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G A T H E R I N G S | Gardening

It was several months ago, actually it was during the Gatherings Wreath Class in December of last year, when the idea of Dirt & Danish originated. Sheila Jones made mention of being a Master Gardener and, immediately, Hart Berry spoke up and said that she would love for me to have a gardening class and have Sheila come teach. So, there you have it, ladies. It is just that easy! Unfortunately, Hart was unable to attend Dirt & Danish this past Saturday, but Sheila did an amazing job of giving us step-by-step instructions on how to prepare our beds for maximum growth. Along with tips and ideas for this coming spring's plantings. Hart, I hate you missed it, but Sheila said she would do another class so let's make sure you are here for that one cause girl, it was sooooooo good!

I had the most fun searching Pinterest for ideas for this Gatherings class. And don't you just love my little garden markers I made for the ladies to take home with them ... just old wine corks and wooden skewers from Walmart.

I had been watching the weather all week and knew it was going to be a little chilly when the ladies arrived. So, since my hubby had hung painter's drop cloth on my screen porch at the end of last year (for me to be able to sit outside on chilly days), I knew it would be the perfect place to gather. Over the years, I have accumulated several couches so I put up them out to create an outdoor living room area while we ate breakfast.

Speaking of breakfast, I served my favorite receipt of Gouda cheese grits along with fried chicken stuffed inside rolls, fresh blackberries and strawberries, and my most favorite danish in the world from O&H Danish Bakery I always order the almond danish and keep in my freezer for special occasions (thanks to Peggy Stephens for turning me onto O&H Danish). It was so yummy.

For those of you that do not know Sheila Jones, she is something else. And I mean something else! She and I have known each other for over 20 years. We worked together at a law firm downtown many years ago. Her husband, Dr. Les Jones, was my sons' pediatrician (and is now my grandson's pediatrician). Sheila is truly one of the smartest women I know. She is a registered nurse, an attorney, a supervisor of Madison County, a Master Gardner, a Beekeeper and no telling what else I have failed to mention. But I think Sheila would say her biggest accomplishment is that she is the mother of Allison and Grant Jones.

Sheila loves God's creation and does her part in taking care of it. On Saturday morning, as we sat and listened to her passion on gardening, she reminded us of the importance of bees. We were all in tears as she educated us on how only God could create something so intelligent yet so small and so important.

The Lord God keeps me in awesome wonder.

She encouraged us to do our part in the ecosystem and not spray pesticides for mosquitoes but consider spraying a garlic substance that would work just as well and won't kill the bees. She also told us that the County has pellets that we can use in standing water to help control mosquitoes.

After we finished the lecture part of the class, we gathered up our buckets and groovy garden gloves, and headed down to the garden (well, I use that term loosely ... two raised beds where I try and grow veggies), to watch Sheila mix together her special concoction.

Sheila suggested saving money by making our own special recipe: mix together one bag of mulch with two bags of the cheapest garden soil you can find, throw in a small bag of peat moss and a small bottle of Osmocote.

Sheila also gave each of us a bag of compost that she has been working on for years. Coffee grinds, banana peels, egg shells, etc. She said that she wants to start a compost business called "dirty girls". And I say "why not"? If you have it in your heart, you need to bring it into existence.

As I stood on top of the raised beds to snap some pics of the ladies scooping up their dirt, I caught myself smiling so big and thinking "Wow girl, you are so blessed!" Who would have thought last year at this time that I would be doing something that brings me so much joy? Never in a million years would I have imagined that this would be so fulfilling. I almost hated when the class was over and the ladies made their way out my front door: bucket full of dirt in hand, along with flower seeds from Floret Flower Farms, basil seed wrapped in scripture, garden gloves, glass full of clippings from my yard and a piece of my heart.

I'm already counting down the days until the next Gatherings class where Certified Sommelier, Scott Jackson, will be teaching us about wine. To be honest, I am not a big wine drinker. In fact, you would be embarrassed to be with me when I order a glass of wine "may I have the cheapest, sweetest, pinkest glass of wine you have please?". Who does that? Somebody that does not know a thing about wine! Bless my heart. I am personally looking forward to being culturally enriched at this Gatherings | Date Night on Friday, March 23rd. Sign up today.

Ladies, thank you for giving me this opportunity. My heart feels like it could explode. I am truly blessed,

Love Jill

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