Juggling Experiments

Last week, I attended the Maine Compost School in Monmouth, Maine.  I wrote about it a little bit and I am planning to write a detailed piece in the future.  Compost is more amazing than I realized and now I know exactly why my compost tumbler stinks, literally and figuratively.  Let the record show three things:

  1. I made a simple introduction.

“I’m Julie-Ann Baumer, I work in the financial services industry, I’m not really sure why I’m here, but I’m hoping to find my purpose this week.”

2.  There were no superlatives, graduation speeches, or valedictorians.  Certificates of completion were given to all students, including me.  A final exam was administered and I scored 92 out of a possible 100 points.  Yee Haw and Phew!

3.  I did not find my ultimate composting purpose, but I have a lot of new ideas and I’m planning some experiments and challenges in my head.

It was a purposeful vacation and an added bonus was that I got to see Uncle Bob every day.  We had discussions about the garden; he asked me why I only planted a little patch of peas and I said “well, it was an experiment.”  He asked me if I was happy about the salt marsh hay I had used as mulch on some of my tomatoes and melons and I admitted I wasn’t happy.

“It was an experiment” I said.

He told me that crows had tried to eat the three rows of organic corn seed I gave him to plant.  He had to replant some of it.  I reminded him it was “an experiment.”

I felt bad, though.  Uncle Bob loves his corn.  I’d like this “experiment” to turn out well because I’m trying to make a case for organic corn.  That’s the thing about experiments in the garden; they take time and if they fail, it could mean no corn for the summer.  Uncle Bob planted some “other” corn, just in case the experiment fails.  He’s smart like that.

Uncle Bob seemed pleased with things in the garden and we were both happy about the heat and the rain which will give our “crops” a boost.  He even said I could plant a whole row of peas next year.  I think I’ll take him up on it; the little patch of peas I planted in the Hampton Victory Garden produced some delicious treats.  I’m going to pick some on my way to work today; they’re “Amish Snap” and I’ve been eating them pod and all.

In Compost School, all the instructors were professors of scientific disciplines; things like agronomy, zoology, and soil sciences.  They had conducted a lot of experiments and they brought their results, in part, to the class.  Sometimes their experiments failed and they admitted it, usually with a bit of a laugh.  They also explained how their failures had encouraged them to look at the current problem in new ways and make adjustments in their experiments.  The adjustments produced new results, new evidence, and sometimes success.

Driving home from the Big Corporation yesterday, I stopped at my Secret Garden.  The lettuce was out of control, the tomatoes were not, and the beets were disappointing.  Gratefully, I picked a big basket of lettuce and some radishes for my lunch.

I’ve been juggling a lot of experiments lately.  Things like gardening, blogging, working, and trying to find my purpose.  It’s hard to juggle all these things.  I need to get back into the lab and analyze some of my results, or as they might say in Compost School, get my sh*t together.

Failure is not an option in some of these experiments.

How are your garden experiments going?

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