It Takes a Village

We have known since the first winter storms last fall that JustBob and his crew of volunteers would have their work cut out for them once spring arrived. There was […]

We have known since the first winter storms last fall that JustBob and his crew of volunteers would have their work cut out for them once spring arrived. There was still a good amount of clean up remaining to do in the woods after the loggers finished last fall. Then the early winter storms brought more work in the woods and the front yard with plenty of downed branches and one uprooted tree.

JustBob and a couple of volunteers started clean up a couple of weeks ago, but then the snow returned and put spring clean up on hold. Tuesday and Wednesday, the weather was more spring-like, so JustBob had a couple of his regular guys come out to help, as well as two volunteers from Liberty Mutual Insurance who joined us through the Serve with Liberty program. Lunch on Wednesday also included our private retreatant and a couple of other regular volunteers, one who takes care of our Art Room and one who helps in the office on Wednesdays and, beginning next week, will man the Bookstore for us as we open up for regular hours each Wednesday (10-12 and 1-3).

The clean up crew made a good deal of progress cleaning up the front yard in just two days. The fruit of their hard work is evident in the growing pile of mulch in the parking lot and the piles of logs by the residents’ garage and the campfire woodshed that are waiting to be cut, split and stacked for firewood.

All of this hard work makes the front yard more inviting for our visitors. Once the remaining branches are turned to mulch, the front yard will also be ready for the lawn mower which will make life easier for the grass-cutters. Then JustBob and his crew can turn their attention to the ample work remaining on the trails and in the woods. (If you missed out on the fun this week, I’m sure that you would be more than welcome to come and give JustBob a hand in the coming weeks. Just give him a call at 715-443-2236 to let him know what day and time you can help.)

Thursday, Muzynoski Masonry was here working on a different kind of spring clean up project, a project that has been in the plans for at least two years and needed for much longer.  The team was here to tuck point the grotto, and re-level and re-grout the grotto floor.  Last summer, JustBob did quite a bit of work cleaning out behind the grotto in order to improve the drainage and direct rain water and snow melt away from the grotto.  The tuck pointing is another step to protect the grotto from water damage.  This project to refresh the grotto area was largely funded by a local family in memory of their husband, father and grandfather, Chuck Martin.

Weather permitting, a little more help for still more clean up is expected on Friday. The kindergarten and fifth grade students from Marathon Elementary School will take some time to come and help JustBob by picking up sticks in the front yard and on the trails. They won’t be hauling any firewood, but as they say, every little bit helps!

At our team retreat last week, our presenter, Steven, expressed his amazement that the care and maintenance of this old house and the 40 acres of land it rests on are the responsibility of just one person, JustBob. There certainly is job security in all the work needed here, but JustBob can’t really do it all by himself. All of the helping hands this week are evidence of that. He has a small but willing crew of volunteers that regularly help him out, both inside and outside. Soon the Beautification Team will be here to work on the flower gardens, then another group of volunteers will plant and tend the vegetable garden. It really does take a village, not just for spring clean up but year round; not just outside but inside as well; not just for JustBob, but for all of our staff, not just for the heavy lifting but also for the funds that make it all possible.

For for the village of volunteers and supporters and all they do to help us make St. Anthony’s a warm, welcoming and hospitable place to stay, we say Deo Gratias!

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