Sunday, August 19, 2007

I learn how to give a chicken a bath

Not that I expect ever to be doing that. But this is one of the few genuine elements of our oh-so-tacky county fair. Lots of cute baby farm animals, fried food, rickety rides, and not-so-cute adult humans.

Sleepy pigs.

Flowers, too. I had never wandered into the flower displays (in the “arts and crafts” area) before, but I was pleased to see many examples of some of my favorite old-fashioned annuals, and some truly wacky arrangements and place settings. Who enters this type of contest? It’s another world, and a very strange one. The good news: during a desultory amble round the “grange,” we found that the local cooperative extension may be reinstating its Master Gardener program. In the past this program has fostered many opportunities for public gardening and chances to improve one’s gardening knowledge, whether enrolled in the program or not.

Definitely not, in my case, because the Master Gardener classes are always held Friday during the day. Huh? That rules out pretty much anyone with a job. Nonetheless, I am glad to see the extension come back to some sort of life.


Pam/Digging said...

When I inquired about the Master Gardener program in Austin, I learned that classes are offered only during weekdays here too. That pretty much rules out people like me who have kids to pick up after school. Why can't they offer these classes in the evening, so that people who have daytime obligations and jobs can participate?

Enough ranting. By the way, I like your new photo. You look much more approachable---less intimidating---in this one. :-)

EAL said...

Thanks Pam! All the ranters had new pictures done by a Buffalo photographer, KC Kratt--we will be unveiling a group shot on GR soon.

I like the old picture too though it is a bit stern. I guess I was trying to look serious; it is my work picture.

Gloria said...

Have not been to a county fair in a long time. I did not know one had to bath the creatures.
As for the Master Gardeners class it is essentially to train volunteers to help educate the public about the science based research findings at the agricultural universities. Most of the volunteer activities take place during the day so if you can not find time to take the class you surely will not be able to fulfill the volunteer hours required each year to remain in the program.
For awhile it looked as though the Agricultural extension service would fold but urban areas wanting to keep children and urban adults informed and connected to a green future have revitalized the program.

EAL said...

All well and good, but that leaves out a whole lot of people besides me.

I love volunteering and do find time to do it, but I find that most organizations have--by now--woken up to the fact that many women and men work during the day. There are plenty of after-work and weekend daylight hours that could be used here.

But I should be telling THEM this! ;)

lawremc said...

I would voice your concerns to your Extension agents. A disclaimer here--I work for Extension in Alabama as a communications specialist. I am a Master Gardener, too. My class was a day one, but my county and others in the past have offered the program at nigh

Gloria said...

eal, here in Chicago at least the 12 weeks of 6 hours is well attended with many turned down for lack of space. Less than half taking the course are retired, the rest are students or people in professions where schedules are flexible in nature.In recent years many of the volunteers are men. We are no longer considered the blue haired group disparaged by many.
Professors from the University of Illinois do most of the teaching especially soil, botany,disease and pests.Others are professionals in horticulture or landscaping that volunteer time.The first year we work in projects with mentors before being able to head programs ourselves. Every year we must continue our education with excepted material.
This schedule has worked best for a long time. I doubt they will change except in areas where no one can be found but then demand seems to be down in those areas as well.
Last year Chicago logged over 8,000 volunteer hours and it seems most suburban areas have their own Master Gardener program.
There is an online course available but you would have to ask the locals about availability.

Gloria said...

I know, I know, accepted is the word. The button in my head for stop and edit does not work today.

Layanee said...

I like chickens. I hope to have some someday and this would come in handy.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Add Cleveland to the list... Cuyahoga County Master Gardener classes are held on weekdays, too. And EAL, I'm right there with you on the fact that they are losing out on a whole lot of good people who could do volunteer hours after work and on weekends.

Funny side note is that I have a gardening friend who is a(n) MG from Summit County... he couldn't take the classes until after he retired two years ago, or he would have been one sooner. Guess when he puts in his volunteer hours? YUP--evenings and weekends!