Lacking Leadership

For the very first time since I have been a Lion my club lacks a president. How in the hell can an active vibrant club like the Frankfort Lions Club not have a president? How will we run a meeting? Who will coordinate the various club functions? Certainly not the Vice President. Let me back up a bit and explain some things.

Team and leadership

The Lions Clubs International (LCI) club constitution spells out an entire administration of President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Third Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and so on. The idea is that these officers will provide the leadership necessary to run the club. The three vice presidents, theoretically, are in training to become the next president by bumping up each year. So our first vice president of the last term should have become the new president, and the remaining vp’s bump up a notch, and a new third vp is voted in. Our problem is that we as a club do not hold the officer’s feet to the fire and allow the first vp to opt out of his graduation. He has had three years to think about it by the time he takes the gavel. He has also had three years of training in place so the job is not foreign to him/her. Parallel to these officers we have a separate team in charge of our largest fund raiser of the year. The First VP is the head of said team. This job is very important to the club but it is also a lot more work than being the president. We never have a problem filling the job of Wurst Fest Chairman. Why? The answer is a mystery to me. Perhaps running the Wurst Fest is a more fun job than being the mundane president.

My take on the matter is that people are reluctant to take on the responsibility that comes with the title “president”. The same people will volunteer for any number of activities throughout the year, but they definitely shy away from the title of “president”. I am not different from these people. I shied away from taking the job for ten years, and I have had extensive experience running clubs throughout my lifetime. At age thirty, I became involved with the Boy Scouts of America as a Cub Master. I wanted my son to have the Scouting experience. I stayed with the program for twenty-five years and moved through the ranks to various leadership positions before I finally quit. I accepted the presidency of a dying Garden Club and brought it back to life; it is still in existence today. As an avid bicyclist I joined a Bicycle Club called Folks on Spokes, and eventually became president and led the group for four years before I had to drop out to care for my wife. I learned that leadership requires a soul brave enough to put himself out in front of the group with a thick skin and psyche that loves rejection. Rejection, a word I hated, but learned to love. Rejection forces a leader to move down the list of candidates until he finds someone who will accept a job. Making phone calls is one of my least favorite things to do, but I force myself to talk to people with as much enthusiasm as I can muster in the hopes that I will convey a sense of positiveness and excitement. It works, but it doesn’t come naturally. For me it is a learned trait. Even now, as I ponder how to handle the lack of a leader in my favorite pastime-club I am reluctant to speak to people who are my friends.

Why is it that the people who lead our country seem to be the weakest candidates? Weak people are drawn to the positions in government. Maybe they do it for the money and because the work can be very easy or almost non-existent when there is huge cadre of bureaucratic underlings who take care of all the details. A leader is very often a figure-head who has the balls to run for office on his non-existent abilities. He wins because the guy he runs against doesn’t work as diligently Once the hard work of campaigning is done, the actual job is a breeze.

Leadership requires a desire to succeed and providing resources to like minded people in the hopes they will motivate themselves toward a goal. Over the years in my leadership positions I learned that finding the people to support you with the same zeal as you have is the secret. I don’t see this desire in the current members of our Lions Club.

A Leader addresses his ideas with a positivity and enthusiasm that makes people want to work with him. One of the images I use to sell is fast moving train, people want to jump on and move with it.

A leader gives credit to the team, and not to himself.

A leader is creative, and encourages others to be also.

Maybe it is time for me to throw my hat into the ring again!

Amend the Soil Dummy

Rainy days make me feel gloomy. Why? Beats the heck out of me. Maybe it has something to do with barometric pressure. Although we are badly in need of rain and now we are getting it in barrels the effect is one of depression. The saying is “April Showers Bring May Flowers.” but it is July and the rain is late. Many of the seeds we planted did not germinate and now instead of a flush flower garden and a luscious vegetable garden we have bare spots. All I know is that Lovely is blaming the lack of growth on the bad dirt I put into her garden. Bad dirt is top soil loaded with lots of clay marbles. I must agree that when this stuff dries out it looks like poorly finished concrete. All I can tell her is better luck next year.

Since this year was construction to expand her two measly 4 x 8 (64 sq ft) plots into one 8 x 20 ( = 160 sq ft = 250% bigger) fenced, and rabbit proof beauty I didn’t have enough time to get enough compost to amend the soil. Oh well I’ll wait until fall to do that job. Better luck next year. That is, if we have a next year, but we must stay positive and healthy. In the meantime we will harvest the few vegetables that are doing well, cucumbers and tomatoes.

For Every Vegetable There Is A Bug

At the beginning of May I began to take the baby steps necessary to double the size of I.’s pickle factory. I am proud to announce that today, I completed the final baby step. It was a pleasure to pack my tools, to clean the work area, and to vacate the site. Lovely has already seeded 80% of the new area, even though I continued to put the finishing touches on the fence. The next step is to put the garden under surveillance for Wabbit intrusions. My design for the Wabbit barrier is several steps above the original design. I learned a lot from trying to beat the fluffy-tailed vermin at their game. Time will tell if I succeeded.

In the meantime, Lovely and I look forward to a mid to late summer harvest of some delicious, organically grown vegetables free of pesticides and nasty chemicals. It will be interesting to see how faithful Lovely is to her determination to stay “green” and organic. I fully expect her to complain to me when some nasty bug descends into the yard to have a feast. Over the years, I have learned that for every vegetable there is a bug. Some are scary like the tomato caterpillar. This rather large creature can strip a mature tomato plant of its foliage in a couple of days. When discovered he will scare the bejesus out of me before I pick him off the plant and squash him. It is also a sad moment because the caterpillar morphs into a chrysallis that eventually becomes a beautiful butterfly. By killing him, I have affected the universe in some small way.

I remember as a kid watching my mother’s father, my grandfather, walk the rows of potato plants to pick off the potato bugs. He plinked them into a coffee can filled with kerosene. I often found his cans stashed around the house and in the yard near his favorite yard chair, all of them with with a solid layer of dead potato bugs floating in kerosene. Although Mom’s potato plants remained organic, the bugs met their end drowned in the same stuff that propels jet airplanes through the sky.

2023 Garden Expansion
Tomato Bug
Potato Bug

Garden Dreams

FINALLY! The weather is beginning to cooperate a little. Of course the warmer temperatures bring on true spring fever. In my case spring fever means I get tired and want to sleep in the middle of the day. Like right now. Our flowering trees are in full display this week, and we rejoice at the beauty of it. Some trees are nearly all leafed out but others, like the cotton woods are still only budding at the tips of their branches.Historically, the Old Farmer’s Almanac warns that the last official freeze date is May 15. Since we experienced some minor snow showers last week I believe the official freeze date is holding, and I won’t waste my energy planting anything just yet.

I did take advantage of a plant sale being held by the Friends of the Library. They announced their official pick up date as May 13, and I’ll be there to bring home some baby geraniums to plant in the big pot that guards our front door. I love geraniums. Probably because my mother had them every year and wintered them in the house. She placed pots of them in front of each bedroom window to get light, and because the bedrooms were kept cool, the plants loved it. The smell of the geranium plant stirs me almost as much as bright sunshine at 6:00 a.m. every morning.

Today my grass cutter, Jose streaked across the lawn on his stand up mower, and I flagged him down. I’m not sure he has official papers to be in this country, but being a smart man, he married his anchor. I asked him if he would help me expand Lovely’s vegetable garden. Like a dummy, I told her I would double the size of it so she could expand her pickle factory. She is not letting up on me, and now I have to deliver. The problem Jose has is that his hired help left him for a better job, and he can’t find anybody to replace him. Damned cheap labor can’t get any cheap labor.

My indoor project is coming along, but most likely after next week it will go on hold as my outdoor projects will take over. I promised myself that I would drain the pond and clean it this year before I installed the pump for the summer. Then there is a slight remodeling of the landscape next to the waterfall. The grasses that I planted a few years ago are expanding at the speed of light and need to be thinned out. The only positive way to do that is to use chemical weapons. Pond grass roots deep and far. Pulling on the stems only serves to wear out the puller. Since both sides of the waterfall are lined with boulders, digging out the grass is hopeless.

Spring is a good time to split daffodils and resurrection lilies. I have two large clumps of each that I must dig up, separate and then replant further apart. Most likely I’ll spread them around the yard to spread the joy for next spring. I once saw a photo of a field filled with daffodils. I meant it was filled as far as the eye could see. Maybe it was photoshopped, but the attached article explained it was the work of a single lady gardener who kept separating and replanting the bulbs. She had no help, but after forty or fifty years she had several acres of yellow flowers covering her property. In my mind, all I could think is that she didn’t do anything except eat, sleep and replant daffodils all her life. As much as I loved that picture I will never have the property, but more importantly I would never have the drive to do the work. How could I wile away my days at the computer surfing the internet if I was out replanting daffodils from sun-up til sun-down?

This summer the Monet Vision may actually become a vision worthy of seeing, that is, if I can tear myself away from this machine, and my work shop downstairs to make it happen.

I did it once, I can do it again!

When Did Your Project Become My Project?

I’m not bragging but I have been married three times. In each case there is a single action that breaks me up. It hasn’t seemed to matter which wife it was but there is always something she has wanted to do which I totally agree she should do. Then, she sweet talks me into getting involved with her. Is this something in the DNA of a woman? It never seems to work tin the other direction. My projects almost always stay my projects and if they don’t it is because I have given it up.

This afternoon, I was on my project to find out which password I use to link my email to Google. Google has so many different divisions and they all require a password. Remembering them all is a problem and to complicate things more. When I finally give up and hit the “forgot my password” button I have to invent a new password. Usually, I record the new one. Lately, that record doesn’t do me any good. Why? It beats the heck out of me, I just can’t figure out which PW is used for a given user name for a given application. Calling for help doesn’t work because the helper always points at someone else.

Getting back to my original thought. Lovely interrupted me with a question, “where do I plant these seeds?” “You are the farmer” I reply, “find a suitable spot and plant them.” That was not a smart answer. I wound up leaving my desk and my project to assist with her project. The two of us went into the yard, seeds in hand, to spread the joy. She had three packages of flower seeds. One for full sun, (6 hours), two for medium sun, (4 hrs). None of the sun requirements matched the locations she desired. We toured the yard and and I pointed at a spot. Then I pulled the seed pack that would work in that location from her hand, “But, that’s not where I want to see these flowers.” She points to where she can visualize the plants in bloom.

“That is a the shadiest spot in the yard and doesn’t receive any sunlight until 4:30 each afternoon.”

“So where can we plant this flower?” I show her another spot and finally she relents, but it borders on minimum sun. “This plant will flower in 2.5 months in this spot.”

“Okay,” she says. By this time, I started to get agitated and take the spade from her hand and start digging. The spot is over-run with wild strawberry and has to be cleared, I dig and pull roots from China with my bare hand. She comments, “you are using your bare hand to dig up the dirt?”

“You are the only farmer I know who wears rubber gloves to plant seed,” I reply.

Going to seed pack-two we go through the same process, These seeds will take 200 days to bloom. I figure if we are lucky, I’ll see the flower on the same day I am cleaning the yard for winter. That happened last year when I planted morning glories in my favorite spot. The first flower bloomed three days before the first frost. That happened to be the third packet of seeds to plant, so I chopped up the ground and spread the seeds around the base of the trellis and prayed for success. I told her to sprinkle the three areas with some water, and went in for lunch.

It is funny, how her projects always take this route.