M is for Master Gardener and Matt
In 1996, I was still involved in PTA, but knew it would end in the next few years when my younger son graduated. I saw an article in our local paper about a new gardening group starting up in our area, under the guidance of the University of California and the County Cooperative Extension Farm Advisors. It was a 4 month course of a three hour class once a week, learning about all aspects of gardening, including soil and pests and diseases and basic gardening principles. I was intrigued, so I applied. I was mainly looking for another volunteer opportunity, plus I wanted to increase my own gardening skills, as I really didn't know that much about it but my grandmother (who died when I was 6) had been an avid gardener and I had fond memories of her flowers. So I've now been a Master Gardener for 16 years, and I've enjoyed it so much. I've met some wonderful friends, discovered the joy of gardening, and learned a ton of new stuff. We provide resources for the home gardener, and are trained by the Cooperative Extension Farm Advisors, although officially, we are an arm of the University system. There are Master Gardener organizations in almost all of the states. California is working on unifying the training and programs throughout the counties. Gardening has given me so much joy--I can be feeling rotten and go outside to work in the yard, and come back in exhausted and happy.
M is also for Matt -- my firstborn. Since I mentioned Jeff for my J day entry, I thought it only fair to include Son #1, although his name comes with no special meaning (other than the boy, and now man, attached to it!) He's a sensitive, quiet, but fun-loving guy, who loves his family no end. He's turned out to be a really great dad, too, and I'm really proud of him.