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Snow Day -Wintertime Community Gardening

  • Subject: [cg] Snow Day -Wintertime Community Gardening
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 18 Feb 2003 11:01:00 EST

On Sunday, we knew that it was going to be a blizzard, so my wife and I  put 
up a big pot of soup, loaded in some extra groceries because we figured that 
many of my wife's friends who commute long distances to our local hospital 
might be stranded.  It's amazing what 19 inches of snow does to this city! 
For the Minnesotans on this list, this ain't nothing, but even a few inches 
can  bring this city to a standstill.  This morning,  two stranded nurses who 
were camped in our living room, left  real early to get in for their 14 hour 
shift.  They should be able to get home tonight if their part of New Jersey 
is plowed.  

Shoveling Snow in a Blizzard at the Clinton Community Garden.  For folks who 
don't live in big cities or deal with snow - We have a 150 foot sidewalk 
frontage at the CCG that we are responsible for. While shoveling during a 
blizzard seems nonsensical (like using a dust buster on a desert) if you have 
moved as much as you can during the snow storm, there's less to freeze into 
ice sheets for folks to slip, fall and sue about later.  When I got to the 
garden, I found that the front gate hinge had been bent out of shape by 
someone and then worked with some neighbors for about an hour helped to 
realign it into functionality.  The kind of New Yorkers who supposedly ignore 
you if you're being mugged came out with tools.  Not bad in a blizzard...

That done, I brought out some shovels and started to clean the sidewalk 
drifts, helped by the covered path (it looked like an indentation) in the 
snow - some other volunteer had worked on the sidewalk earlier in the day.  
As the volunteer who works on our street trees prefers if we don't use salt 
to melt the ice, we just have to reshovel on days like this.  As these trees 
are much higher and thicker than the other street trees on the block that 
were planted at the same time ... she may be right. 

About twenty folks came by to ask when they could get keys to the garden - in 
a blizzard! ( I pointed them to the bulletin board where days and times are 
posted.)  Taking my lead from Mark Twain's "Tom Sawyer," I worked at getting 
other folks to pick up shovels too. "C'mon buddy, you don't have to go to the 
gym today - we call this pumping snow!"   What pleased me was how many people 
worked with me, in 19 degree temperature, in the middle of a blizzard, to 
help clear away snow from the sidewalk who weren't the usual garden 
stalwarts, but just liked the place. 

Thermos bottles of strong and sweet Cafe Bustello,  Dutch Hot Chocolate were 
brought down stairs by some garden seniors from nearby tenements. And in the 
general spirit of bonhommerie,  a wino, who hasn't quite gotten the point 
that our perennials are not helped when he pees on them, offered us swigs 
from his bottle of "Night Train" (while trying to hit us up for a 
contribution to his next bottle.)   While we passed on the "wine," all of the 
volunteers, many of whom were not gardeners, felt the bond of a common task, 
took breaks, looked at the Currier and Ives postcard look of the garden and 
our low rise, 19th century terrible tenements and felt pretty good.   

As I write this, it is still snowing, so we'll be shoveling again today.  Who 
said that gardening in our area was only a seasonal activity?

Best wishes,
Adam Honigman

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