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County 76 PNG Leadership

September 25, 2016

Today we headed to the 4-H Center to plan for the MG Plant, Nurture, Grow Leadership conference which begins tomorrow with lunch. The PNG committee was here in force setting up rooms, registration and activities. png-leadership-set-up-and-board-1 png-leadership-set-up-and-board-3 This afternoon and tonight was the County 76 executive  board meeting. This is a hard-working group of volunteers and I am so  blessed to have them.

png-leadership-2016 I provided them dinner tonight since we are the only folks at the center.  Tomorrow we have 170 plus MGs and Agents coming from all over the state.  It is a time to get connected and rejuvenated, and hopefully understand a little bit more about program policies and ways to strengthen our programs.

Can’t wait!

Home for a minute!

September 24, 2016

I did not post on Thursday night as our conference ended, but one of the highlights was getting to meet and hear the director of Yellowstone speak.  Dan Wenk dan-wenk-super-yellowstone-1was trained in Landscape Architecture from Michigan State, but now runs the entire park.  He did an outstanding job giving us an overview of the park and its care.

We said our goodbyes in Montana under cold, rainy skies and headed to the airport and home.  Montana and Wyoming have some gorgeous natural landscapes and I am glad we got to see this. aspen-yellowstone-sept-16-1613 montana-sept-16-15  We brought some great ideas home and got to meet so many new, young agents.  It is interesting being on the other side of ones career!

I think this September will rank as the #1 month for me to be away from home overnight the most since I started this job.  I have had back to back trips and they aren’t over.  Randy and I made it home safely and with our luggage intact albeit about 30 minutes late.  A mix-up in seat assignments for some folks delayed us leaving Dallas, but we were at home a little after 10 p.m. last night.  I unpacked and edited photos to unwind.  Today is my one day home for a bit, so I did laundry, had lunch with friends, ran some errands, checked the gardens and got ready for tomorrow.

My daughter has done an outstanding job keeping the garden and pots watered, and even my newly planted fall veggies survived the heat while I was gone. I  did harvest some vegetables and more figs. veg-harvest-sept-24-6  The cucumbers are a bit misshapen, a result in weird pollination, but they still taste good, and more are coming on. I had loads more peppers I could have harvested, but decided to let them grow some more.  I also harvested one of the pineapple guava fruits since it felt like it was softening a bit, but it is still not ripe. I will ignore them for a bit. pineapple-guava-sept-24-1 pineapple-guava-sept-24-2This is my first year to have fruit so I am not quite sure what to expect.

Some of my summer annuals are doing the best they have done all season–like these torenia and periwinkleperiwinkle-sept-16 torenia-sept-24-2, but the common impatiensimpatiens-sept-24 have seen better days.

The thunbergia or clock vinethunbergia-sept-24-1 is loaded with blooms and the sasanqua camellias are going to be stunning this winter, because they are loaded with buds. camellia-buds-sept-24-16  When I was on the deck watering and picking figs, I noticed I have fall webworms on my hydrangea in a pot. Interesting that they would pick a shrub, and ignore the trees surrounding the deck. fall-webworms-sept-4 fall-webworms-sept-3 fall-webworms-sept-2 fall-webworms-sept-1

This insect is more a nuisance than deadly.  They expand their web as they feed. I will cut out the web and damage and dispose of them to stop their spread.

It was nice to have a bit of a slower pace today.  I had forgotten how heat and humidity feel, but they aren’t fun.  Tomorrow I head to the Arkansas 4-H Center to meet early with the MG County 76 board before we officially start PNG Leadership on Monday.  We have over 170 people coming for Monday and Tuesday.  It promises to be an excellent conference.

Monday is also the last day to order lunch and t-shirts for MG Appreciation Day at the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks.


Conference continues and the Father of MG

September 22, 2016

Our conference is still going strong, with about 6 more hours to go. Today we have had a variety of 

topics, but also divided up between state coordinaors and county coordinators. 

The highlight of the conference(besides networking) has been to meet and listen to Dr. David Gibby, the agent in Washington State who had the idea to start the MG program in 1972 in Washington State. 

His story was a good one, but it was his obvious attachment and love of a program he has long been retired from that took his presentation to another level. How reaffirming for all of us. 

A program that made a difference in 1972 that has evolved and is still vital today!

National Coordinators Conference

September 21, 2016

It was a jam-packed day of program management and ideas on how to strenghten our own programs in Pray, Montana. We started with breakfast at 7 a.m. And ended with two after dinner speakers at 8:45 then some community time. My MGs think we pack a tight schedule, but we got 5 minutes between talks and had speakers while we ate! 

We got a 15 minute break mid-afternoon so we explored the gardens behind the inn. They have some lovely flower beds but a large vegetable garden and a greenhouse growing tomatoes, basil and peppers.’

Outside was a wealth of cool season crops with 5 varieties of kale, cabbage, carrots, lettuce and green and purple Brussels sprouts. 
There are also fruit trees and herbs. Really quite nice and a pleasant diversion from sitting!

As one of the longested tenured state coordinators it is refreshing to see so many new, young and eager county coordinators and specialists from around the country. I never fail to glean new ideas to bring home, but I am also gratified to know the program has strong up and coming leaders that will keep the Master Gardener program and consumer hort going in the right direction. It is not just the sessions at these events that are important, but also the networking and visiting with colleagues from across the country.

Tomorrow we start back at 7, so to bed I go.


September 20, 2016

It was a gorgeous day in Yellowstone and the start of our conference. I know of a lot of people who travel all over the world for conferences, fly in, do their business and fly home without ever seeing any of the area. We are fortunate to have time both pre and post education, to educate ourselves on the flora and fauna of the region. Randy and I can’t stay for the post, but we did get to tour Yellowstone in a whirlwind tour today. We were blessed by fabulous weather. 

At times I felt like we were  in an episode of wild kingdom! We saw loads of elk, bison and antelope, along with a female big horned sheep (right next to the road), a gray wolf stalking an antelope and a black bear! We saw male bisons fighting and elk mating. Pretty amazing sites! 

We got to see Old Faithful erupt, albeit 20 minutes behind schedule. Hundreds of folks were lined up for a long time waiting! 

We saw results of forest fires and the devastation they caused, but also saw how the forests are coming back. The moose population moved out but is slowly coming back. 

The aspen are beginning to turn color, with the younger ones starting the show.

Internet is getting a bit slow, so I will try to add some more photos via facebook. Amazing day, great discussion and fabulous sites! I was 7, the last time I saw this, so it has been a great experience. 

Montana and Yellowstone

September 19, 2016

Today was a much better day for traveling. We had a little hiccup in Dallas. They overfueled the plane, so we all had to exit the airplane while they cleaned up the spill then we reloaded. It was a lucky thing for Miss. Coordinator Lelia. If that hadn’t happened she would have missed the plane and spent the night in Dallas. We had a gorgeous drive to our hotel which is in the middle of nowhere.we checked into our hotel, which may be overstating a bit. It is a rustic inn. My room has a bathroom, but Randy has a sink and some folks just have a bed. No tvs, no phones, nor much cell phone servive, but there is wifi. Not fast, but faster than Cornwall. We connected with several of my friends and dropped our bags in the room and took off to hear the elks in Yellowstone. We are only 30 minutes from the north part of the park. Along the drive we saw mule deer, elk, bison and antelopes. We got pretty darn close to them in the park. Pretty neat! 

The park rangers have their hands full trying to corral traffic and gawkers. The elk just wander wherever they want. We had dinner in the park. Randy and I split a fabulous trout taco and an ok bison one. His meatloaf was mediocre but I enjoyed my bison steak. We then drove slowly back with the windows down watching all the animals. Elk and deer were everywhere. The vistas are so impressive! We truly live in a beautiful country. The sunset on the drive home was spectacular with a rainbow added in. The pictures do not do it justice. Now it is off to bed! A full day but an enjoyable one. Tomorrow is a full day tour of Yellowstone. 

A terrible, horrible, mixed up day!

September 18, 2016

I think there is a child’s book by this name, and today I lived it. I was awoken by an automated call from American Airlines at 4:30 a.m. informing me that my 8:00 a.m. flight today was rescheduled for tomorrow. I groggily made it into my home office and asked for customer service.  I think Miss Johnson must have had a bad morning too, because her customer service was lacking.  She told me I could go tomorrow or cancel my flight!  Not a lot of empathy or concern for me.  So I got in touch with Randy, and then logged on to find us seats for tomorrow, and alas, there were none that were not premium on flight one and only one premium or non on flight 2.  So again, I called customer service and this time talked to lovely Stephanie, who was so nice and apologetic and got me two seats from LR to Dallas and one confirmed from Dallas to Bozeman, with an assurance that the airlines were holding more.  SO hopefully Randy won’t have to ride in with the baggage.  My suitcase is on hold for another day.suitcase

Since I was up so early, I decided to be productive. It was too early to call the hotel and rental cars, so I did some laundry and went to Lowes when they opened.  The plan was to take the suburban and get a load of mulch and some fall veggies. When I went to get in the car, the key fob didn’t work, and neither did the car. Dead as a doornail.  So I decided to try car number 2. I decided if that one didn’t work then I was meant to stay in my house today, but it fired up fine and I was at Lowes and Home Depot with some new vegetable plants and a mum and home and in the garden quite early.  Not too many shoppers or drivers out and about on a Sunday morning.

I was in the midst of planting when it started thundering and then we got 1/2 inch of rain–a bright spot!

I came inside and did some computer work.  My printer quit printing, so Clay worked on it and it started, but he did something to the computer and it won’t open!  So I am relegated to the laptop.

A dear neighbor has moved into assisted living and today was the last day of the estate sale. I went to that and bought some of her art. She is a fabulous artist and I already own a few pieces, but added to it.  It was a bit sad seeing their home of so many years relegated to a bunch of stuff for strangers to buy, but I am pleased with my purchases.

By then the sun was shining and I finished planting, weeded a bit, and fertilized the vegetables and annuals.  I saw a lot of butterflies in the garden and found a few more caterpillars, but I also found the dreaded crape myrtle bark scale on my dwarf crape myrtle!  monarch-caterpillar2crape-myrtle-bark-scale-dwarf-sept181 crape-myrtle-bark-scale-dwarf-sept182

I was just talking about it during my workshop yesterday and said I had not seen it yet on any of the dwarves, and voila, here it is.  UGH!

I finally got around to calling the hotel and car rental agency to let them know I am a day late and a dollar short, and the hotel was lovely–I am sure I am paying for this day but oh well.  I could not get the car rental place to answer locally in Montana, so  the toll free number. They were more than happy to help, but informed me there were no cars for tomorrow! After an hour on the phone and 5 more customer representatives I finally got to talk to a lovely man in Montana.  Randy and I don’t have to walk from the airport to the hotel and we hopefully will have a nice car.

I am finishing the day with watering and will go out to a lovely dinner (cooked by my son) and to bed early.  Hoping for a great adventure tomorrow.  Pray that the travel gods are on my side tomorrow.

Montana or Bust!!

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