Saturday, May 5, 2012

Opening Week at the Birthplace

Students from the elementary school await instructions.

It's opening week at the birthplace.  We've not marked it with any fanfare, and you won't find any sales in the gift shop, but it's been busy.  Until today, that is.  It's now 11 am on a drizzly Saturday, and there have been no visitors today.  A few cars have pulled into the parking lot briefly, did what they wanted to do, then left, but that's a topic for another post.

Rainy days tend to be slow, but I'm not complaining.  It gives me time to tell you about Thursday and yesterday, our first of the season of the season.  They were not at all slow!

Planting their patch in the garden
On Thursday approximately 40 students from the 3rd, 4th and 5th Grade at Hillsboro Elementary School visited and were put to work in the Good Earth Garden.  They planted peas with Ginger Must, leafy vegetables with Carolyn Blankinship, root vegetables with Adrienne Cedarleaf, and helped Sue Groves with composting.

In fact the children were getting lessons in sustainable agriculture and planting their own dedicated section of the garden.  Later in the summer they will come back and harvest the fruits of their labor to take home. 

We had tourists on both day, but the very first to arrive where a couple from Prince Edward Island in Canada.  That's over 2,000 miles away, up the Atlantic Coast.  I wonder if we'll get many international guests we'll get this year. 

Learning about composting
Oh, and we discovered some unwanted squatters.  A family of groundhogs has taken up residence under the front porch. We will have to get rid of them with some humane traps very soon!  As cute as they are, they can do some real damage, and they've neither paid rent or left a security deposit!

Groundhog between the base of the grapevine and his burrow
The next day Sue Groves discovered a trapped visitor that, unlike the groundhogs, had no desire to stick around.  A robin's leg had gotten tangled in string wrapped around the base of one of the grape vines on the front porch.  Sue was holding the poor thing in her hand trying to release it, but it was really tangled when I arrived that morning.  She sent me for a knife from the Sydenstricker House kitchen, I cut the string very close to it's leg, and off it flew.

It's a good reminder that we need to be careful about litter.  Even things like cloth kite string can harm wild creatures.  Had Sue not discovered it, that bird might have struggled to get free until it died of exhaustion, or worse.  Robins are the harbingers of spring, it would be sad not to rescue them.

Well, it's 2:20 pm now and in spite of the rain we had more visitors that I expected.  I'm going to post this now, while there's a lull.  The next scheduled tour is at 2:30 pm, but our visitors have a tendency to arrive at odd times.  Please note that our scheduled tour times are 10:30 am, 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm.  While we try to be as accommodating as possible, those are the only times you can be guaranteed a tour.

What do you think of those?  Are they convenient for you?  With an all volunteer staff our ability to be open many hours is limited, but we want to make the hours we are open the most convenient ones possible.  

The property is open from 10 - 4 on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  Beginning in June we'll also be open on Sundays from Noon - 4 pm on a trail basis.  We always welcome your comments and suggestions, so leave a comment and tell us what you think! 

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