It was a cold Saturday morning, and as we walked through the Panhandle we could hear heavy drops of condensed fog falling from the tall trees. But there was work to do! A large eucalyptus branch had fallen near the south path. In the mound full of perennials, Bermuda Grass was sending its ropy underground shoots through and around our plantings. Weedy annual grasses had infiltrated the rain garden. Thousands of leaves and passels of bark strips lay scattered across the meadows. And the stumps of dead trees stuck up from the turf, like unfinished business. Was there any way for us to accomplish all of the work? Fortunately, our regular volunteers were in attendance, and our numbers were bolstered by the Bridgemen, a group for gay, bi and trans men who get together and give back to the community in service projects.
By the end of the workday, the weather was still damp and chilly, but the group had persevered through the challenging project. The tally was seven tree stumps removed. The cart was full of the stubs of roots and the pickup truck had a full load of weeds and leaves. The traces of our work removing the stumps showed in several areas with a topping of fresh soil. With the work done by the end of the morning, the Panhandle was looking great, and was more ready for tree plantings that are anticipated this fall.