Monday, April 26, 2021

Harvest Monday...and more - 26 April 2021

 Hello again from Eight Gate Farm. What a wild spring we’re having. The days have alternated between quite warm and unpleasantly cold. We even had a snow accumulation on April 16. You might say it’s what to expect for a New England “spring,” but it seems extreme. It’s hard to get your garden timing right.

But at least I’m able to report our first harvest of the year, a modest picking of asparagus. The wild weather left the stalks somewhat shopworn, but they sure were tasty!

Since I don’t have any other harvests to share, I’ll show you a fun growing event. A few months ago I bought a tiny ginger rhizome at the market for something like 40 cents. I was hoping that since the market was Whole Foods, it had a better chance of not being treated with a growth inhibitor, but you never know. I planted it in a 4” pot filled with seed starting mix, and kept it watered. Within a short time it sent up a stalk. This weekend I transplanted it into its “permanent” home. I’ll keep it inside until we are well past the cold weather.

Young ginger plant

I’m sure most have been feeling anxious, lonely, and depressed about the pandemic. I know I have, and I’m an introvert! Fortunately, I and the people close to me have stayed healthy, and all are fully vaccinated now. But seeing all the distress around me I wondered if there was any way I could help out somehow. Then I discovered our regional Medical Reserve Corps was recruiting volunteers. For those unaware (as I was), the MRC is a little-known initiative established after 9/11 under the general umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security. It was designed to mobilize quickly and respond to natural disasters, terrorist events, and (who knew?) disease outbreaks. Both medical and non-medical staff are quickly trained and deployed. Even though I have no clinical training, it seemed like there was a place for me. At the very least I thought I could direct traffic and smile at people!

I applied for a position, got vetted, and was accepted into the Corps. Our task is to run mobile vaccination clinics. It has truly been an amazing, heartwarming experience. So far I’ve volunteered at 13 of these clinics, supplying the first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine to senior housing complexes, the teachers and staff of school administrative districts, and other venues. I’ve done all kinds of meaningful tasks, short of actually sticking anyone (lucky for them). I especially enjoy sitting at a vaccination table and entering the recipients’ data into the federal Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) database as they are getting jabbed. I’m sure many of you in the US have gotten your appointments through this system.

I’ve met some great people, all volunteers. I have tremendous respect for them, especially the nurses who spend all day filling syringes, making sure that not a drop is wasted or discarded at the end of the day. Here’s an (awkward) selfie at the exit of a school gymnasium. The staff created balloons that spelled out #VACCINATED. A nice touch!

So are the smiley-face nurse balloons!

A funny experience is to see big, burly men with arms covered in tattoos being petrified of the needle!

Being in the MRC, I was thus qualified to work at the Vaccination Super Site run by the State of New Hampshire and held at the NH Motor Speedway. I’ve attended all four of them, and it is truly a sight to behold. Here literally hundreds of volunteers are deployed to do all that it takes to vaccinate large numbers of people, typically pushing through 40 cars at a time in under four minutes.

At the Vaccination Super Site in Loudon, NH

This past Saturday was the last of these clinics, giving 7200 people their second Pfizer dose. I felt proud that my team, two vaccinators (nurse and EMT), two data loggers (like me) and a vaccine support person, administered the last dose to the recipients in the last car, at the end of the last day this site will be in operation. I’ll always remember this.

Okay, nothing to do with gardening. I just wanted to spread a little hope and joy in this difficult time. I hope you’ve stayed safe and are ready to enjoy life again.

Thanks so much for reading, and thanks as always to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.