Saturday, July 9, 2011

Grand Marais School Garden and Grounds

Yesterday I had Jill work most of the museum hours so I could take my car out of town to get the brakes fixed, as well as play golf one more time before Jill and her husband leave for a few weeks. The good news is that I met my goal to shoot 50 or less on nine holes, although I shot 107 for 18.  If it were not for the three holes that I did poorly.....     Of course, all golfers say this.

The bad news is that my new brakes cost a lot more than I was anticipating. Elijah from Fox River Auto gave me a little lesson on brakes. From now on I am going to get the calipers, pins, etc. cleaned once a year. He says that winter road salt and dirt clog up the brake mechanism, which causes them to wear unevenly. Also, the last time I had my brakes fixed they used really cheap break pads.  One of the front brake pads was broke since the glue joint let loose.  We'll see if I can triple the life of my brakes with annual maintenance.

After closing the museum I went over to visit friend, Renee, and her husband, Bob. We had dinner and then they wanted to show me the progress on the school's community garden.  Bob has a green thumb and has been helping to maintain the garden.  Kudos to Renee's daughter and son-in-law (Penny and Seth) who are superintendent and principal of the school, as well as their staff. They have received several grants this past year or so including one to create the community garden.

First, on the way over to the school I had to snap a few flower pictures in one of the yards.

Then we walked around the school grounds. Here is another picture of our new school sign. Notice that it says "thanks" for helping to preserve our school's funding. State budget cuts almost did our school in, but the community helped by writing letters and sending emails to preserve our island school funding. A hand full of isolated, small, and struggling schools in Michigan receive extra financial help.

The current school was built in 1928.  At the time the quality and design of the school was considered innovative and progressive.

The chimney of the previous school still stands to the south of the current school.  This was originally left intact because the swallows used to roost in their at night.  For a while back in the 1990s I lived in the house located right above the school.  We often watched the hundreds of swallows group, fly around, and descend into the chimney at dusk.  Due to cracking, the school had to put an insert into the chimney which prevented the swallows from using it for shelter.

A new playground was installed several years ago.

The community garden features a walkway, along which miniature fruit trees are planted.

Last year the school also  received a grant to install a windmill.  There was no wind last night so it wasn't turning, but the windmill generates a good part of the school's electricity.

The community garden includes several raised beds with several different types of vegetables as well as a cool strawberry bed (second photo below).

The highlight of the garden is the hoop house.

Lou Baily, who works at the school, designed the ventilation system.  If the conditions require it, the board with plastic attached can be lowered to the ground on both sides of the hoop house. 

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