Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
I was and wasn't surprised to read a Facebook post from someone in Collinsville yesterday on how to deal with raccoons constantly getting into their trash cans and not only eating and spreading trash, but chewing through the lids. Even more enlightening were the comments from others in Collinsville who all agreed they too had raccoon issues and the raccoons seemed to be in every part of town.
I guess our on going raccoon problem is just part of a larger raccoon problem. Collinsville must be the raccoon center of the world. Here's a photo of the latest raccoon we had trapped. I've since taken a hedge trimmer to the lillies which grieved me, but why be too welcoming.
This is a lesson in how Israel overcame a drought which caused the people in that country to totally change their lifestyles, even down to how long they could shower. Plants in gardens were suddenly artificial as were lawns. Cars were not allowed to be washed and on and on. That was six years ago. Now there is plenty of water and the reason is the invention of ways to desalinate salt water from the Mediterranean Sea and recycle waste water.
This is nothing short of amazing, from drought to plenty of water in 6 years. Maybe people who could make similar things happen in California are over in Israel seeing how to make them back home.
The number of weeds which grow unabated in any one yard or garden is without number and almost impossible to eliminate. I've been watching our flower beds and lawns recently and am constantly taken aback by how quickly these weeds multiply. If you don't at least hack them back, they'll take over within weeks.
Locally you find the always nasty Creeping Charlie, Dandelions, nut sedge, mulberry tree seedlings, violets, vine types, wild mustard, stink weed which will get 8 feet tall if you don't hack it back,
and one like this which I've learned can ease the itching from mosquito bites. Crumble up one of the leaves and rub it on the bite.
Also, I count as weeds, euonymus and various ivies which strangle trees and will grow up and on and into homes if left alone. Honeysuckle takes over as well and while the blooms smell sweet, if you don't try and get rid of it (good luck) you'll soon find your yard or fence has disappeared.
Then there are these uninvited guests which grow 6 feet tall almost over night, have a red stem which mature and mulitply.
Organically, no one likes herbicides or pesticides, but how in the world can we get on top of these things? I keep hoping someday someone will point out a great use for all these characters which grow taller, faster and in greater numbers than flowers and grass.
Yesterday a mountain lion was euthanized after being hit by a car on I-44 in Missouri. Mountain lions in Missouri?! Who knew?
Turns out people who track such things have learned there are 51 confirmed sightings of these animals in Missouri and all are males. Interesting. But really, if there are males around there must be females as well, someone's giving birth to all these boy mountain lions.
When our previous campus lawn service company walked out on their contract without notice we had to scramble to not only find another company but do a lot of grass cutting ourselves, along with many student staff volunteers. It's spring after all and the grass grows fast. We signed with Top Care two weeks ago, the company which does Wash U and others and they are fantastic.
They cut this difficult 72 acre campus with hundreds of trees, buildings, signage, curbs, shrubs, alleys and all other sorts of things to go around and through so efficiently and well. I mean they do a beautiful job and are done by 4. The other company still had people cutting or trimming at 7 at night and still had to come back the next day. Plus Top Care has managers driving around all day long to make sure things are done perfectly. The grass cutters are followed by trimmers who are followed by clean-up guys. It's amazing.
In addition the workers are very friendly, they wave, smile. Top Care is a keeper for sure.
Here we go for the final push. Brought in a mulching company to mulch around the many trees and beds on the main campus. This is the most amazing thing I've ever seen. they come in a couple of big hauler trucks, pull out long hoses and shoot the mulch into the right spot. It goes so fast, so much better than the last company we had who used men pushing wheelbarrows of mulch around for days.
As I mentioned the other day, the seminary lost its lawn service company and many people around here have been pitching in to make the outdoors look good for Wednesday's Call Day, the biggest day on campus, the day when second year students learn where they will be vicaring (interning) next year and the graduating class finds out where they will be pastoring their own congregations.
Yesterday I went out and edged the sidewalks around main campus. Here's what the entrance sidewalks look like now without grass overlapping.
With an edging machine, things work fairly easily and makes the area look so much better.
As an aside, Mary! Would you tell Ruth her edger is still in business and still doing its job. Just not on Tillotson anymore!
And, at the end of last week we agreed to terms with another lawn service company who will be able to take over the first week in May. This will be Top Care, the company which does Wash U's properties so we're confident in their abilities.