Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Fortune Cookie

Yesterday it was spring.  The air was warm and the crocuses were blooming.  Unfortunately, I didn't know that they were crocuses... and I didn't know the name of the ornamental grass, or even the half in bloom pussy willow.  As I walked with David Fernandez around Cayuga Landscape, he would point excitingly to a plant starting to bud and ask me if I knew its name.  Sadly, I knew none of their names.  Yes, I felt totally out of my league.  Fortunately, David and the crew at Cayuga Landscaping are some of the nicest, most enthusiastic bunch of people.  They have no problem explaining even the simplest of flowers to me...Actually, I think they kind of like it.  Nevertheless, my new mission for this week is to post a picture of a plant EVERY DAY. And list its name.  And hopefully stamp that information permanently in my brain.  Then, I can always come back into my journal and review the names I forget.  So, here you go...

Crocuses.  These crocuses are not fully opened, but I liked this picture because it shows how many different colors crocuses come in.  Crocuses are perennial flowering plants native to the coastal regions of Europe. There are seven different species of crocuses.

There we go! One flower now in my knowledge forever.  Anyways, yesterday I had my internship at Cayuga Landscaping.  At first, I ended up in the office room, stapling and making copies.  I was secretly thinking to myself...uh oh, this is going to be a real internship where I do only the mindless work isn't it?  But, I also thought how grateful I was that Cayuga Landscape was letting me just pop by every Wednesday and follow them around.  Luckily, I only made a few copies and found a typo in their newsletter before David escorted me out of the office. He handed me off to Melissa who was 'planting' bare root bulbs.  I learned a lot from Melissa.  Bare root bulbs are sold in the very early spring, and they are kept in gravel so their roots do not settle into place.  Then when a costumer wants a certain variety, it is very easy to just pluck the bare root right out of the gravel.  It is very important to keep bare roots very moist, so their exposed roots do not get brittle.  The last thing I did before leaving, was made label cards for all of the bare roots and placed the labels next to the appropriate bulbs.  Pretty productive day.

What the weird thing was though...I met my mom and sister for Chinese food after my internship.  We talked and ate and at the end of the meal, of course we got some fortune cookies.  And guess what mine said?
            "Your love of gardening will take on a new meaning in you life."

That is exactly what it said. GO FIGURE! How weird, right?  We will see...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Architecture Tour

On Thursday the 24th I accompanied the Learning Web to a tour the Tetra Tech architecture building in Ithaca.  First off, I guess I had never given much thought about what to expect.  When I arrived at their office, I was very impressed with the design of the building.  All of the furniture, lighting fixtures, desks, even cork boards were innovative and trendy in one way or another.  It was a really cool thing to see.  Most of the tour was about architecture as it applies to buildings.  But, there were some landscape architects in the building.  Unfortunately, the tour did not cover what their daily work consisted of, so I got the contact information of the woman who led the tour.  I am going to e-mail her now see if there is a time when I can do an interview with one of the landscape architects.  What I enjoyed most about this tour was that I could see where my field of interest can be applied to in the real world and turned into a career other than just being a gardener or building your own landscaping business.  I am looking forward to learning more about their firm.

Other things to do this week:
-Tomorrow is my internship at Cayuga Landscaping
-Thursday I have a presentation in my composting class!
-By Friday, I need to fill out my WISE self-evaluation form.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Child Laughs

Sorry, take a moment and bear with me.  I am facing a obstacle in my personal life, and really slowed me down.  Have you ever experienced anything quite like it?  My family assured me that everyone experiences challenges that totally set one back.  But I never imagined being so bogged down and so undetermined and motivated like I usually am.  For my mental well being, my homework for this week is not to focus solely on WISE and other school work, its to focus on making myself lighter again. 

A Child Laughs by Mark L. Stinson
Sometime, somewhere,
A young child is playing in a field.
His friends - the golden leaves and the waving grass.
Dancing, singing, calling aloud to the wind -
Laughter is his one rule and concern.
When the darkness comes to devour him
he giggles at it and makes a joke...
The darkness is burst. The child laughs.
This simple dream -
a vision of innocence and beauty,
is the light that casts my shadows -
The splendor that makes our darkness
ever more deep.
I wish I could laugh and play
like the child on that bright day.

It will take time, but I am already on my path to a better state of mind! Sorry if this is a tad over-emotion for all of you.  Not to worry...just thought I would share.

Anyways, I have a lot to talk about what I did last week.  I think I will blog about that tomorrow.  Today in class we started off by taking a lap around K building, which was very fun and refreshing.  We also did a show and tell! Which I didn't get to do, but will do next week. 
Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I had a plan to write every day of the week.  I wrote Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Then life came and knocked me down.  For some personal reasons, I was unable to write the rest of the days.  I do have things to say though.  Just no energy to say them.  Luckily my three entries a week is covered.  My writing challenge will have to take place another week.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 1

Despite the cold, the snow, and the ice, I headed out to Cayuga Landscape this afternoon.  We discussed the possibility of future spring days.

David Fernandez was in his office when I met him, speaking with another possible intern. He was a perky, happy man who radiated a sincere personality.  As we sat in his office, we discussed how I became interested in landscape design.  The conversation soon shifted to him recalling stories of the people who first inspired and worked with him as a landscaper.  Next we flipped through pictures of previous Cayuga Landscape projects.  We discussed each picture, its types of flowers, ornamental conifers and stone work.  I learned a lot about what types of plants the company uses the most, and what techniques (such as color contrasting) they use.  It was really nice talking to David Fernandez, he seemed eager to work with me even though I am such a beginner.

I met a lot of other Cayuga Landscape employees, and they all seemed really nice.  I was slightly intimidating.  Although my Timberland hiking boots matched those of the other employees, my skills seemed to be a barrier.  I couldn't just jump into a conversation about the bare bulbs in the back shed.  I didn't know half of the information that they talked about.  I really hope that I can learn more and feel more comfortable with such experienced people.  The next step I want to take before next Wednesday is learned more flower and plant names and being able to identity them.  This will really help me be able to be more involved in their work.

I'm excited to see what this internship will bring me, I have a lot of work to do to though in order to feel up to par with my fellow landscapers.
Hopefully no school tomorrow either!! :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I am an Intern

Hello Everyone,
You are now reading the blog of an intern at Cayuga Landscape!
woooohooo!! I'm so excited! David Fernandez called me today after school and I'm scheduled to start tomorrow!  I can't wait...I hope it serves to be beneficial for me.

The main concept of today's post is my WISE HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT.
In class on Monday we began to read Happiness Revisited.  For homework, we need to do some responding and answer some questions.  So, here we go:

1)When do you feel most happy?
I definitely feel most happy when I am surrounded by people who care about me and who I care about in return.  These include my best friends, and my family.  In general when I think about when I am most happy, it is when I am with other people.
2)React/Respond to Article.
I found myself reading this article effortlessly and disappointed when the page ended.  Some of my favorite text from the article included: "Is this because it is the destiny of mankind to remain unfulfilled, each person always wanting more than he or she can have? Or is the pervasive malaise that often sours even our most precious moments the result of our seeking happiness in the wrong places?"  and "For each person there are thousands of opportunities, challenges to expand ourselves."  This article served to be motivating for me and inspiring.  Yes, a lot of outside factors can tamper with ones happiness. But what about the things that we can control?  In order to be happy, we must first have a control of our inside emotions.  I think this is extremely difficult to do, but definitely worth while.  And when the article mentioned that overcoming challenges is usually what brings the most happiness, inspires me to challenge myself more often.  Because it is true, after studying for four hours and getting an A on a test is quite rewarding.  And working out everyday and winning a volleyball match does give me happiness.  So what are other challenges, maybe more mental, that I could do in order to achieve happiness? Food for thought...
3) Where are you on the flow chart?
Good question.  Hard to say.  I feel that for me, I am all over the chart.  Sometimes I am in the bored out of my mind portion of the chart, and that is when I come home from school and veg out on the sofa because I can't motivate myself to do anything better.  Other times, I am on the anxiety portion of the chart.  This is when I have homework up to my neck, compost class at 6, and I am having a fight with my best friend.  Fortunately, there have been times where I have achieve flow.  Regardless of how long this flow may have lasted, I still have experienced this.  I think what would be beneficial is to record when that flow is achieved, and then proceed with life according to the results....
4)How has this changed/remained the same throughout the course of your project?
I am going to take this question a step farther (or backwards?) and start from the beginning of the year in WISE.  At the beginning of semester 1, I was in the flow.  I had ideas about my project, but there was no rush, and I had Ms.G as a teacher everyday and she was awesome.  Then I transitioned into the anxiety part of the chart, as I realized I couldn't decide on a project.  But, when I did decide on a project, I was between flow and low anxiety.  Now I am getting into the boredom part of the chart.  I am in a schedule that consists of research, e-mails and compost class.  This is getting a little boring.
5)How can you achieve flow?
I assume this is for my WISE journey..not life in general. I think to move back into the flow part of the happiness chart, I need to mix things up a bit.  As I just mentioned, my routine is getting a bit dull. Maybe my internship tomorrow will provide an opportunity for some new ways to make my project more exciting.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Writing Challenge

Today in class we talked about our projects and such.  A lot of discussion about what our projects were and what we liked about our classmates blogs.  One thing we discussed is how hard it is to make a post everyday.  A few students have tried this, and although everyone thinks it is a good idea, it is difficult to do.  So this is my writing challenge.  I will see if I can post at least once every day!  I hope this works out...but I admit it may be a little boring for the readers.  We will see!

When I opened up my Yahoo account after school today I was pleased to find two very special e-mails.  One was from David Fernandez.  He said that today, being the second day of spring, unfortunately a little gloomy though, meant business! He said he would call me tonight about scheduling.  As it is 8:00 pm now...I have a feeling he may call tomorrow.  That is all fine with me, considering he is doing me a big favor!

I also got an e-mail from Dan Klein. I had e-mailed him earlier about where I could do my end of the year community garden.  He is the director of the Tompkins County Beautification Brigade.  He said that the Ithaca Children's Garden may have a project for me! So I e-mailed the Children's garden right away.

A few other updates...I e-mailed Tiffany Flemming, Cornell Education Outreach.  She said she will keep her eyes open for possible locations for a garden and ways to get funding for my materials.  I also e-mailed a few of the contacts that Claudia Brenner sent me... but no response from them yet. 

No compost class this week... I hope to get working on my shelves on Wednesday because that's when my mom can help me.  Also I want to get out in the spring air and see whats blooming! Happy Spring.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Annual Garden

The typical annual garden, filled with a mix of colorful flowers and ornamental plants.
Annuals can be grouped by color, giving off certain moods.  For example, the picture above is an all-white garden, giving off a peaceful ambiance. 

-Annuals need to be in well-drained soil.  If in pots, the pots must have drain holes.
-For best results, dig the garden bed 8-10 inches in depth, removing any weeds,clumps, sticks, stones, etc.  Add fertilizer and well-rotted compost and mix all together.  Let this mixture set for a week.
-Fairly easy to care for, just weeding and watering is all that these plants need.

-Wilting/collapsing= Either too much water, or a deprivation of water
-Clusters of green insects=Plant lice, can be rubbed off or watered off
-No flowers= Needs more sunlight, or special fertilizer for flowering plants
-Black/yellow flecks= Due to red spider mites.  Means the flower needs water. Remove mites by spraying the plant undersides with strong streams of water.

McDonald, Elvin. The 400 Best Garden Plants: a Practical Encyclopedia of Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs, Trees, and Shrubs. New York: Random House, 1995. Print.

Two Tramps Practicing...

To clarify the title, it's just a mix of the titles of the two stories we had to read for homework this week.  They were Practicing, and Two Tramps in Mud Time.

First, Practicing was a clip from an Internet article of some sort explaining the importance of practicing a skill.  The article describes that hands-on experience has no substitute, and that the only way to put your knowledge to use is through practicing.  Another topic that the article covers is getting out of ones comfort zone.  A person may practice something for so long, and get very good at that thing.  But the next step is to practice other material.  Getting out of ones comfort zone with help them expand their knowledge and gain new skills.  These skills should be reinforced with practice.  I like that the article points out that sometimes practicing is not fun, rather it is necessary.  They use the example that a lot of guitarists like to stick to playing the few tines that they know best.  But simply playing the sames songs over and over only "reinforces your present ability".  And although it may not be fun to play and practice something that you bad at, it is necessary for improvement. 

Second, Two Tramps in Mud Time is a poem by Robert Frost.  I really wish I would have been in class on Monday to have Ms.G's guidance and explanation on this poem.  But I'll do my best.  The main character is outside chopping wood on one of those April days that is hinting at spring, but at the same time threatening to show signs of the wintry cold; when two strangers from the mud join him.  The strangers are lumberjacks and want to chop the wood for pay.  The main character is finding joy out of the chore, though, and refuses to give it up for the two strangers.  The last stanza gives a hint at the theme, and that is that one should find a balance between their avocation and vocation. 

So, how do these stories relate to one another?  I think that others should not influence what you want to do.  If you want to chop wood for a living because it makes you happy, than do it!  And although it feels like you are doing your hobby for a job, practicing is necessary and can help you expand your skills. 
How do these relate to my project?  My project should be administered in a way that makes sense to me, and makes me happy.  And that in order to really stretch myself, I should get out of my comfort zone. 

How will I do this?  I think this coming week I will see what landscaping around Ithaca is visible, and that I enjoy.  It will get me outside and doing something new.  Then, I will try some sketches.  This will reeeally get me out of my comfort zone.

Upcoming Gardening Events

I got this list of events from Master Gardener, Pat Curran.  She also said that info on the Master Gardener class will be held at a informal meeting after April 4th.

Home Food Gardening Basics
This class is for the beginning vegetable gardener!  Learn where to site your garden, how to prepare the soil, how to start seeds, how to plant, when to mulch, and which easy veggies to try first.  Pat Curran, Horticulture Educator at Tompkins County Cornell Cooperative Extension, will also discuss favorite varieties, container gardening, and harvesting tips.
This class will be held Wednesday, March 30, 7-8:30 pm, at Trumansburg Middle School, through the Trumansburg Community Education Program.  To learn more, or to sign up, please go to their website (, which has links to both the course descriptions and the registration form.

Learn to Prune Trees & Shrubs
(3) Mondays, April 4, 11 & 18, 7:00-8:30pm
at Cooperative Extension Education Center, 615 Willow Avenue, Ithaca NY
Each spring, CCE-Tompkins offers a training series for individuals who wish to volunteer with the Citizen Pruner Program and for members of the general public. Three workshops will be offered this year:
·         (4/4) Trees for Challenging Sites, with Dr. Nina Bassuk of Cornell's Urban Horticulture Institute
·         (4/11) Training Young Trees, Pruning Older Trees, and Tools of the Trade, with City Forestry Technician Jeanne Grace and arborist Keith Vanderhye.
·         (4/18) Pruning Shrubs, with Monika Roth, Agriculture Extension Educator at CCE-Tompkins.
Take one or all: classes are $5/each for the general public and FREE to volunteers! Join the Citizen Pruner Program! Citizen Pruner volunteers prune trees and shrubs on streets and in parks throughout the City of Ithaca.  Volunteer once a week or when available, from May through October.  Training dates are held at the CCE-Tompkins Education Center.  For more information, contact Monika Roth at (607) 272-2292 or

Dazzling Dahlias, Colorful Cannas!
Wed. April 6, 6:30-8:30 pm
Cannas, callas, tuberous begonias, dahlias, caladiums, lilies  the list of summer-blooming bulbs is long!  Some are winter-hardy; some need frost-free warm weather but bloom for months.  Some like it hot!  Others flourish in dappled shade.  Come explore the wide variety of summer and fall-blooming bulbs we can grow.  Dazzling Dahlias will take place Wed. April 6, 6:30-8:30 pm at the Tompkins County Cornell Cooperative Extension Education Center, 615 Willow Avenue, Ithaca.  Fee:  $5; pre-registration requested.  Please call 272-2292 for more information or registration.

Easy Perennials for Your Landscape
Tues. April 12, 6:30-8:30 pm
Perennial flowers are nice, but you don’t have a lot of time.  Which perennials are long-lived, healthy, and easy to grow?  This class will cover a couple dozen easy and durable perennials and also offer tips for low maintenance.  Easy Perennials will take place Tues. April 12, 6:30-8:30 pm at the Tompkins County Cornell Cooperative Extension Education Center, 615 Willow Avenue, Ithaca.  Fee:  $5; pre-registration requested.  Please call 272-2292 for more information or registration.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I do not have time for a long post today, so I will just give a taste of what I have been doing:

My mentor meeting today with Mr.C went well, we talked about where I could do my community garden.  I asked about doing it at the school, and there are some logistical issues...but there is a few possibilities.

Composting class was tonight! Composting is actually wonderful.  I hope everyone who reads this blog composts...and if you need help- I'll teach you!!

Anyway in class today we learned more about different types of compost bins, as well as reinforced our WONC and Lasagna layering techniques.
Every bin should have a balance of:


Sort of like in this picture:

I'll elaborate more later...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Computer Screen Nausea

Hey Readers-
How long have you been surfing the web, going on facebook, or blogging?  Two minutes? Half an hour? Two hours?
Well, I realized that I have been doing too much of my WISE work on the computer.  I have been making progress, no doubt, but I would like to take it in a different direction.  I'll still let you know what I have done today in front of my computer:
--My WISE homework which involved reading other student's blogs/commenting on them, doing an online survey and also doing an evaluation for our WISE teachers.
--E-MAILS!!! I have been e-mailing TONS of people to get resources for my projecs.  Today I e-mailed Betty Windstein, who is working with LACS on a community garden, Claudia Brenner who gave me some ideas of who I could tag team with on a garden, and Tiffany Flemming who works at a Cornell Outreach Program.  The bulk of my e-mails are about finding a place to do my community garden.  This is a pretty important step as I want to make it my final step in my project.

I realized my shelves are going so slowly because I don't know squat about woodworking, and rely a lot on my busy mother for help.  For the upcoming weeks I want to get outdoors and do something other than reading, blogging and e-mailing.

This is a picture of how the computer can do a really good job of showing a landscape plan.
Nevertheless, it's nice out and I need to get away from the screen.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Last week was my motivational week.  It did not go as well as I imagined.  But I evaluated what I did and realized it wasn't a complete failure. 

This is what I had planned to do:
-Finish my shelves
-Do some research
-Get an internship at Cayuga Landscape
-Find two possible places for my end of the year community build

This is what I actually did:
-Research on the basics of landscaping
-Gathered materials for the shelves
-E-mail confirmed an internship at Cayuga Landscaping
-E-mailed Claudia Brenner and she suggested two places for my community garden build
-Heard about an outreach coordinator at Cornell who could help me with the garden build

This is what was not done:
-Finishing my shelves
-Determine a regular day to intern at Cayuga Landscaping

So I did accomplish a lot.  But I also got bronchitis on Thursday and that slowed me down.  I did not get to blog about my mentor meeting last week either.  I'll add that right now:

Mentor Meeting 3/9/11
Mr. Creagan and I discussed mainly my internship at Cayuga Landscape.  Luckily, Mr.C is an incredible landscaper, and has done some work with Mr.Fernandez.  Mr. C feels that if I explain the relationship that I have with him, Mr. Fernandez will be pleased with the reference.  According to Mr. C March 15th is the day when landscaping begins.  A lot of people realize that spring is right around the corner and they start planning some landscaping plans.  I hope to be able to watch and learn what the landscapers do.  Also at the meeting we talked about a landscaping project at the school.  The Green Team is planting a tree in the quad this spring.  I am the Co-President of Green Team, and Mr. C is the teacher adviser.  Therefore, during meetings we talk about Green Team matters as well.  He said that together, him and I could do some landscape work with the tree in the quad.  Lastly, I told him that I contacted Claudia Brenner and she promptly gave me some suggestions about where I could tag team with some already started community gardens.  Claudia feels that it would be best if I join up with a project that's already started because a lot of projects like this go through a long approval process.

This week:
I am home sick today, that's why I can sit here and blog away at 2:00.  In a half an hour I will go to the doctor and hopefully get some much needed antibiotics to help me breathe again.  I will have to see what we did at our weekly WISE meeting this morning. 
Unfortunately, the Gardens 4 Humanity class is full. Crap. I am super bummed about this.  So I will have to do the bulk of learning about gardening through research.  That's alright I suppose. 
I also need to keep working on the shelves.  I want to upload some pictures to show you all what it looks like. 
I titled this blog 'Remedies' a) because that's the book I have been reading all weekend while laying on the couch coughing my head off.  b) because I feel that a lot of the WISE process involved remedies.  Remedies for when life comes up, and your project gets second place.  Remedies for when the gardening class is full.  Remedies for when things just don't go your way.  And I think one of the most interesting things about WISE is coming up with creative remedies for your problems.

P.s. I think I should stop making novel length posts.  It's probably discouraging and intimidating to readers...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Landscape Research

First, I would like to say that today we had class.  It was really fun to get back with fellow WISE students and talk about what we are all doing.  Mrs.Gergely also informally raised the bar.  She said that we should be journaling 3 posts minimum a week, and that's just the minimum.  So maybe it is in our best interest to up the ante.  In class we also made a recipe for an excellent journal entry.  Things to keep in mind when I blog:
-Add pictures, add personal input, edit the post, update frequently, don't be repetitive, stay positive about the project and  be creative! Got it?

I must say though- this post may be a tad boring.  It's just a bunch of research that I would like to do to heighten my knowledge.  If I can figure out how to have a separate tab on my blog specifically for research, I will definitely do that instead.

Disclaimer- Research below is very basic, and may seem like common knowledge.  But it's good to start from the beginning and work your way up from a solid foundation!

Research Focus: Backyard Landscaping
- A backyard space can be modified and designed for any life-style, need, use or preference.
- Plan first before designing; make a list of what you want in your backyard
-Start with objectives that will help you achieve your goal with a minimum of time, expense, and work.
-People will not use areas that are hard to get to, so make sure there is easy access between all areas of the space, for example walking paths
-Patios in the form of courtyards go back to the gardens of ancient Egypt
-Patios can be used to make a wasted space usable again; it can also be used for outdoor activities such as sitting, eating, cooking, etc.
-Patios, again, should be designed based on needs.  Big/small? Sun or shaded? secluded or convenient?
-Patios are permanent, and therefore need to be planned in great detail before started
-Plants surrounding patios should add color, form and should not require constant pruning
-Decks combine the comfort and low maintenance of the indoors with the openness of nature
-Plants can be placed on the deck instead of beyond it; these plants need to be in containers and therefore need more frequent watering
-Planting decks around existing trees can provide shade and interest, and can be fairly simple, just cut holes in the deck where the tree is standing

-Built in benches and raised planters can also be added to a deck
-Plan what you want your space to be used the most for, ex: if volleyball is an option, do not fill the space with trees and shrubs. 
-Making outdoor patios and decks too large is a common mistake
-If time spent in the garden is mostly at night, plant white blooms for a shimmering setting
-Garden lighting adds atmosphere and safety- lamps, footpath lighting, candles, and hanging lanterns are all options
-Fire pits and space heaters can be perfect for warming the space on cool evenings

Planning a Project:
The present:
-List what about the space is most enjoyable.  This way you will be sure not to destroy these features as you continue with your design plan.
-Every design should add ease, comfort and delight to the space.  Therefore specific needs should be thought out before hand
-Add nothing to the space without having a purpose to it; whether that be to solve one of your yard's problems or to accent one of its best features
-Look around at other landscapes and pick out good and bad points of each    

Here is a picture of what landscape sketch symbols look like.  This picture just shows tree symbols, but there are all kinds of others like symbols for brick patios, mulch, etc.

This picture, below, I like. I like the tree as the vocal point, it provides shade and atmosphere.  It also looks like there is some open lawn in the background for other activities.  I would change a few things to this space, though.  I would add to the patio with tables and chairs or some kind of system for relaxing.  I would also want to make sure that the tree does not block the view from the house window to the outside.  Lastly, I think I would stain the fence a darker color in order to add to the sort of wet looking environment. 

Reading this step-by-step landscaping first was super inspiring. It really made landscaping look a lot less intimidating.  Plus it got my brainstorming on other ideas for upcoming weeks.  I could observe other landscapes around Ithaca to see what I like and dislike.  I can also do my own practice design sketches, using areas like my back yard for example.

Citation for my research:
Blume, James D. Step-by-step Landscaping: Planning, Planting, Building. Des Moines, IA: Meredith,       1991. Print.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Revamp Week

After doing this weeks homework, which was to read over the journal of a graduated WISE student, I realized that I really need to get the ball rolling.  I am taking classes at the Cornell Co-op, but I need to be constantly aware that time is ticking.  I read the journal of another student, and she really regretted not doing more work and being punctual.  So that's what I plan to do.

I think it would be beneficial if I make weekly goals.  For example, this week my goals are to get an internship at Cayuga Landscape, Build my shelves for woodworking experience, do some research about my subject, and find some possible spaces for a community garden. 

So far, today, I have called Cayuga Landscaping and talked with David Fernandez.  He seemed to think that there would be no issue with getting me an internship at Cayuga Landscape.  He gave me his e-mail and told me that we could set things up that way.  So I immediately e-mailed him.  I also e-mailed Claudia Brenner who has an architecture business in town.  I got her name from the journal I reviewed for homework.  I hope she will be able to give me an idea of where I could do a community garden.  Lastly, I created a paper calender that is huge, and that I wrote down all of my commitments.  So far every Thursday is Master Composter class, Mondays starting next week are Gardening for Humanity class, Wednesdays are mentor meetings during the day, and Tuesday nights are Beautification Brigade.  This will help me stay organized.

The rest of the week I will focus on doing research, building the shelves, and continuing e-mailing with David and Claudia about interning and finding a space for the garden.

I want to upload a few pictures...does anyone know how I can add a picture to my blog? 

Thursday, March 3, 2011


When I initially heard about WISE my junior year, I had my heart absolutely set on leaving a legacy at the high school.  I wanted to do something huge that the school would always have and remember.  One serious thought I had was putting in a system where rain water could be captured and used in the toilets.  In any case, I wanted to leave an environmental legacy.  My project is not on that same path...but I e-mailed Dan Klein yesterday and the word legacy came to mind.

Dan Klein works at the cornell cooperative extension (so far almost ALL of my work has been connected with the co-op).  He is the coordinator of the Tompkins County Beautification Brigade.  I was a part of the Brigade last year, and loved my time spent around town planting flowers.  Just Monday I got an e-mail from Dan about the 2011 Beautification season.  First of all, I thought- whoa! Beautification already? But it was 5 degrees out today! And then I realized, time is going by really fast.  I should remember this when I'm sitting on the couch not doing my WISE work...
Secondly, I thought, hey! Dan knows a lot about gardening! So I e-mailed him a quite lengthy e-mail about my project.  He said he would do all that he could in order to help me find a location for my final project and to supply me with donations.  But he mentioned that before I can start a project like this, I need to plan out who will maintain the garden after it's completed.  I never thought about that.  I just envisioned a huge community garden build day that would be engaging and fun for everyone.  But now I have to think about the legacy.  Some quick ideas are- the Master Gardeners, the Children's Garden, Green Team, the Master Composters and the Beautification Brigade. They are possible groups that could keep the garden in good shape.  I think about that more though...

Tonight was my composting class.  I learned about compost! yayyy!! We mostly did work with outdoor bins.  Not really bins though...more like open piles.  I learned about the Lasagna method of compost.  Layering of materials is crucial to a healthy compost bin.  Carbon, such as leaves and sticks, below nitrogen, such as food scraps, and continue the layering of carbon and nitrogen items.  Sticks are important to a compost bin because they keep the pile somewhat porous.  A porous compost pile allows a good flow of water and oxygen through out the bin, keeping it healthy and increasing the rate of decomposition.  Cool!

I also met a woman tonight at the composting class who works with Gardens 4 Humanity.  I told her about my project and asked if she had any ideas for a location that I could use for my community garden.  She told me to contact Liz Falk, who I know.  So that is the next step! But she did give me another piece of helpful information- and that is I could start my own garden plot with the Gardens 4 Humanity.  She said it wouldnt be a huge community event, but it would be my own space.  The only thing with that, though, is that those plots are not really about design and aesthetics.  They are more about growing plants, especially for people who do not have the space.  We will see.

I want to use this time, and this space to list the upcoming events that I need to keep in mind.  The Gardens 4 Humanity is giving a free 20 hour gardening workshop.  You must attend every session and the dates are as follows: Monday March 14 6-9pm, Monday March 28 6-9pm, Saturday April 2 10-4pm, and Monday April 11 6-9pm. I'm not sure if I am interested in this or not.  Well, thats not true.  I am really interested, I just have to figure out what I can manage before I sign up.  I have the composting class every thursday, and then 60 hours of service to do for that.  Then this class is 20 hours all together, and then you must do 20 hours of service in exchange for the class.  Plus the hours I hope to get at Cayuga Landscaping for my internship= a lot of hours.  I need to figure out whats most important for me and then divide my time accordingly. 

On another note, Beautification Brigade is up and running! The times for that are:
-Tuesday March 22 6:00 - 8:30 BB training
-Monday March 28 6:00 - 8:30 BB training
-Saturday April 2 1:00 until bulb planting at Cooperative Extension
-Tuesday April 5 5:00 pansy planting May
-Wednesday April 6 10:00 pansy planting
-Tuesday April 12 5:00 pansy planting backup date
-Wednesday April 13 10:00 pansy planting backup date
-Saturday May 7 Business Planting Day 10:00 - 1:00?
-Saturday May 14 Plant Sale
-Sunday May 15 1:00 – 4:00 Plant Exchange in Danby
-Saturday June 11, 10:00 – 4:00 Open Days Garden Tour
-BB sessions will again be Tuesday evenings 6:00 - 8:00 and Wednesday mornings 10:00 - 12:00 from mid-May to late June.

Can I handle all of this?  I need to sit down and plan this out! Right now though, I need to do more other homework and sleep.  Tomorrow is friday, thank goodness.  But my weekend is filled with work at Wegman's and volunteering for the Master Composter class.  Lots and lots of work.  Next week is  re-vamp week.  I think I will buy a sizable paper planner.  And start seeing all of my time commitments laid out on one sheet of paper...hopefully that will help.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Positive Reinforcement

I met with Mr. Creagan today, and he gave me a lot of postive feedback!  I mentioned how my project has been morphing a lot over the past few weeks.  I signed up and got into the Master Composter Class at Cornell...which is turning out to be a project all in and of itself! I have class every Thursday night for two hours, and get this- 60 hours of compost related community service.  So yeah, it is a lot of work and I could basically just be a Master Composter for my WISE project.  But I really don't want to neglect my gardening and designing plans.  Fortunately Mr. Creagan told me that the composting class was naturally a suitable topic for my project, because it's important to have compost in the garden.  So that is all well and good.

Next, for homework in WISE right now, we have a student's portfolio/journal from the previous year.  We are suppose to read it and learn from it, and some what critique it.  I am actually having a lot of fun with this assignment.  The student's project is about Arquitectual Design, which is similar to my project in a way.  I even got a contact from her journal. There is a women named Claudia Brenner and she works at a company in Ithaca which designs playgrounds, museums, and community gardens.  At least thats what Sarath says! Maybe I can contact Claudia about a community garden project.  I can relate to her journal, because she expresses concernt that some aspects of her project are slipping through the cracks. I feel the same way about some parts of my project. Sarath tends to put off contacting a lot of people that she wants to, and then regrets in later on.  I could learn a lesson from this and apply it to my own project.  Contact people ASAP! What I really like about Sarath's (the WISE student) plan to fix her conern was that she created a 'Redemption Week'.  During this week she focused hard on what she felt was lacking in her project.  Maybe I should do that?  I really want to stay on top of everything thats going on in my project, and not look back and regret not doing something.

So the week of the 7th will be my Revamp Week.  Goals:
-DO SOME RESEARCH! I will look at my anotated bibliography and do some research, take some notes! I am still in a class anyway...
-GET AN INTERNSHIP AT CAYUGA LANDSCAPING. I think I just need to go there in person.

Hopefully if I get this done, I will get the ball rolling!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Barnsong- Class Notes 3/1

         The Barnsong is a documentary about a student's WISE project.  Actually, it's about two student's WISE projects.  Sky, one of the students involved in the The Barnsong, is video taping a fellow students project.  Ryan, the star of the documentary, is building a barn for his project.
         Ryan's project was the quite the undertaking.  In the documentary he mentioned that everything took longer than he expected.  He had a well laid out plan for the project, but the timing he predicted for each step was largely underestimated.
        Sky's project was basically at the mercy of Ryan's.  I would assume a lot of coordinating had to take place between the two boys.  Whenever Ryan worked, Sky had to be there to film it.

Watching this documentary in class gave us a glimpse into the process of another students WISE journey.  A lot of work went into each project, and it seemed like combining a project may even be a little harder.  The two boy's projects not only gave them experience on their respective subjects, but taught them how to collaborate.
Also today in WISE we got a 2010 student's portfolio to read and reflect on.  Our first homework assignment for the second semester is to review the portfolio, and learn a bit more about what we will need to do by the end of our process.