February 11, 2017 – Hero or Nero?


“Our soul is sometimes a king, and sometimes a tyrant. A king, by attending to what is honorable, protects the good health of the body in its care, and gives it no base or sordid command. But an uncontrolled, desire-fueled, over-indulged soul is turned from a king into that most feared and detested thing – a tyrant.” – Seneca, Moral Letters, 114.24

My physical body continues to demand more than my mind is capable of delivering. Today was the 5th Annual City Wide Citrus Harvest in Jacksonville, FL. This even consists of the Society of St. Andrew and Feeding Northeast Florida visiting homes throughout the city in an effort to salvage citrus that would otherwise go unpicked. I was a site coordinator for the 4th time (we have a total of five sites) in the five years of the event’s existence. My bout with bronchitis, showing progress towards victory but still far from over, saw me in a condition that left me disappointed in how I managed the volunteers. Six homes went untouched. But thanks to my wife, and the basic goodness of those who volunteered, we still managed to glean an estimated 26,000 lbs of citrus. The actual figure will be released in the coming weeks.

What does this have to do with Seneca’s quote about the difference between a king and a tyrant?

I needed to be a site by 7:15 am to begin setting up my table, chairs, forms to be filled out, tools for picking and the necessary act of greeting volunteers. I was operating on maybe 3 hours of sleep. I was coughing. My body was aching. I haven’t had an appetite in days so my blood sugar was far too low for the activity required over the next 4 hours.

There were around 100 people looking up at me when, at 8:15 am, I began to explain what this effort entails. That what we pick will feed people across seven counties. That every year the volunteer count goes up, the weight in citrus picked goes up and we inevitably pick up more houses for next year’s event. There are families, church groups, business and single individuals who participate, and it is my job to take all the data supplied to me and create temporary communities of people. These communities will drive to homes and pick fruit. At my site we had 54 homes to visit before the end of the day, designated as noon.

This morning I had to look beyond my own malaise and represent the charitable organizations who entrusted me to be their spokesperson. The volunteers didn’t want to see some guy complaining about not feeling well. Telling them that he’s sorry it wasn’t be run better, but he’s doing the best he can. I needed their help. I needed to be a good leader. This wasn’t about me, or how I felt.

Hero or Nero are extremes. We need simply be good for the sake of things other than ourselves. Be a thoughtful friend, co-worker, spouse, student, consumer or neighbor. Are we edifying our community? Is our focus on justice and fairness, or are we simply looking to get what we want? Are we demanding things from others that, if thrust upon us, we’d recoil?

We should seek the best from ourselves, and others. We should work to be the leader we look for in others.

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Gleaning – All the Beans!!!


Our first bucket of beans

Gleaning is back with a vengance! Well, for me it is. Unfortunately the opportunities have recently been solely weekday, so when Sandi sent the email asking us to be at the ready for this past Saturday my wife and I blocked out the time. The morning was spent at the KYV farm off of 16A which is near World Golf Village. It was a beautifully crisp Saturday and the first vegetable glean. Our target crop was green beans and while a bit less demanding than picking citrus there was considerable effort needed to maneuver through the bushes so that we did not destroy the entire plan.

Adding to the joy of working the land again was a fact I would learn latter: this land is owned by a friend’s brother! Nice to be part of that circle. Our responsibility was a delivery to Waste Not Want Not and our yield for them was 53 pounds. I have no idea whether that is good or bad harvest but it sure looked like a lot of beans! Here is the email from Sandi letting us know how successful the day was as well as what opportunities are upcoming.

Good morning gleaners! Last Saturday, 14 volunteers enjoyed a breezy morning in the bean field, picking 300 lbs. of tender, delicious green beans. We’re returning to the farm this Wednesday morning at 8:30 to see if we can harvest another few hundred pounds before the plants are pulled and the field put to rest for the summer. It would be great if you could join us for a few hours to see if we can’t “rescue” these beans for the agencies we serve.

I also have the following dates set for gleaning: Saturday, 5/19 and Wednesday, 5/23, potatoes in Hastings; and Saturday, 5/26, cabbage in Wellborn (near Lake City/White Springs).

PLEASE respond to this e-mail if you are available for any of these dates, and I will send directions and details.

Sandi

The cabbage gleaning is a welcomed opportunity because it means coleslaw! Also, it is near an area to camp and kayak should anyone want to make a day of it. As always, the vehicle has open seats and I would love to spend the day with anyone who can make the time.

Gleaning: Bring on the Vegetables


I could kick myself really, really hard. Some great notes and pictures sit waiting to reach their full potential while I manage get distracted by irrelevant items. In fairness there are responsibilities that have assumed the minutes of my waking existence so the hair shirt will not be worn for an extended duration. Passing through that garden of jovial self-loathing let us move to your not-so-distant future gleaning dates. Those which I can attend will be marked so please feel free to mark that time on your calendar if the “spirit moves you”.

BIG REMINDER! KEEP APRIL 21st OPEN FOR THE FIRST OFFICIAL CHANGE-CAN LIVING ROOM CONCERT WITH C. J. FLUHARTY! PROCEEDS WILL GO TO THE SOCIETY OF ST ANDREW!

We have a great many opportunities to harvest citrus and broccoli this month so come out, lend us a hand and enjoy some great company, fresh air & sunshine, fresh fruit and veggies! Oh, and feed a lot of folks nutritious and delicious food while salvaging what would otherwise be wasted–it’s a WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN opportunity!

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14 – 8:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
We will be gleaning citrus fruit in south Mandarin/Julington Creek/Fruit Cove area at 3-4 homes.

SATURDAY, MARCH 17 – 8:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. THE FIRST VEGETABLE GLEAN! LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS!
We’ll be back in Hastings harvesting broccoli. You’ve heard me talk about how much we enjoy picking broccoli, now come see what all the fuss is about!

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21 – 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
While there’s still broccoli to be had, we’re coming back for more! We’re out to beat our first-of-the-year gleaning total of 7,400 lbs. that 120 people picked on 2/29. Come help us break our own record!

If you can make it out to one or more of these gleanings, please contact me. Thanks for your support of the Society of St. Andrew Gleaning Network!

Gleaning in Your Rearview Mirror


This past Saturday down in San Mateo was a wonderful experience. So that I do not spoil the much anticipated post detailing the day that is all you will get on this post. However, I do have more dates for you. I would like to know if anyone could attend one of the mid-week dates.

As always you can contact me for a ride to the site.

Wednesday, Feb. 8 – 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Grove Park/Beach & University Blvd. area

Saturday, Feb. 11 – 8:30 a.m.- noon
San Jose Blvd./Beauclerc Rd. area

Wednesday, Feb. 15 – 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
South Jax Beach/Ponte Vedra Beach

Saturday, Feb. 18 – 8:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
East Palatka area
**I need experienced gleaners to help with a group gleaning, demonstrating
tools and helping to bag fruit and keep count of bags
***I also could use folks to transport fruit–if you have a van or pickup truck and
could deliver some of the fruit please respond to this e-mail.

Wednesday, Feb. 22 – 8:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Dr. Ira’s home – west Jacksonville, Ortega
We’ll visit 3-4 homes in this area to glean oranges and grapefruit.

Saturday the 4th of February: Thou Shalt Glean and a Review of Last Saturday


The weather in North Florida is beautiful. Per this morning’s weather report we are just close to 10 degrees warmer than last year, apparently due to the occurrence of El Niño. That being the case our time to glean stats a bit brisk but ends with a short pants and t-shirt afternoon.

This past Saturday found us in East Palatka at two residential homes to harvest the most grapefruit I have ever seen. The second house specifically had two large trees that allowed us to climb them to reap the benefit of its production. Unfortunately I had to leave prior to harvesting a fourth house (while we were at home number two-part of our group was at another house) so I cannot report how much fruit we saved from going unused.

Amidst the success were two huge failures on my part: 1) no pictures and 2) trying to clip fruit resting on a power line. For the latter I am grateful I am not dead as my partially rubberized gloves would surely have not saved me from electrocution. Beyond that was the continued gardening tips and education as to the different varieties of citrus. The new orange, I believe, is from the Seville family though I cannot recall its name. It was small and we ate it peel and all. Not real sweet and it stayed with you for hours. The home owner told me it is very good for marmalade and liquor.

As always Sandi Newman was a gracious host and my companion, Jane Marchand, was a welcomed passenger for the scenic ride. A tall Americano from Starbucks along with a sausage/egg breakfast sandwich and Jane’s bag of pumpkin bread helped fuel the positive energy.

This weekend we will again traverse 95 South to US 17. Our destination is a small family grove, just a bit further down the road from our first stop last week–it’s at 477 U.S. Hwy. 17 South in San Mateo. As always your presence is welcomed and the Tahoe has more than enough room to fill. Please contact me with any questions.

Your First Gleaning Update for 2012: Who Will Join Me?


Happy New Years to everyone! I hope 2012 finds you in good spirits in spite of any hardships or obstacles. The holiday was less hectic than I expected and time away with family served to purge and refocus the brain. A late Christmas gift was Sandi Newman’s email regarding gleaning opportunities in January. Hopefully you can join me for at least one of these.

Wednesday, January 4–8:30 a.m.–Murray Hill, Westside Jacksonville
Grapefruit gleaning

Saturday, January 7–8:30 a.m.–San Marco, Southside Jacksonville
Grapefruit, orange gleaning

Saturday, January 21–9:00 a.m.–Satsuma, Florida citrus gleaning
Grapefruit, oranges, tangerines
1 hour south of Jacksonville in the town of Satsuma, located south of Palatka

Our Morning of Gleaning


Our Saturday morning gleaning group.
Our Saturday morning gleaning group.

My morning started early at around 5:30. Laundry had been started the night before and my wife deserved a reprise from chores she far too often assumes. The kitchen was another task would be removed from her Saturday list. It was nice to actually embrace what my father calls “the best part of the day” as the silence of halls and rooms was broken only by the pleasant sounds of dog tails moving quickly through the air.

The excitement which pulled me from my sleep was directly tied to my first gleaning event with the Society of St Andrews. For those not familiar with the organization, here is what their “about us” states on their website. Their history is grounded in the United Methodist Church.

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