With the winter season quickly approaching and a goal to cultivate, fertilize and fill the lower bank with plants and spring bulbs, a decision had to be made about the extent of fertilization. Of all the areas on the church property, the lower bank in the former grotto area was the “most fertile.” There were some patches of composted dirt, and the area was only partially covered with river stones. Unlike the bank below the basement, this area was not comprised of “coal dirt” and fine stones. Though a few small loads of mushroom soil were already hauled in and dumped on the lower bank, ideally, for plants to thrive throughout the winter and the following year, more fertile mushroom soil needed to be applied.
Since the plan was to maintain a $0 budget in the first year, and the church adhered to a no-solicitation policy, there was no opportunity to use fund raising or networking to finance the landscape supplies necessary to fulfill the next most important goal and milestone. Instead of asking, “why me?”, the question became “why not me?”. After prayerful consideration, our family decided to personally donate whatever was needed to reach the next goal.
On October 24, 2016, a truck load of plants and spring bulbs from a local big box store were purchased to start filling in the lower bank. On October 25, 2016, a very large pile of dirt (mushroom soil) was delivered to support the fall planting. In the days to follow, the lower stone wall was completely rebuilt, and the river stones that once covered part of the lower bank were moved below the stone wall to eliminate the weeds and improve aesthetics. A large portion of the dirt was applied to the lower bank, but the remainder of the pile would be applied to the upper wall of the former grotto area in spring.
One day during an individual work session, one of the church leaders said, “Don’t you find that big pile of dirt overwhelming?” The response was simply, “No, you just have to focus on one shovel at a time.”
A month after the “overwhelming pile of dirt” was delivered, the final touches were applied on Sunday, November 26, 2016, to place orange reflective rods along the roadside to prevent the snow plow drivers from hitting the new river stone base at the lower wall.
Though outside work was no longer practical or necessary during the remainder of 2016, our family continued to support the church transformation indoors the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. We used time off from work and school to help rip out old wires, discard old furniture in the basement and sand down the walls for painting.
©Tonya R. Hartman, October 29, 2017
Individual Volunteer Hours to Date: 37 hours
Family Volunteer Hours to Date: 62.5 hours
Other Recorded Volunteer Hours: 8 hours
Mileage to Date: 472 miles