“As usual for a Squares Challenge month I will be sharing squares daily, and I would love it if you did the same. However if daily sounds too daunting, don’t worry. It is fine to join us weekly or even just pop in occasionally with your squares. The frequency of your squares depends on you and also your blog. All I ask is that your image has 4 equal sides, and that it reflects the theme of bright.”
Thanks for joining me in my first attempt to post every day for a month. Have you ever done a month of challenges and made it every day?
I got my new computer yesterday – mine drown in a cup of coffee last week. I messed up trying to set it up and couldn’t sign into to my Microsoft cloud where my pictures are stored. And so therefore the meaning of challenge becomes reality.
Volunteering is a voluntary act of an individual or group freely giving time and labor for community service. Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work, such as medicine, education, or emergency rescue. Others serve on an as-needed basis, such as in response to a natural disaster.
Wikipedia – Volunteering
When Terri and I talked about topics for guest hosting Sunday Stills for two weeks, cats and volunteering stood out as ones to which I could relate. Thank you Terri for trusting me with your wonderful challenge.
We have been blessed by the huge number of health workers who have dedicated their time in giving COVID 19 shots all over the country.
“Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.”
People generously volunteer to help in recent tragedies, weather crises, animal over population, reading and math tutors, museum docents, food service preparation serving and clean-up, road and park clean-up, and even blogging volunteers can serve the global community. In every facet of today’s society there is room for volunteers.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
What organizations, projects, or calls for help have you responded to?
Next week Terri will be back at the helm after having no internet during her move. We are all anxious to know how she is doing and how her new home looks. This week, I hope you will tell us how you are doing and what you do for others. Here is my story.
Volunteering in Woodlake, CA
“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands — one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
When I retired I joined Woodlake Kiwanis and the Woodlake Chamber of Commerce. I stayed in Kiwanis for the long haul and felt that I could make a greater positive impact on the community as part of a like-minded group than on my own. Kiwanis operates for the good of children and the community and fit my goals in life. I am still a distance member.
Kiwanis had several signature projects but they also collaborate with other organizations and our regional division to support the community. Our two biggest projects during COVID was to care for the Woodlake Rose Garden and to help the Woodlake Food Pantry distribute food.
Roses take about 90 hours of care per bush to keep them healthy. The Woodlake Rose garden has over 1,500 bushes. The City of Woodlake has 7,000 people, several parks, and about 31 employees in total including the City Manager, Fire Chief and Police Chief. Having a manicured rose garden was not high on any employee’s list of priorities.
One of our Kiwanians masterminded the volunteer care of the garden. It was brilliant. After hearing him speak, about six organizations volunteered with us to assist the City of Woodlake. Especially active, are the Master Gardeners, from who we learned so much about rose care.
Even though Kiwanis didn’t run the food pantry many of our members played a huge role in its success. Kiwanis in Woodlake always has projects that require students to help. The organization believes that community service develops their character and resume. Students always had a first-hand glimpse at life.
Keeping Busy and Young All Year Long
The galleries below show some of our many of our activities past and present.
Kiwanis eventually abandoned the Soap Box Derby because of lack of participation, due to after school sports programs. Kiwanis then joined forces with the City of Woodlake to provide different kinds of after-school support for kids.
Other organizations sometimes hired our catering services which gave us funds for scholarships and enabled Kiwanis to provide services and events like our July 3rd Blast at no cost to the public.
Thanks to everyone who joined Sunday Stills: Respect the Cat
Forgive me if I missed your post. It’s probably best to post a link in the comment section as well. Pingbacks are not always reliable. Thanks again for joining in Sunday Stills while Terri’s been gone. 🙂
My sister-in-law and her pets live with us now. Today we took our two dogs for a mile-long walk through the Woodlake Rose Garden. I was on a quest for pictures of dry beauty like a well-aged red wine.
For once, I couldn’t take pictures to make my Kiwanis group proud. Last weekend Kiwanis recruited 37 volunteers, students and adults who spread mulch to hold in the precious moisture.
Once we got past the Kiwanis section, which could be likened to garden of sweet white wine, I didn’t have to look far.
The garden sprinkling system fails consistently but the thirsty roses get some water. No one except Chuck House brings a hose and cleans them off. I wonder what would happen if all 7,000 Woodlakers came out to work in the garden for a couple of hours this fall?
Spiders are in heaven making silky webs to trap the dust and ashes in the air. The little bug on the rose can hide out almost anywhere in the garden except where he is. Does anyone recognized him?
Roses need deadheading constantly in the summer to keep them blooming beautifully. Due to COVID, we did not have the help this summer that we usually get from the students, and the Master Gardeners were not able to come until just recently. So you will see Zombie Roses on this walk.
"Wait," shouted the grasshoppers.
"Look at this elegant weave
The garden could be the Secret Garden before it was rediscovered. The potential of beauty is there, covered with what looks like years of neglect. In reality, it’s only a few weeks. On the cobweb blanket, you can see the ashes from the forest fires.
This rose has company that puts it to shame. The beauty of the morning glory is deceptive. It chokes out its competition, the rose and takes over if left unchecked.
Some of the plants are not as loved as the roses. My great-grandmother used to make persimmon cookies. I do not think she would be happy to see this dry tree.
Some areas of the garden have still not been adopted by organizations. In those area anything goes. In this case, the rose is surrounded, not only by thorns, but by weeds.
Lost in a weed patch
Drowning in ashes
Once in a while, you have to look up. The trees tell the long time story. Those blobs are cobwebs and debris.
After the garden walk, Cindy and Flo went home, Kalev and I drove home the back way on Sentinel Butte Road looking for more dry pictures. We weren’t disappointed. You can see the dusty, smoke-hazed, 157-AQI-sky. You can barely make out Colvin Mountain in the background.
It struck me that Woodlake is the perfect example of “the haves and have nots” when it comes to water. Wherever there is water, even just a speck, you see green life blooming. Otherwise you see brown deterioration.
Sucked dry by super hot skies
Humans tricked the fruit
Giving them a plastic teat
Yielding oranges once more.
Woodlake Rose Garden began in 2004 as a labor of love, a gift from Manuel Jimenez, a local resident and Professor Emeritus at UC Davis, small farm advisor for the Southern Valley.
Manuel credits the garden to his wife, Olga for her love of roses. I picked a particularly lovely rose from the garden for Hugh and his Sunday Stills challenge of “orange.” This post is not colored orange, but see how many orange items you can spot.
As it grew, Woodlake Pride, a local nonprofit organization maintained the garden with the help of volunteers, mostly students.
When Manuel stepped back to focus on the Botanical Garden, three years ago, the rose garden fell into a state of disrepair. Kiwanis of Woodlake stepped in to fill in the gap between what the City of Woodlake could manage, and what needed to be done to bring the gardens back.
As a Kiwanian, I think that the pride in helping our small town stay beautiful is the primary benefit of this labor of love. We also benefit from meeting the many people who come to the gardens to enjoy a gentle walk. I also enjoy giving back in a small way to Manuel and Olga Jimenez.
Kiwanis enlisted some other non-profits to help out. Until COVID 19, the Master Gardeners of Tulare County maintained the largest portion of the garden. UC Davis restricted them from working in any garden anywhere because of the pandemic so they have just begun to work in the garden again. The weeds and work multiplied tenfold while they were gone. We are super glad they are back.
Above and Beyond
One Kiwanian stands out above and beyond the rest. Sally Pace spearheads the labor of love for the Kiwanis Club of Woodlake. A weekly walk determines the focus of the work. During midweek visits she provides the approved chemicals and sprays the weeds so that no one will get blasted with unwanted herbicide except her.
During official workdays, she digs out stubborn weeds choking the roses, deadheads, and makes her husband deliver mulch from their property to spread around the roses. She coordinates sprinkler repairs, donating little parts from her surplus stash at home, purchasing the bigger ones needed to repair the endless water leaks and recruiting volunteers to help her.
Need student help? No worries, Sally visits the Ag teachers at Woodlake High School to enlist their help identifying great students who need to earn community service hours in order to graduate. Early on the designated Saturday mornings Sally meets them and any Kiwanians who happen to come to help at the garden with snacks and a truck-load of equipment.
Supervising the students? Not really. She designates them to other Kiwanians. They just hope and pray they don’t get assigned to the man with the chainsaw. No one can keep up with her as she tackles whatever seems the most urgent problem of the day. You have to catch her to photograph her.
Then she sends out an email telling how hard everyone else worked and how fabulous they all are. I’m not sure how she benefits from her labor of love, but she labors tirelessly.
Heroes with No Vested Interest
Another set of unsung heroes are the folks like the ones in this picture who came from nearby Visalia to walk around the lake and saw us working. They have no vested interest other than they love the gardens. The next time they came to walk they brought pruners, and started deadheading roses. Another couple has come from Three Rivers several times to weed and patch vital water lines.
A local police officer dropped by when I was working with two students weeding, and stepped in to lend a hand. Local residents see a Facebook post and bring their rakes and their friends and come to the garden. Denise gets more done in an hour than most people do in ten.
Even the park bench sitters pick up a shovel, rake and hoe when we come near their benches rather than to sit and watch us work.
Here’s to happy Labor Day festivities to you, however you choose to spend them. If you come to Woodlake, might we suggest some labor of love ideas?
Thanks for hosting the Lens-Artists Challenge #113, Rusha.