Let me tell you right off----that set of pretty hands holding the squash, or whatever the heck vine plant it happens to be, probably had no part in growing the veggie.
Why do I know this?
Those red fingernails and soft white aka "clean" hands.
Definitely a giveaway to the critical eye of anyone who's spent much time working in a garden.
I was talking about this very subject yesterday while visiting with a group of ladies at Tango Cafe in the downtown Columbia Bank.
The conversation, which initiated on the subject of books, soon turned to gardening and very quickly, "would I be interested in taking a class on Master Gardening?"
Little did they have a clue about my "January Dreams" posting yesterday where the mention of seed catalogs just puts my mind in a spin, thinking about this year's garden and how I'm gonna grow it so that I'm not violating Fish and Game rules of "feeding the deer."
At that same venue, I later talked to my old friends, Skip and Nancy Pucci, who reported with a hint of pride that they had done an excellent job of feeding the deer with their gardening efforts last summer.
During this conversation, I mentioned the possibility of taking the Master Gardener class and suggesting that maybe, just maybe, the Masters know how to grow food that deer don't like.
After all, last summer the Bambi thieves liked EVERYTHING I planted, no matter where I planted it----on the manure pile, on the deck, inside the fenced-in garden, in the north lawn planters covered with netting. It didn't matter. They ate most of it, occasionally leaving behind a scarred up potato or two.
So, I'm hoping, fully aware that some of the deer haven't even left the area for the winter, that Master Gardeners will have come up with the secret to humans growing a garden and then eating it too.
I don't feel too confident, however, that they'll have a section in the 14 lessons on how to save those fingertips and nails from looking like we grub around in the dirt all day.
What the heck, we DO grub around in the dirt!
So why should we be so embarrassed at Wal-Mart or North 40 when the clerk watches those permanently stained, rough hands and dirty fingernails (if we have them) while we fill out a check.
As embarrassing as it is, I do think it's a lot better see black fingertips and nails than those hands with three yellow fingers from smoking way too much.
At least playing in the dirt and growing "most" produce is healthy and good for society.
After yesterday's Tango encounter with some potential soil soulmates, I now have information on this year's Master Gardeners program and have promised to pass on it on to anyone else who doesn't care about getting down and dirty.
Speaking of which, maybe I'll learn some methods in this class of not having to get down quite so much while weeding.
I happened to be pretty old-fashioned with my gardening methods, but if I can learn the easy way to create raised beds and save my back, that would be really nice.
So, to anyone with a green thumb who doesn't mind dealing with a few months of dirty but busy fingers, you'll see a letter below from Bonner County Gardeners Membership chair Penny Barton, explaining the class and providing contact information for obtaining an application.
January dreaming for me has suddenly turned into promising potential for some reality where I can get together with like-minded new friends and learn to enhance my skills at a spring, summer and fall activity that feeds my soul, the starving deer and occasionally family member and friends.
Not a bad deal.
Happy Thursday. See Penny's letter below.
Greetings Potential Bonner County Gardener Member
You have expressed an interest is taking our membership course from attending a HH class, the booth at the Fair, the Home and Garden Show or from our table at the Farmers Market.
I am delighted to send you our membership application to fill out and return to me. Our Garden Association is all about Education, Community Service and Camaraderie and we do all of them with pleasure and enthusiasm.
I am the Membership Chairperson for our Association and will be there with you through almost every class you attend. Along with a few other members, I will select the instructors for each class and schedule facilitators to assist with classes.
We strive to have classes that best suit gardening in North Idaho, which of course sometimes is a real challenge. I will be there each morning to greet you and keep you posted on all things going on in the association that you should know about and to keep the classes running smoothly.
Our teaching manual is the University of Idaho Master Gardener Manual. The class price is $150.00 per person, unless we have a couple taking the class and if they choose to share a manual the price is $125.00 each.
There are usually 14 three and a half to four hour classes, plus a meet-and-greet luncheon party just before classes begin. Everyone taking this year’s classes will be invited along with our entire membership so that relationships can begin to form with your class.
I plan to start the classes on Monday the 1st of February 2016. There will be classes every Monday and Friday starting about 9 am. Classes are held at our office in Ponderay, and it would be appreciated that you arrive about 8:45 so everyone is settled and ready for the class to begin at 9 a.m. sharp.
Our instructors come from the University of Idaho, from Nursery owners, from knowledgeable members of our Association etc. There is a review day at the end of the course and you will receive the review a week or two before to complete.
There will be a panel of members who go through the review with your class. There are no tests to pass just a review to see that our teachers have been effective with our classes.
Our Association is a non-profit organization about 80 members strong. We do things like provide educational opportunities for the public in our spring and fall Home Hort series.
Usually we have 6 spring classes and up to 6 fall classes, covering varies gardening subjects. We do beautification projects like re-landscaping the front of the fairgrounds a few years back to this year adding a “Jack and the Bean Stock Bench” to the Farmers Market.
Our group is kept running smoothly because we so enjoy one another company. We use to have potlucks at each other’s home and gardens in the summertime but we missed each other in the winter so now we have potlucks all year long.
Our winter time potlucks consist of snow shoeing together if the snow is suitable. If not, we just stay in eat and visit for a few hours. A good time is always had by all.
I urge you to get to get to know us a little bit better by visiting our website bcgardeners.org and our facebook page facebook.com/bcgardeners. We do not require any hours from you at the end of your course but we do hope that you will wish to stay on with us as there are many ways you can help with our projects being a member.
Please contact me with any questions you might have. I do hope to hear from you about signing up for our classes. I welcome the idea of getting to know you better in the future. Come Learn, Work and Play with us.
Membership Chairperson 2016
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 610-1493
PS if you know of someone that might be interested in our classes, I will be happy to send them this letter and an application. Thank so very much for your interest in our classes and becoming a member of our Association.