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Saturday training and fresh eating

August 2, 2014

Today was week 4 of our Saturday MG training and my last day with the volunteers.  Julie and I leave Thursday morning for Pittsburgh and the Garden Writers Conference. I just learned today that Bob Byers will be joining us on Friday –but he is DRIVING!  We are flying.  This Saturday group of volunteers is so enthusiastic, prompt, and full of questions. I really expect great things from them.  I think they will be amazing volunteers, to join our already amazing Arkansas group!  I have really enjoyed being with a class for a full 4 weeks and organizing and listening to all the wonderful speakers. I have been  doing this job for 34 years as of July 1, 2014, but I never fail to learn something new from listening to the speakers each week, something I have not done with MG training since I moved to the state position. I am actually sad that I will miss next weeks class on fruits, pesticides, texture in the landscape and groundcovers and vines.  Today we started off with John Boyd on turf and weeds, then moved on to propagation and trees with Jim Robbins, then landscape design with Bob Byers, soils with Ron Matlock and we ended with water conservation with Elizabeth Sutton. An outstanding day of learning.  County agents are lucky that they get to listen to these experts annually along with their volunteers who are going through training!

east lab students mg training.

While we have quite a few young folks in our Saturday class, our two youngest are East lab students with their teacher from Dover. We made their newsletter!

mg sat training. aug2.14.4 mg sat training. aug2.14.3 mg sat training. aug2.14.2

Saline County hosted today and we had a great group of volunteers helping with all the logistics of putting on a meeting.

I made it home in time to water my garden–my pots were showing signs of stress. I also cooked a great meal from my garden. We had flat iron steak but to go with it, a really good grilled eggplant and tomato dish. I cut the small Japanese eggplants in half and marinated them for about 45 minutes with fresh garlic, thyme, salt, pepper and olive oil. I cut my larger cherry tomatoes in half and grilled them all.  As they finished, I tossed in fresh basil and a bit of shredded romano. They were outstanding.

eggplant grilled.aug.14.11 eggplant grilled.aug.14.12 eggplant grilled.aug.14.13

I also made a fresh peach tart. If you haven’t had any Arkansas peaches this year, you are missing out. I was fortunate to get a box from Clarksville yesterday and not only were they pristine, but the flavor is amazing. It is so easy to eat healthy in Arkansas summers. In addition to all this, I made a huge crockpot full of fresh black eyed peas on Thursday, and my husband took the bulk to share with his staff.  They accompanied them with greens and cornbread on Friday and he said it was a hit!

As I was taking trash out tonight I saw a baby praying mantis in the driveway. I went back in for my camera and it took me forever to find him again, but I did. Where there is one, there should be several. They are beneficial insects, but they do eat each other and both good and bad bugs–they aren’t too picky.  But they are fun to see!

praying mantis baby august2.14.3

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