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Welcome! Our blog focuses on environmental conservation, education, green living & wildlife rescue! We have put together links to resources, books and information to help you and your children learn more about these topics. Please feel free to comment on any items posted. Rate or review us on NetworkedBlogs (Facebook app) & Blogged. Tell your friends about us. Follow us on Twitter and other sites listed on this page. There's a banner & widget if you would like to include us on your webpage. All we ask is that you please keep any comments here G-rated for the kids!

NOTE: The birds & squirrel pictured at the top of this page and in the slideshow below are just a few that I have helped rehabilitate.
WARNING: Please do not touch a wild animal, especially the young ones. If you remove a baby from it's home, sometimes the mother is just off getting it's baby food and will be back.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Ode to My Sister, Rescuers and Other Rehabbers!

I just wanted to give everyone a little insight on why this blog was started and give props to all those who rescue, rehabilitate animals.

I love wildlife like my sister and want to give you a little background on what she does and how it started. I am proud of what she does as a rehabber and at her job and how she loves to teach her child and my boys things about animals. When we were little I always knew she would be doing something to help animals. If she saw roadkill she would immediately want to bury the animal (To this day she will pull over on the side of the road to take care of a cat or other small animal if it had been hit by a car, alive or dead).

My Mom sometimes would have to drive with my sister to help her take care of these animals (deer, cats, dogs and more). Usually the only things they didn't go bury for my sister was possums, skunks and raccoons (Due to the temperment and other issues involving those animals when they were hit or hurt). If she found strays she would beg our parents to help her get them to their homes. We had a cat once that was given to us by our aunt and uncle. We lived on a farm at the time and had neighbors that owned a dairy. The cat had wandered onto their property and got attacked by their dogs horribly. Our neighbor brought the cat to us and she wasn't doing. My sister and I, both in tears begged our mom, dad and a friend of theirs to help her. They stayed up all night, trying to keep her alive and help her, make her comfortable. At the time we didn't have alot of money so a visit to the vet wasn't an option. They did everything they could but the cat didn't survive the night, we were devastated.

My sister still has a hard time when an animal doesn't pull through, wild or domesticated. She has compassion for all animals and always has. That is why she is great at what she does. I am so proud of the way she cares for the animals that get brought into the veteranary hospital where she works by clients. Sometimes I will recieve a call about how saddened she was about a clients cat that had to be put down. Usually it is a tear-filled call and I remind her that the clients were lucky to have someone talk to them as compassionate and caring as she about their pet. She has the same hands-on involvement in them as she does with the wildlife she has helped rehab.

I also recieve the same types of calls when she has lost an wild animal that she was rehabbing. Especially the baby animals. She is so invested in their care (Feeding them every hour throughout an entire day for weeks on end, cleaning, keeping them warm) that it is hard for her to see them not make it. These are the types of people that make good rehabbers. Yes, they can take a step back and do the job at hand, but they also care so much about what they are doing that they can be disappointed or heartbroken when an animal doesn't pull through. Yet they keep doing what they do for the sake of these animals that can't speak for themselves and take care of themselves. When there are sucesses, they are overjoyed and are happy to release them back into the wild or if they can't be released they are placed in a sanctuary, nature center or zoo that will take them in.

I respect the vigor and commitment it takes to do the job my sister does, even while going to school, working and raising a child. My sister and other wildlife rehabbers or animal rescuers spend money out of their own pockets, use all of their spare time and resources to save these animals that other people would not or could not. This post is in honor of those people like my sister that love what they do and are committed to saving these animals. Education is key!

I can name a few others that I respect like my sister for doing what they can to save some or all creatures big or small. Please support them in their efforts or check out their sites that I list here. There are many out there, so I will only name a few. They include:

I Love Rescue Animals - One of our sister sites, run by two lovely women who are very dedicated animal lovers. Please support their effort by donating or helping them in their quest to find homes for shelter animals. Link:

JournOwl - Another wonderful blog that has great insight and into conservation of owls and other wildlife, this blogger also has two other sites that are dedicated to the preservation of habitat and conservation on marine life and endangered species stats (See Thriving Oceans & Bio the Numbers). Link to JournOwl:
Thriving Oceans - Link:
Bio The Numbers - Link:

NestCams - A site run by Cornell Lab of Orinthology. It is great place to view video of the nesting habits of different birds. Link:

ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) - You can donate or become a member to help stop cruelty to animals! Link:

You can also support our blog by continuing to read our articles, become a guest blogger if you are passionate about the topics we talk about! Subscribe to our feed! We thank you for your support and any support you give to the above blogs and sites that are doing wonderful things!

Khrys @ GreenSpot-On
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Monday, June 22, 2009

Leaving well enough alone

I've been ill for several days -- nothing serious, but enough to keep me indoors and resting and napping for hours at a time. Meanwhile, we've had rain, sun, rain, more rain, followed by sun and a hot, humid weekend. When I finally ventured outside toward the garden, I found...

Spinach! Enough to harvest, clean, and cook! I predict a crockpot full of chicken- spinach stew soon.

Peas! Last year the beans hogged all the sun. This year I planted the peas in front, and the beans are lagging behind. What next? We'll see. the beans are reaching for their trellis behind the pea plants.

Those maple seeds, though -- those seeds on helicopters coming from the HUGE silver maple in my neighbor's yard -- they're making headway. Now that I'm up and about, it's time to gently tie the tomato plants to their supports and (growl) weed out the baby maple trees.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

GreenSpot-On Wildlife Q & A #4

Welcome to the Fourth Issue of the GreenSpot-On Wildlife Q & A! Here are brand new questions recieved from a student at C. A. Frost Environmental Science Academy in Grand Rapids, MI along with my answers to them!
Question: Does the DNR help you to get the wild animals back into their natural habitat? Are there other places that help you?
Name: Jennah Age: 9
Grade: 4 School-City/State: C. A. Frost Environmental Science Academy – Grand Rapids, MI

JRouse’s Answer: The DNR helps to get the animals back into their natural habitat by bringing us the animals, and of course they monitor the animals that we have over the year period. We have to keep special logs for the animals that we take care of. As far as actually taking the animal after we have rehabbed them, the answer is no. We usually release them ourselves in the county that they were found in. But, for the birds of prey we usually relocate them to another facility where they are put into flight cages to help assist them in strengthening their skills before release. All of these animals though, need to be acclimated to the outdoors and the environment before release. You wouldn't want to have an animal housed indoors and just release it without acclimating it first.


Question: How did you learn how to take care of animals?
Name: Iain Age: 6
Grade: 1 School-City/State: C. A. Frost Environmental Science Academy – Grand Rapids, MI

JRouse’s Answer: I have always had an interest in animals, since I was small. I lived out in the country for some time and we had a variety of animals from cats to turkeys. As I got older, I dog sat for neighbors and eventually started taking dogs for walks that were at the local shelter. I started volunteering with the local shelter and I eventually landed a job in a veterinary practice. It started as just kennel help (cleaning cages and medicating the animals), during that time I was able to observe how to care for them. After a while I worked my way to assisting the vet in the exam rooms and then eventually started assisting with surgeries. Since we did wildlife on the side, I was able to assist with that and now I am able to do a lot on my own. Although there are still things that only a licensed veterinarian should perform (care-wise) for some animals.


Question: Do the owls and cats live together when you are taking care of them?
Name: Braeden Age: 5
Grade: 1 School-City/State: C. A. Frost Environmental Science Academy – Grand Rapids, MI

JRouse’s Answer: No, the owls are actually kept at my work in a isolation room. The only cats that roam around the clinic are the 2 cats that we have living there, but they do not have access into that room. To keep an owl you actually have to have a federal permit and I do not have my own federal permit. I am able to care for them through my boss, who has a federal permit. The permit allows owls (or other birds of prey) to be housed at the address that is on that particular permit.


Some of these animals are pictured in the slideshow on the main page. If you have children, are a student/adult or wildlife lover and you would like to ask a question about any of these animals, please send an e-mail to JRouse. Include the following information in your e-mail:

Question: (Question for JRouse)
Name: (First Name) Age: (Age)
Grade: (Grade Level of Student) School-City/State: (School Name - Location: City/State)
3 questions will be answered during each issue of the GreenSpot-On Wildlife Q & A, so it may take time for your question to be answered. Subscribe to GreenSpot-On's feed by Email to get the Issues & other posts straight to your inbox!

JRouse @ GreenSpot-On
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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Family weekend - AWAY!!!

I am excited to finally have a weekend away to go camping! The only thing that I miss from when I was younger though, was not having a time frame that I had to be back in. I miss those camping trips, that always seemed to extend themselves a couple days past when you were originally planning on packing it up.

When I am camping though, I like to not follow schedules or clocks! That is the number one thing that I am trying to get away from when I leave to go away for a weekend, or on a trip. I like to have peace and feel that time is not always chasing me ;)

Summer Fun!

It's that time of year again! I love travelling and experiencing new things. I would love to go out of state and visit new places, but usually it can cost you and you are not always sure what to expect or how kid-friendly a place is. My husband and I love camping and we have been passing that love to our children. It is a great learning experience for them and a great way for the family to connect! We go camping at least 5-7 times a year for a weekend, up to a week at a time.

(Pictured at right: My boys last year on the trail at P.J. Hoffmaster Park in Muskegon, Michigan)

We used to camp in a tent, but now we have a pop-up camper that we use. In the pop-up, we can do rustic campsites or the more modern sites. However, the biggest reason we started using a pop-up is because we wanted to take our children when they were toddlers. Honestly, it was great because we could lock the door and they couldn't be escape artists:) I don't care what age a child is, more than likely they will try to sneak out on you! Hence the pop-up for safety reasons. The other reason is because it saves time. When we pack for our trip, pretty much all of the basic things we need for our trip is already in the camper, all we need is clothing and food. We are completely set! We can camp at the drop of a hat! Our children love it and look forward to our trips every year.

As a matter of fact, we are preparing for our first official camping trip this year! This time around JRouse and family is going with us to Silver Lake State Park in Michigan which is near the Silver Lake Sand Dunes off of Lake Michigan. My husband has been there a few times, but I never have been there.
What we plan to do while we are camping:
Nature Hikes - My sister JRouse and I take our kids on nature hikes at any place we camp. Our children's ages range from 2-7 years old. No child is too young for a nature hike and for learning about the plants and animals. Not only do they get to ask questions about the different things they see, but we also learn things from them (Sometimes the kids can put a whole new spin on things that even us adults hadn't thought of before). Stay on the marked trails and your good to go! I keep a book in our camper that has information on different wildlife (track recognition and some other facts) that the kids can look through.

Campfires - At state campgrounds they have fire pits that you are to use to have a campfire in. If you plan to use them to cook, before you use it you may want to stir it up with a long stick and check for trash that is not burnable or is toxic (plastic products, aluminum foil, etc.). Make sure you remove those items and dispose of them properly. We usually burn a hot fire in it prior to using it for cooking as a lot of previous campers may have burnt plastic items in it and we want to make sure it isn't going to affect our food (You can't always pick stuff out so this is an added precaution).
Hobo Pies - A staple of our camping experience, we ALWAYS have our pie makers in our camper for this purpose. You can buy them in cast iron or in aluminum. I prefer the cast iron as they tend to hold up better and longer. We had some aluminum ones but they did not hold up as well, the pro to having them is that they are lighter weight-wise. You can buy cookbooks for the pie irons that have Pesto Calzone and Falafel recipes. For more info on the irons and the cookbooks go here: Fire Pie Trail Store (We actually own the cookbook on that site and there are some GREAT recipes in it). Some of our favorite foods to do with the pie irons are:
  • Dessert Hobo Pies - This one is the most simple. All you need is: Bread, butter and any pie filling of your choice. Take the square pie iron and open it up on a flat surface. Butter two pieces of bread and lay one of the pieces butter side down on one side of the pie iron. Scoop 2 tablespoons of pie filling onto one piece of the bread, take the second piece of buttered bread and put it butter side up (Kinda like making a grilled cheese sandwich). Close the pie iron (keeping the sandwich on bottom side) and close it up tight. Take a knife and cut any bread crust that is outside of the pie iron off. Cook for a few minutes on one side, turn it over and cook for a few minutes on the other side (Time depends on how hot your fire is). Make sure to check your hobo pie while you are cooking it, both sides should be golden brown (Again like grilled cheese). Once it is done, carefully find a surface to set the iron on (wooden picnic table is best) and open it up (Make sure you have it flat side down). With a plate ready, turn the iron over and dump the pie out onto the plate. Let the pie cool for 5 minutes or more because the pie filling with be hotter than the surface of the sun fresh out of the iron. Be sure to check the temp before you eat it. It will burn you if you don't!
  • Pizza Hobo Pies - Will add an easy recipe at a later date.
  • Meat and Cheese Hobo Pies - Same concept as dessert pies except you add sandwich meat and cheese.

In what way do you or your family enjoy the summer? Do you make it a learning experience for your children (if you are at that stage of your life)?

(Pictured are my boys being "chased" by Lake Michigan's waves at P.J. Hoffmaster Park in Muskegon, Michigan. My youngest (photo on right) seems to think that screaming at the waves will get them to stop chasing him or something to that effect)

I'll let you know how our trip goes and will have pictures! Till next time!


Khrys @ GreenSpot-On


Monday, June 15, 2009

Am I green enough? Let's look at a week in the life of Daisy and see.

Good: We had new windows put in on about a third of our house. One third was done a few years ago, this is the second batch, and the last (and most difficult) will happen when we can afford it. The new windows will be more energy efficient than the old, saving us money in the long run. Bad: the process generated lots of construction garbage.
Good: the foreman told me that the biggest pieces will go up on Craigslists because people use them for decorations and art.

Good: it's summer, school is out, and I'm driving less.
Bad: when I do drive, I drive a minivan.
Good: The minivan isn't bad as gas-guzzlers go, and it does carry our bike rack when we want to take the family bikes somewhere.

Good: The garden is growing!
Bad: The weeds loved the last rain, too.
Good: I put down a cardboard layer and weighted it with thick boards leftover from our old deck. This area, with nothing planted, will provide a dryer base for the zucchini plants as the vines grow and spread.
Bad: A few tomato plants don't look good. Leaves are spotted, lower leaves wilting.
Good: Most of the tomatoes are doing well. If these few don't make it, the crop will be okay. Next year, I'll plant them farther apart.
Good: The pea plants are thriving! They're looking bushy as all get out.
Bad? or just curious?: They're not hooking onto the wire cages I gave them. I thought peas liked to twine. Maybe not.

Bad: We use a commercial housecleaning service, and they came Tuesday. The carbon footprint is medium-high, with their specialty car taking them from house to house.
Good: They use environmentally friendly cleaning products (I checked).

Good: I haven't used any house water in the garden; the recent rains took care of that and filled the rain barrel as well. I already want a second barrel; three days of rain would have filled both!

Bad: I use a dryer, not a clothesline. I washed sheets and towels Thursday.
Good: I use dryer balls, not chemical dryer sheets, and I hang the towels overnight first to let them partially air dry. On the extra credit side, I sometimes compost the dryer lint. How's that for balance?

There are definite weak spots in my green-ness, but they balance out with the rest. When the farm market starts Saturday, I'll be there with my cloth bags in hand! I can't wait to get local and fresh foods for my family, and that's on the good side in many, many ways.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

GreenSpot-On Wildlife Q & A #3

Welcome to the Third Issue of the GreenSpot-On Wildlife Q & A! Here are new questions recieved from a student at Beachnau Elementary in Ravenna, MI and a couple more from some of GreenSpot-On's adult readers along with my responses to them...

Question: What kind of things do you do at your job?
Name: Jenna Age: 6
Grade: N/A School-City/State: Beechnau Elementary - Ravenna, MI

JRouse’s Answer: At my job I have a variety of tasks that I do during the workday and sometimes it can be a little overwhelming...

I start off the day cleaning out the cages (kennels) that the cats are kept in and make sure they have clean litter boxes and clean towels to lay on as well as fresh food and water. Throughout the day I answer the phone and wait on customers and take care of the animals that are in the clinic. In our exam room we have mice in a cage to help distract the cats a little (so they aren't focused so much on seeing the doctor - kind of like you with lollipops), and we also have canaries that are in our boarding facility.

The boarding area is where animals stay when their owners are out of town. We try and make the area as homelike as possible; we have a fountain with large goldfish in it, the canaries and an exercise area for them to play around in. I assist the doctor with appointments - this includes; taking the cats temperature, weighing them, trimming their nails, and writing down information for the doctor regarding the cats diet and history.

I also assist the doctor and hold the cats for blood draws and vaccinations. On days that we have surgeries, I help check the cat in for surgery and then set up the treatment area in our hospital for the procedures to take place. Myself as well as a couple other co-workers do this job, and we all help the doctor with various things during these procedures, like shaving the cats that are getting lion cuts (a type of haircut for a cat), giving it a bath, or prepping for the surgeries. But, the doctor is the only one who actually can perform these - we only assist!


Question: How do you get the supplies you need to rehab an animal? Are rehabbers funded by a group or is it donation based?
Name: Kim Keller-Rouse Age: Over 40
City/State: Mount Pleasant, MI

JRouse’s Answer: The supplies that are used for rehabbing usually are purchased by the rehabber (out of pocket) and that is the case for myself, as well as most rehabbers. Sometimes if you start an organization you are able to get donations, but most rehabbers are independent, therefore, all the expenses are out-of-pocket. This is one thing that people don't understand when you are taking in an animal. You can be picky about what you take in, because you may not be able to afford the animals care it needs (depending on what you have to spend and what you have time for). When an animal is in its nursing phase it can be costly, just in milk, syringes, etc. Then when they are weaned it may be less costly, but that all depends on the type of animal you have and what it eats!

Got a question for JRouse (me) on any animals listed or pictured on the site? E-mail to ask! Please include the following information in your e-mail:

Question: (Question for JRouse)
Name: (First Name of Child) Age: (Age of Child)
Grade: (Grade Level of Child) School-City/State: (School Name - Location: City/State)


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Have Questions? Presenting GreenSpot-On's Wildlife Q & A!

Parents/Guardians, Teachers, Wildlife Enthusiasts and GreenSpot-On Readers!

As someone who has done wildlife rehabbing, JRouse has worked with many different types of animals. She would like to give children and adults/wildlife lovers the opportunity to ask her questions about the animals she has helped or even questions about what she does and how!
They include:
Red Fox
Canadian geese
Domestic geese
Squirrels: Red, Black, Gray Tree, Fox and Flying
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Barred Owl
Great Horned Owl
Screech Owl
Red-Tailed Hawk
Domestic Cats

Some of these animals are pictured in the slideshow on the main page. If you have children or students or if you adults would like to ask a question about any of these animals, please send an e-mail to JRouse in the following format:

Question: (Your Question)
Name: (First Name) Age: (Age)
Grade: (Child’s Grade) School/Location: (Child’s School Name and City/State or your location)

JRouse will answer up to 3 of these questions once a week as she receives them. All answers will be posted to GreenSpot-On with the original question in the format above. We at GreenSpot-On hope you will take this opportunity to teach your child something new about the wildlife around us. Thank you for joining us today!

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Nature's Surprises

I love history... I love genealogy. As a part of my research I go to cemeteries and photograph gravestones to preserve them and post them to on-line graveyards. When I was younger I spent alot of time in cemeteries, they were beautiful and serene. A great place to think. It wasn't until I was about 19 that I decided to photograph them for genealogy purposes, which brings me to my tale.

A couple years ago I happened to be visiting family in Mount Pleasant, MI. When I am in a town, village or city I try to get to the cemetery to take photo's of veterans gravestones. Especially the older stones and Civil War Veterans. While there I went to a beautiful Catholic Cemetery called Calvary Cemetery that has beautiful stones and many statues, alot of clergy were buried there. At one point I began to photograph a group of gravestones that was a family plot that had about 9 graves. There were lily's or some type of flower that was planted in front of two particular gravestones that hadn't bloomed yet. They struck me as particularly beautiful that day.

I looked through my viewfinder, zoomed in and prepared to take the pictures. Always trying to get the best shot of the full gravestone. I had originally planned on taking at least three shots of the one stone with the flowers. I steadied myself, took a deep breath and slowly let it out (to make sure I was holding the camera steady). To my complete surprise, a head popped up behind the flowers and scared me half to death! I jumped back and let out a shriek, in a complete panic as I have never had something pop out at me like that while photographing stones before (I had zoomed in to the stone, had taken one picture already, so through my viewfinder it was a lot closer and in my face). My heart was pounding in my ears. You simply don't expect that kind of excitement in a cemetery!
What was this thing that scared me so badly, to the point of near cardiac arrest you ask? I did a double take and stared in awe. It was a fawn, not very old and cute as can be! It still had it's spots! After the initial shock wore off and the idea that something living scared me in a cemetery (It should be the complete opposite like a zombie, right). I took in my surroundings and determined that it's mother must of left her baby in the fenced in cemetery to keep it safe while she went for food. There was no sign of her whatsoever. I stood in one spot while the fawn got up on it's four legs and began to move away as I had intruded upon it's safe and shaded spot. Needless to say I had quite a laugh at my own expense! How silly I felt!

My intention was not to scare the fawn more than I already had (or like it had scared me) and to not get close to it so it's mother would come back for it. It ran a few feet and then began walking around the cemetery when it realized that I was not going to follow. I stayed glued in my spot and began to take photo's of the little one walking around. This went on for at least 45 minutes. Eventually the fawn seemed to tire. It climbed a small hill near a large cross in the middle of the cemetery and hid in the comfort of the bushes that were in front of it.

After that, I lost sight of him/her and decided to move and finish my photographing. Not before I took a picture of the cross the fawn was sheltering near and went on my way.

I have chosen two quotes for you, both of which I feel are appropriate. They are:

"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles." - Anne Frank (1929–1945), German-Jewish refugee, diarist. The Diary of a Young Girl, entry for Feb. 23, 1944 (1947, trans. 1952).

"There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story." - Linda Hogan, Chicksaw poet and novelist (quoted in Listening to the Land, edited by Derrick Jensen)

Khrysania @ GreenSpot-On

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Potential! This garden has potential!

A few weeks ago, my garden was just a deep brown color, waiting for seeds and seedlings. Now it has little hints of green here and there.

Peas and beans! The peas already look healthier than they did a year ago.

Cauliflower and (maybe) broccoli emerge, seeking sun and water.

I'm still not sure if I bought broccoli or cauliflower. Maybe they're cross pollinate and I'll get brocco-flower. Cauli-coli?

But the bunny food section? I must get those maple tree seeds out of this area.
It's a lettuce bed, not a helicopter pad!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Doing more in the existing garden space

Doing more with less in a school setting can lead to burnout. In the garden, I'm focusing on doing more with what I already have available instead of doing more with less. My goal: feel productive, not overwhelmed.

Compost, of course. I'm adding paper this year, that which can not be recycled due to food residues. Husband puts in the grass clippings, I add some of the soiled bunny litter box contents, and of course any suitable kitchen scraps. The grass clippings keep the temperature hot and help decompose the rest.

The rain barrel is already a success. I use it to rinse the litter boxes, rinse the emptied compost bucket, water the rhubarb, and more. We've only used the outside tap when we need the high water pressure for washing the lawnmower.

Tomatoes have new supports, supports that I already owned. The bean trellis is the same one I've used for years. I'm using a few old tomato cages for pepper plants and snap peas, and I think I'll sell the rest at our June rummage sale. I really have too many. Hmmm...if La Petite would wash and paint them, maybe they'd be worth a little more. Maybe?

All this productivity with minimal investment helps my morale. I feel frugal for reusing and repurposing. I feel accomplished for getting the garden in and tending it. I feel thorough for doing my research and nurturing the tomatoes to do so well. But lock your doors; if my zucchini is too prolific, I'll have to get creative in giving it away.