Spectacular Progress Made on Community Garden Project
Last Saturday significant progress was made by members of our club towards finalising the dream of a community garden.  Despite temperatures in the low 30s, a team of 17 members together with three from the school P and C completed a compost bin together with two 1.4 x 1.2 x 0.4 metre high garden beds.  Half the team worked swinging picks and shovels to clear the weeds and shrubs in order to prepare the ground while the other half carried out the necessary woodwork.  This was not easy as the railway sleepers were wet and very heavy.  All had to be cut to size, then physically carried to the site a distance of over fifty metres and assembled.  It is something to be said for our Club that more than half our members were prepared to give up their Saturday and do this.  The fabulous morning tea prepared by Di Walker and the cold drinks from Toula and the camaraderie which we all enjoyed were things which made the morning's work special.  For it was not just about building garden beds, it is about building friendships while doing something really worthwhile for the community.
Having said all this, there are still eight garden beds to be built and they all have to be filled with dirt.  One of our biggest needs is sourcing suitable cordless drills and drivers along with the human power to drive them.  So, watch this space.  Thursday 8th April has been suggested for our next big effort.  This has yet to be confirmed but for those able to join us, mark this date in your diaries and come along at around 11.00am.  It will be a great day out and a useful one as well.
North Epping Gardens Update
Thank you to Epping Rotary and the P and C
The earth shakes as eight cubic meters of garden soil roll past Peter Garrard’s bedroom window. 
“Oh golly; where is that going?’ he thinks to himself.  And then he remembers it is Saturday and he needs to be where that soil is about to be dumped.  It is important that the 12-tonne truck tiptoe lightly across the soft and manicured lawn that is the children’s playground.  He needs to be there.  Pulling on his favorite pair of faded grey shorts and a random black, or maybe it is a blue-grey T-shirt, he sprints for his car.  There is a squeal of tyres and a shower of gravel as he speeds off after the truck that by now is almost at the end of Norfolk Road and about to turn into the school grounds. 
There is a team already there.  They have brought with them a disparate assortment of apparatus necessary for shifting soil.  There are numerous interpretations of spades and shovels and wheelbarrows.  One wheelbarrow is a relic of the early days of the Industrial Revolution when wheelbarrows were made by blacksmiths working with anvils and sledgehammers.  It is impregnated by gaping rust holes.  But Bruce has brought it along anyway.  Because he is keen.  Despite having a great affection for this wheel barrow, he readily swaps it for one with pneumatic tyres and a tray that will actually hold dirt. 
It is only 8.00am and many Rotarians are on the wrong side of sixty.  There has been no time for breakfast, the customary early morning coffee or the perusal of the morning papers.  They are there anyway.  But shifting soil is hard work and after several barrow lifts, most are beginning to wilt.  They are in need of caffein and sugar.  But they are stoic and this is a project that has captured everyone’s imagination for it will be a significant contribution to the community.
With a team of over twenty to push the barrows and wield the shovels, the dirt pile begins to shrink and the garden beds fill.  More helpers arrive.  More than half our members are there as well as several parents and the school’s general assistant.  All have given up their Saturday morning to be part of this.  The mums and dads are less than half the age of the Rotarians and have energy surplus to needs.  They work like machines, never stopping to gasp for breath or to rest aching backs.
Over the past month the community garden has taken shape.  It will be an essential accessory to the school’s food and garden program.  It is anticipated that it will be possible to eat whatever comes out of the garden minus a few worms and snails.  The children will learn that there is an essential link between seeds and seedlings and what is stacked on the supermarket shelves.  They will find out that growing food can be just as interesting as eating it. 
Within one and a half hours the entire eight cubic meters of garden soil has been moved and the project has been completed.  The thirteen 2.5 by 1.2 meter beds are ready to be planted.  I want to celebrate with fireworks and speeches but it is daylight and Rotary can’t afford the crackers.  Besides, they wouldn’t be visible and nobody likes speeches before breakfast.  Instead, most adjourn to a local café. 
So thank you to everyone who contributed.  Thank you to Peter and others who conceived the project and then worked tirelessly to wrest a few dollars out of the Federal Government.  Thank you to those who risked the aches and pains that resulted from the wear and tear on bodies not normally accustomed to building gardens from railway sleepers or moving dirt around.  So, until next time……
Peter and Trevor