The Elf and the Christmas Tree

Guest Post by Michelle Mather

Cam thought it would be fun to share this photo with you and I realized that some sort of explanation would be in order.

I have recently become more involved with a local group called the “GrassRoots Growers.” (http://te-grassrootsgrowers.weebly.com/) Cam and I have always supported the efforts of this local group and attended their events. In fact, Cam has been a guest speaker as well as a panelist at their events. Earlier this year I heard through the grapevine that the volunteer member who worked on their website and monitored their email address was no longer going to be able provide these services. Since these are skills that I possess and use daily, I decided to offer my services to the group. The next thing I knew I was a full-fledged member of the steering committee!

Fifteen years ago when we first moved here from the city I was determined to avoid volunteering my time or my services to any organization. I guess I was burned out from the many groups and organizations that I had been involved with in the city. My volunteering goes way back. As a teenager I volunteered weekly at our local hospital in the kids’ ward. I played with, entertained, and sometimes even fed the young patients. During my university years I volunteered at schools, particularly in special needs classrooms. Once I became a parent I began volunteering at our daughters’ pre-school and then at their elementary school. At the same time Cam and I were very involved with numerous environmental causes and groups. So by the time I moved here I had decided to lay low and focus my time and energy on our little piece of paradise.

It turns out that I had forgotten how much fun it is to be a part of a volunteer organization in which like-minded people work towards shared goals. In fact no sooner had I begun to attend the steering committee meetings than I found myself taking on the role of event coordinator for our fall event. We wanted to offer a talk on “preserving” and I happened to have traded some gardening and preserving stories with my optometrist, Dr. Angela Moore. I easily convinced her to provide a talk to our group. After her enjoyable talk we provided a panel of “experts” including my friend Hilda who writes a blog about using wild edible plants (http://alongthegrapevine.wordpress.com/), GrassRoots Growers Susie and Mary Jo and my friend Lisa who writes a blog about gardening, cooking and preserving (http://smallpursebiggarden.blogspot.ca/) The event concluded with a taste-testing of delicious preserves provided by various members. Needless to say all in attendance enjoyed ourselves immensely!

The photo below was taken at our most recent GRG outing, the local Santa Claus Parade. Eighteen of us participated including little Sarah who was dressed up as a “Gardening Angel.” There was a potato, a tomato cage complete with dangling tomatoes, a monarch butterfly, lots of gardeners and farmers, Cam the Christmas Tree and me the “Gardening Elf.” Our signs, beautifully painted by my friend Heidi, said things like “HOE, HOE, HOE!”, “World Peas” “Lettuce be Merry” “Have you bean good?” “Snap Pea Holidays” “I Be-Leaf in Santa” and that kind of thing. I dragged a wagon with our “Sunflower Farm CSA” signs on the side and another of our wagons was put to good use filled with local apples that we handed out to children along the parade route. (To provide a healthy alternative to all of the candy that is given out at these events.) Despite the drizzly conditions, we all had a lot of fun. As you know from reading this blog, Cam isn’t adverse to dressing up as a Christmas tree, Super Solar Man or even a Blueberry but this year I decided to provide him with a low-cost, homemade costume that was a little easier for people to recognize!

Thanks to David Field for this photo.

Thanks to David Field for this photo.

5 Responses to “The Elf and the Christmas Tree”

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Cam Mather and his wife Michelle live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and their CSA. Cam is working towards the goal of making his home “zero-carbon” and with his extensive garden he aims to grow as much of his own food as possible. He is available to speak at conferences and other events and has motivated many people to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.
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