I love being able to balance out the time I have at home with my voluntary work at the neighbourhood centre. Today is the first of my three days there this week. Monday is always busy because I have to write articles for the local newspaper and have them ready before lunchtime - as well as answering phones and dealing with the people who come in. After Monday morning, it's all down hill. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd find such joy in voluntary work. When I retired it was one of the things I wanted to do but I didn't have a clue where I would work or what I would do. Fortune, they say, favours the brave - one day I just walked into the Centre and asked if they needed helpers. Now I run the place and do things like teach budgeting, train volunteers, talk to people who need a little help and a hundred other things. It's a wonderful place with good people and I get a lot out of being there. If you're thinking of doing some voluntary work - dive right in. You'll find real joy in being able to help and if my experience is anything to go by, it will change you in many unexpected ways.
When you set your mind to it, you can create, recycle, grow and make do with so many of the things already in your home. You don't need to go to the store and buy new - what you have already at your fingertips can be used for many simple tasks. All you have to do is to work out how to use what you have in a different way, and to think creatively. Forget what advertising tells you, what you buy is usually inferior to what you can make yourself.
With this mindset I have been slowly increasing the number of avocado trees in our backyard. Below is the seed of an avocado we recently had on our salads. I sprouted the seed and soon it will be planted out. Growing from seed takes longer than buying a grafted tree, but you eventually get the same fruit. It just takes more time - and the will to do it. This is a great project for children too. The seeds sprout fairly readily and it's wonderful to watch as it grows a little every day. All you do is to fill a small jar with fresh water, poke two toothpicks into the side of the seed to help the seed stay on top of the jar. The bottom of the seed should be just touching the water. Keep it in a warm, well lit area, like a window sill. In a week or so it will sprout, a few weeks after that it will look like the seed in the photo below. When the green shoot is tall and strong and when there are well developed roots, plant it out into a pot with well draining soil. After a year or so, plant it in the garden. A grafted avocado will produce fruit in about 4 or 5 years. This way will take about ten years. It's a long term project, but a worthwhile one.
Thank you all for your comments last week. I always enjoy reading them. Let's hope this week is a good one for all of us. Take care everyone.