A thornless blackberry project and Spring concerts!

The double late tulips I planted in the front bed popped open the day after Easter. It looked like I had a Chiefs theme going on. I actually thought I’d get a mix of more pinks and reds than anything.

Other tulips are still grow, grow, growing. I’m so glad we pulled up that landscaping fabric to let it all breathe again. Remind me I said this when it’s finally summer and the weeds are everywhere. But hopefully the mulch will keep most of it down. For now, I have tons of ranunculus, columbine, and strawberries filling in the gaps.

We trekked over to a local nursery where they focus on native-to-our-area plants. The story goes that back in the day the old fella who runs it would dry plants for seeds in the barns on our property. His name is Mervin, and he not so fondly recalled climbing the vertical ladders to the barn loft with his bundles.
We chatted with him about supplying us some compost. He has his own metal barns now where he dries seed, but he was happy to help us after we told him where we lived.

Joe has decided he wants to grown thornless blackberries and raspberries. I am more on board with this project than other suggested projects like pigs, chickens, or cows, but I am no bramble expert.
The first step was to find the right spot and prep the soil. The compost Mervin gave us is an old mix of potting soil and other scraps from his native plan nursery. It isn’t exactly the cleanest compost, but it is healthy and robust (and cheap).

We decided the back side of the pond would be the ideal place to pick. Not too close to the house, no views blocked, a bit of an incline for drainage, room to spread. The blackberries will not produce fruit the first year, but the raspberries should.
(I’m a little scared of this endeavor…My friend, Brandy, has only four thornless blackberry bushes and said they go crazy and produce gallons and gallons of berries.)

Blackberries and tulips have been a welcome home distraction from the craziness of end-of-year music endeavors. I come home and grab a shovel if it is nice, move baby plants out into the sun, water, check on sprouts, mow. It doesn’t matter how hard the outside work, it is a welcome respite from a rough day at school.

We wrapped up the last Spring concert this week and I was having nightmares about it leading up to the day. Lots of behavior issues just make teaching so stinking difficult. I am waiting for summer to digest and write more. The most significant daily issues deal with kids that are consistently rude or argumentative. This coupled with an ever-shortening attention span and a device-fueled addiction to instant gratification—can you even imagine how hard it is to teach recorders and how to read music on a staff? How hard it is to walk down a long hallway to the auditorium, expect them to calmly enter and exit the stage, stand safely on risers, perform as expected, listen to directions, rehearse multiple times? Each day is a struggle.
To top it off, we have a handful of kids that sometimes show up on or off meds and exhibit violent and threatening behavior…Yikes. A book awaits. Let’s see if I can also make it sound funny and lighthearted like David Sedaris—that’s my summer challenge to myself.

I really am so proud of how much has been accomplished but this year was stress-filled on a 10 out of 10 scale. I have to remind myself that at the beginning of the year the older kids smirked when I told them we’d be singing.
And look at us on stage singing! And playing recorders! And Orff instruments! It’s enough to tempt a teacher to think she can do it again next fall (especially after a summer break).

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