Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Serving in West

Wednesday, April 17 we were at church and heard what sounded like thunder that just wouldn't stop. We stepped outside, and soon saw the sheriff tearing out of the parking lot in a hurry.  Something was up.  We quickly found out that a fertilizer plant in West, Texas had an explosion.  West is nearly 50 miles away, and yet we heard the explosion.

While we didn't have all the details right away, we soon learned that 14 people (11 of which were firefighters) lost their lives; over 200 people were injured in this small town of 2800.  A 5 block radius of homes and businesses (including a school, nursing home, and apartment complex) were leveled.  Over 60 families were left without a home.  What a tragedy!

One of the things I love about Texas, though, is that they take care of their own.  Almost immediately there was an outpouring of volunteers from all over the state (and beyond) coming to assist in any they could, and donations also immediately flooded the city.

My husband has been involved with Mercy Chefs for around 3 years now-an organization that lives and breathes feeding in disaster relief settings.  This would be my first opportunity to join both my husband and Mercy Chefs feeding both the victims and the disaster relief workers.  Within 24 hours, the Mercy Chefs kitchen trailer was set up, and was ready to start feeding.

Here is just a sampling of some of the pictures I took in West...so many volunteers from multiple churches, food deliveries, the church Mercy Chefs set up at, and a few scenes from around town (I didn't take pictures of the disaster).  As usual, the pictures are in reverse order-but you can still get an idea of what all went on.  Mercy Chefs was in West for a week and a half, and served thousands of meals.  My prayer is that this little city will rebound quickly so life can continue on and the healing can begin.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

An Elevated Garden

Last year we didn't have a garden-we knew we would be too busy to keep up with it all, especially the weeds.  This year we don't expect to be quite as busy; and we decided to do an elevated garden, which should hopefully eliminate some of the weeding. Time will tell!

Needless to say, we have had a busy morning.  First, my hubby mowed the small area we would be using-the grass has gotten a little high, and we don't need any weeds poking through the bottom layer.
Next, we lined up all the soil we got at Lowe's last night.  This included compost, garden soil, and top soil.  I am glad my hubby knows what to use, because I would have been clueless.
 Here are the plants we picked up ready for planting.
We planned on making a 5 by 10 raised bed/elevated garden.  To accomplish that, we bought 3 4 by 10's.  Two were ready; the other needed to be cut in half.
My hubby used this triangle to measure before cutting the board in half.  Well, he called it a square; however, I ever so politely explained that I learned my shapes in kindergarten, and he was mistaken.  Glad we settled that. 
Here I am working hard while he cuts the board.  Somebody needs to keep it in place.
Next, he secured all the boards together.
Then we got out the "landscape fabric"-which I had never heard of.
My son unrolled it, and we got it put in place.  It was about 3 feet wide, so we had to do this twice to cover the whole area.
 Now that it was all in place, it was time to start dumping in all the bags of dirt.
First set of bags done-on the the second...
spread it out some...
 and now the last type of soil.
It wasn't enough, so we went back for more dirt, and this time we got some manure, too. 
Once everything was spread out nicely, we stretched out the sprayer hose, and watered the soil.  Meanwhile, I got distracted, and forgot to a picture of that, so I got a nice picture of the hose after we threw it back on the ground.  Lovely photography skills, huh?
 Next my hubby added some boards to each corner of the garden.
 This will become what holds the sprayer hose in place.
 After that, we got busy planting.  This year we have 2 types of tomatoes, tomatillos, green peppers, habaneros, and jalapenos, lots of okra (I am beginning to wonder what I was thinking planting so much okra, actually), zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, cucumbers, and strawberries.  We also planted seeds for lettuce, cabbage, and green beans.
And here it is getting watered.  We are 2 months away from fresh veggies!  Now, let's see if my oldest son even notices the garden when he gets home from work.