massachusetts with meticulous record keeping. I’m learning a lot about both blogging and gardening from visiting her site. Thanks for the award, Daphne. http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com
The third is going to be harder, not because I can’t find seven worthy blogs, but because most of the blogs I visit have already received the Honest Scrap Award. Well, what the heck, they can get the award again.
Gentlemen, the envelope please. Here are my seven picks:
Thomas’ A Growing Tradition for its fabulous photography, writing, and content. http://www.agrowingtradition.com/
Vrtlarica’s Moj Vrt for showing us her interesting garden in Croatia, and for her effort at traveling 50 kilometers every time she wants to tend her garden. http://vrtlarica.blogspot.com/
Barbara’s Gardening in Mannheim Germany for her allotment garden, and for being the first person to comment on my blog (and I see that she just bestowed the Honest Scrap Award on me today–funny. Thanks, Barbara. http://www.gardeningingermany.blogspot.com/
Anna’s Flower Garden Girl blog from North Carolina. It was talking to Anna at the Garden Writers Association conference in Raleigh last September that got me started in blogging. Anna’s blog is full of videos and humor, as well as lovely photos and great tips, and just passed 200,000 hits. http://flowergardengirl.wordpress.com/
Gavin’s The Greening of Gavin for showing us in words and photos how he is changing to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle in Australia at http://www.greeningofgavin.com/
Heather’s Idaho Small Goat Garden for her posts on chickens, among other things. http://smallgoatgarden.blogspot.com/
Dan’s Urban Veggie Garden in Ontario because he’s the youngest blogger I follow and because his blog is so beautiful with photos of veggies AND cooking. http://veggiegardenblog.blogspot.com/
Now for the really hard part, ten honest things about myself that I’m willing to post for all eternity in cyberspace for the world to see.
1. In my parttime day job, I teach conservation awareness at the Orange County Conservation Corps to Hispanic gang members. My homies are mainly male Hispanics ages 18-21, many are gang members, and most are on probation for felonies. Sounds scary, but these are some of the best kids I’ve ever worked with. They’re at a stage in their life where they are turning their lives around. I’ve seen hundreds of them go on to happy, productive, honest lives. It is very rewarding to be there as they change themselves, and to play even the tiniest role in the process.
2. Due to California state budget cuts (this economy really is in the toilet), I’ve been cut way back at work at the Corps and haven’t worked there since September. (I still have my newspaper column, but that doesn’t pay quite enough to buy a week’s groceries.) I’m not laid off, but my work hours and pay have taken a drastic hit. This is what has given me time to do the backyard makeover and begin blogging.
3. I love to cook.
4. I hate to do dishes. Indeed, I hate all housework and seldom do it. If Vic doesn’t do it (thank God he does kitchen cleanup), it doesn’t get done. My carpet looks similar to my compost bin.
5. I have hair that is really thick and long. I cut it every so often and donate it to Locks of Love, a non-profit that makes wigs for children with cancer or alopecia.
6. I’m concerned about global warming. I think it is the biggest threat facing mankind and that within decades we’ll be seeing crop failures all over the world because of our new spastic climate.
7. I’m concerned about overfishing of the oceans. I follow the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch List and avoid eating fish that are not being sustainably fished, or that may have high levels of toxins.
8. I believe in ethical treatment of animals, but I’m not an animal rights activist. I eat many vegetarian meals, but enjoy meat too much to give it up. I’ve bought meat directly from farmers, but it’s more expensive. In these tough economic times, I won’t pass up a mass market 35 cent/lb turkey.
9. I wonder how many more gardening years I have left. I’m two months shy of 67, so I hope to garden for at least another 10-15 years, and I hope to not outlive those gardening years. I’m pretty sure that ten years from now I won’t have the ability to do a makeover like what I’m doing now, laying pavers and planting bulbs while down on my old arthritic knees.
10. This one is the hardest. It’s the reason why I’m redoing the backyard and trying to make 2010 our best, prettiest and most productive garden ever. Our older son (of two children, both boys) died on December 4 in 2005, just three months after my mother died. I was still in shock and grief over the loss of my 94-year-old mother, when Bob took his own life on a Saturday morning. He was 43. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach when Vic told me. All the air went out of me and I felt diminished. Crushed.
It has taken me many, many months to climb back up into the light. But Vic and I went to grief therapy with a really good counselor, and I learned to focus on positive things. I kept a daily diary in which I wrote down only the good things that had happened that day, or the good things that I did for other people. It took only six weeks of this process to reprogram my brain. I became a much happier person. I still miss my son, but life has become good again.
And so, upon the inspiration of my gardening friend Norma in Boulder, Colorado, I decided to dedicate my garden to Bob. I want to make it beautiful and productive to honor his memory. And every rock that turns up in the soil, I view as one that he put there to remind me of him. I view it as his way of saying “Hi, I love you,” to me. I miss his phone calls. I miss hearing his voice. I miss my handsome, red-headed boy. This helps me cope.
And that, my friends, is as honest as I can get. May the peace and beauty of gardening be with you always.