Monday, January 21, 2008

Day Fourteen: January 2008

Day Fourteen: Monday, January 21

It was only 30 degrees when we awoke this morning, so we are counting this as a warming trend. The Souljas made powdered eggs and spam for our guests Dave and Erik and then we all went out to work. One person from each team went to Rosie’s to prep the houses for painting soon. Chris, Justin, Katie, Erik, Serg, Tommy, and Sam worked to complete trimwork and caulk wall edges so that we can start the painting process. We believe that we can start painting on Tuesday in 4009, then on Wednesday in 4011. If things go our way over these next few days, we think we will actually finish this job. We hope, we hope, we hope. . .

As for the rest of the group, we rejoined our old friend Macon Fry the Garden Guy from Parkway Partners, a greenspace agency that supports public parks and monuments and community gardens. Today he asked us to join him at a garden in Gentilly. The farmer at that garden was the only organic farmer in New Orleans for about fifteen years, before others caught on to the lure of organics. Now she runs a space of about an acre in the Gentilly neighborhood and once it gets into full swing, she will be a primary supplier for some well-known chefs in New Orleans.

The job at that garden today was to spread sand over some of the beds. Though this task sounds harmless enough, the amount of sand to be spread made it a much bigger deal that it seems. Huge trucks delivered 40 yards of sand to the garden in one enormous mound. Our job was to use regular old shovels to transfer the sand to wheelbarrows then push the wheelbarrows all over the acre of land to scatter it. We deposited the sand into walking paths or into sections of the garden that grow lettuce and other produce that will thrive in sandy conditions.

Even that description probably sounds pretty low-key, unless you know several things: 1) the mound of sand stood higher than most of our heads when we arrived, 2) according to our research, a cubic yard of sand weighs 2700 pounds, meaning that 40 cubic yards of sand weigh 108,000 pounds, 3) 108,000 pounds equal 54 tons, 4) the crew at the garden was only 24 people strong, and therefore 5) each person moved an average of more than two tons of sand. We are having trouble believing these figures, but they seem to be true. And you, dear reader, should believe two things about us: 1) when we say we did “tons” of work, we did, and 2) when we say we can move mountains, we can.

The garden crew headed over to join the crew at Rosie’s in the afternoon, and helped to plug away at the middles of the jobs that are in progress there. We all decided to knock off at 5:00 today so that we could head back to camp and give everything a good cleaning. We gave the shower trailer a good scrubbing, we emptied and vacuumed the bus, we reorganized both the tent and the warehouse, and we gathered up our laundry (370 pounds of it!) and sent it to be washed.

We met tonight to outline our hopes and dreams for the next seven days of our trip, particularly relating to the jobs we intend to complete. Our list is long and daunting, but we expect to check off every item.

We bid farewell today to our three visitors: Shawny’s sister Sherry, Dave Blanchard, and Erik Robert. Thanks to all of you for joining our group!

It’s a little hard to calculate hours for today, especially because the chain gang that moved the sandpile believes it deserves double credit for every hour it worked. Still, the rough total for the day is 244, making our overall running total 3643.

Exhausted from wheelbarrow races, Matt and Elijah take a short breather in the barrows.

Obi and Elijah stand on the top of the sand mountain and throw shovel after shovel full of sand into the wheelbarrow.

Little Aaron wakes up from a lunch time nap as Alec tries to hide from the camera.

As the workbooted members of the team shoveled soil for the Parkway Partners, the team members wearing tennis shoes stayed nice and warm in the greenhouse.

4 tons of sand were delivered in the morning which gave us the daunting task of working together to move mountains.

Meanwhile, as Eric gets to work, the rest of the group goes into a well deserved relaxation mode.

Apparently Eric, our guest, has family in New Orleans and thought that if he went to go see his family he wouldn’t have any work waiting for him when he got back. HAHA, little did he know that we had a little present waiting for him when he got back.

This weekend we had some guests come stay with us. One of our guests, Eric has some visitors of his own at the work camp. It’s his New Orleans native family that he hasn’t seen in years.

People say that pictures speak 1,000 words. Well this picture shows how this extremely large sand pile attempted to break 1,000 backs. Everyone puts in their work and shovels loads of sand.

Today we had to move a sand pile that weighed approx. 106,000 pounds. Knowing us, and with all the competitive people we have here, a competition between two teams was inevitable. Here Elijah (team 1) is running the returning leg of his wheel barrel run.

Matt and Scott head back to the sand pile to get another load.

Everyone “takes five” after finishing the Parkway Partners job.

Shawny and Linzy shovel away at the mountain of sand we moved today.

Look at Lindsay go! We all took turns pushing wheelbarrows of sand to help level the lots.

Today we worked at a Parkway Partners Community Garden. Hopefully the farmers will soon be able to provide organic food to the neighborhood.