Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Master Gardener Class #4

I'm not sure if I mentioned on here that I was going to attend the Master Gardener class from January through March. I am trying to progress from growing impatiens and tomatoes successfully to something a little more complicated. Not only that, but the growing environment in Tennessee is crazy different compared to Illinois. More and larger insects, hot and dry summer days, nosy next-door neighbors who prune and cut things down without notice.

The other night at work we had a little downtime, and I was sitting at the nurse's station along with a lab tech who was waiting to get into a room. My "Gardening in Tennessee and Kentucky" book was laying on the desk nearby.

"A garden book? Who's the gardener?"

"That's mine. I am. I'm from Illinois, so I need to learn more about growing things here."

ALERT, ALERT: Probably one of the stupidest questions ever asked to me:

"Does anything even GROW in Illinois? You know, with it bein' so cold up there?"

Hello foo, have you ever heard of "The Corn Belt?"

So today was my fourth class. Every night the "graduated" Master Gardeners serve a spread of food that follows a theme. Tonight was Italian night, I think. There was tomato bread and garlic toast with basil, pesto, and sun-dried tomato spreads, and pasta salad with feta cheese and artichoke hearts. Tonight was my first time ever tasting artichokes, which turned out to be a little bit of a disaster. There was a large woman sitting next to me in class and she had that "dirty" smell that I recognized so easily, the same malodorous stench that waifs around the ER all the time. The smell didn't ruin my appetite, but like my friend said on facebook, it could have influenced my opinion about the artichoke hearts in a negative direction. So I will have to be sure to sample them again sometime in this lifetime.

Continuing on with the food list (and this is about where the Italian ends, except for the pizzelles and pizza rolls)--pumpkin bread, vegetable tray, and nuts. The ongoing discussion in the food line during our halftime break was the impending snow.

"I wonder if the kids will have school in the morning."

"Well, it's got to be colder than in the 40's for them to cancel it."

"I hear the temperature is going to drop tonight and turn to freezing rain."

"They are predicting an inch of snow!"

A winter weather advisory for ONE INCH??? All I could think to myself was, wimps.

The woman who needed to thoroughly clean all of her body folds kind-of ruined the educational experience for me tonight. The speaker, who was a retired professor from the University of Tennessee, kept the discussion light and humorous. But even that didn't help much, because every time the woman laughed she would move around and kick up a new round of stench.

Quotes from the professor:

When speaking of living in Minnesota: "It started snowing in October and you could look outside and see snow until the 16th of April, and we found that somewhat excessive." Almost everyone in the class nodded in agreement.

While showing a slide of a badly-pruned tree that had the terminal branch (top branch) hacked off: "Yes Virginia, you too can have a 40-foot hat rack in your front yard. If you have to prune it again I recommend one single cut right here," and he motioned to the base of the trunk.

Toward the end of night, regarding his being the speaker for the class: "It's all in the unit, everything's in the unit. I don't know why I even do this." That got quite a chuckle from all, but I think he might have been dead serious.

It was overall a fun class, but I have been sitting here typing for the past 20 minutes, home for almost 2 hours, and have changed my clothes. Yet I can still smell that woman. Maybe next week I'll be antisocial and sit in a corner somewhere, just in case.


walk2write said...

That prof sounds like a real hoot. At least you signed up in time for the MG class, and they have a night class. I returned to FL too late to be admitted to the only local session offered this year. If the lady with intertriginous problems shows up next time, bring a bottle of therapeutic-grade essential oil with you and sprinkle a few drops on a Kleenex, leaving it strategically placed between you and the offending odor. Lavender is one that most people won't mind. The whole room will smell better, and the food will be much more appetizing.

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