The house is quite now, but it was a beehive of activity the past week with so many of our amazing volunteers buzzing around inside and out.
The week started with beautiful weather and it continued throughout the week. Temperature were warm but not unbearable, and humidity most days was in the comfortable range as well. We did not have rain, except a very brief sprinkle Monday morning. What that all means is lots of projects got done outdoors.
One project was actually done before the volunteers arrived, and that was running electricity out to the gazebo. JustBob had his thinking cap on and ran a water line out to the gazebo at the same time. That will make it easier to water those gardens and a shorter trip if water needs to be carried back to the grotto. What remained for the volunteers to do in that area was to repair the landscaping where the digging was done and then take care of the usually trimming and weed-pulling which are ongoing needs.
The big project was to clean up the area around the pond where trees were uprooted over the winter. In an effort to prevent more trees being uprooted, JustBob had the center of the pond dredged over the winter to improve the water flow and direct it away from the edges where the tree roots are. Even though the dredging was done months ago, the dredged dirt needed to be dealt with. That required “Big Boy Toys” and dry weather, both of which we were blessed to have. Both sides of the pond have now been leveled and graded and ready to seed. Much of the dirt was relocated to other areas of the grounds where fill was needed.
Another big project was to get the Bookstore moved to its new location up front, and to inventory, price and stock all the merchandise. Even though it did not require beautiful weather, having the transition completed by the end of August was a high priority. Plenty of progress had been made in advance as well. When volunteers came, they were able to browse through the new location as most of the books were in place. Throughout the week, other merchandise like rosaries, statues, artwork, jewelry and all the other odds and ends were being added to the shelves. There is still some work left to do, but amazing progress was made and the shelves are not as bare as they were when the week began.
Then there were all the “regular” Volunteer Week projects. Outdoor tasks like picking produce from the garden, prepping it for the meals, deadheading and fertilizing flowers, trimming bushes and hedges, weeding the gardens and raking were all on the chore list. Indoors, there is always dusting, window-cleaning, mopping, cleaning cupboards and vacuuming that needs to be done.
In addition, there were smaller projects that needed attention. Trees that came down over winter were cut up in May, but the wood needed to be hauled to the appropriate area for use in campfires and fireplaces. Signs needed to be made and laminated for housekeeping and for the Bookstore. The monthly Ministry Associates newsletter needed to be readied for mailing. There were a number of young hardwood seedlings that had sprouted in various gardens, and they needed to be relocated to other areas of the grounds where they would have the room needed to grow healthy and strong. Grass grows up underneath our baby pine trees that can’t be cut with the lawn mower, so someone needs to go from tree to tree and clean the grass out. The carpet in the chapel and main floor hallways badly needed to be shampooed, which meant moving all the furniture out and then back in.
None of this would have been possible if not for the generosity of 30-some volunteers sharing almost 500 hours of their time and talents with St. Anthony’s. In addition to their labors of love, the “veterans” of Volunteer Week made the new volunteers feel welcome in our community. They worked side-by-side, shared stories, broke bread together, prayed together at Morning and Evening Prayer as well as Mass on Saturday, enjoyed a campfire and watched a couple of movies.
For the generosity of all of our amazing volunteers, and for their equally amazing spirit of hospitality, cooperation and community, we say Deo Gratias!
–Sister Chronicler II