Monday, September 6, 2010

Sept. 6, 2010

Maasai Photos: Tanzania: At top - click on "slideshow"

The apples were still cool from the night and wet with dew when I picked them this morning. My favorite variety, Golden Delicious, is still crisp and a bit tart but make tasty applesauce for the winter (Judy prefers pur̩ed sauce and I prefer chunky Рwe make some of both.) We were a bit late for the Gravenstein apples, but we have processed all we can. As I worked there was one curious Scrub Jay that sat very close by on a branch and watched me. He is an old friend that has hung around all summer Рwith little apparent fear. I talk to him and he crooks his head to one side and looks me over.

The school year is falling into place. I will be working half time with a variety of student teachers and interns to supervise. I will be travelling from Berkeley to Hayward… never more than two visits in a day… leaving time for other projects. It is a daunting thing for a new teacher to take responsibility for teaching Biology to 32 tenth graders! It takes planning, audacity, and courage. I tell my student teachers that it is normal to start with an “imposters complex” to stand in front of the students and feel certain that all the students know that you aren’t really a teacher. But I tell them that at first it is like play-acting – they must play the part of the teacher and over a few days time they discover that they function quite well in that role.

Late summer – I prune back my shrubs before cold weather, collect all the cuttings and feed them into my “chipper”. It is so satisfying to see the big pile of nuisance branches turned into valuable mulch. I scoop all the chips into a big pile and the next morning the internal temperature is too hot to touch. The bacteria have started digesting any remaining sugars as they begin the break down process. If my pile should be allowed to get too large, spontaneous combustion might occur! If there are stray weed seeds mixed it they will get cooked and unable to germinate. When cool, the nutrients will go back into the garden, either mixed into the soil or as a top layer to prevent drying.

We have been home 9 days and our jet lag is pretty much gone – I am now sleeping until 6 AM – almost normal. We must take anti- malaria medicine one more week. Its only negative side effect if that it gives me very intense dreams – not unpleasant ones – but dreams with a strong degree of presence.