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Springtime spruce up: Advice for tackling projects and accomplishing seasonal goals
A hint of warmer weather, the promise of homegrown flowers and vegetables and the
longer stretches of daylight certainly make the first days of spring feel like a new start. Given that many people use this time of
the year to spruce up their homes, both indoors and outdoors; start or restart an outdoor exercise program; and plan summer
excursions, we thought it might be fun if a few employees and students shared some advice for making the most of your springtime plans.
Planting time is finally upon us! Every year I want my plantings to be my best ever. With some years of experience under my belt, I have learned how to tip the scales in my favor. I always include some tried and true performers in my baskets and pots so no container is ever a complete failure (well, rarely).
I mix in new and interesting introductions
with reliable performers and sometimes
I get a spectacular display. Sometimes the new plants don’t do so well, but at least I have the dependable color of my standbys to carry the planting through the season.
My best performers
• Euphorbia “Diamond Frost” works in both sun and shade and everywhere in between.
• Foliage plants like dusty miller, coleus, heuchera, hostas, sweet potato vine and ferns are indispensable.
• Begonia “Dragon Wing.” Both sun and shade. A bit messy, it makes (and drops) a lot of flowers.
• Ivy geranium “Cascade” series. Part to full sun. “Lila” is my favorite.
• Angelonia. Full sun. I like “Angelface” series best for its big flowers. Others are fine, too.
• Blue salvia. Sun. “Victoria,” “Signum,” “Evolution” and “Black and Blue” are all very good.
• Lantana. Full sun. Every one I’ve ever tried has been great.
Elizabeth Sobrevilla is a member of the grounds crew and well-respected plant care specialist. She checked with local garden stores and confirmed that her “best performers”
will be readily available throughout the spring planting season.
For some, these words are a welcome sound to shake them from the winter blues. To others, it brings the dread of adding one more chore to a full schedule. Let me draw your attention to two important factors that will assist you in making a successful swipe at spring cleaning: “have fun,” and “stay focused!”
Have fun: If possible, clean with someone. Get together with family or friends. Play your favorite music. Sing along if you are in the mood. Take pictures. If you have several helpers, create two teams and make it a contest. Plan a reward for after you complete the cleaning.
Stay Focused: Clear your schedule. Eliminate
disruptions for the day. Gather your cleaning supplies the day before your cleaning
day. Make a checklist of your planned tasks. Turn off your cell phone. Let friends and family know you will be unreachable that day. If children are assisting you, plan age-appropriate tasks for them.
Just as Mary Poppins says,” In every job that must be done there is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap! The job’s a game.” Happy cleaning!
Scott Zeigler is a campus events manager and oversees the custodial care of all of Messiah’s buildings.
So, you want to run a 5K? With a little common sense and a lot of dedication, you can accomplish that goal within eight weeks. These guidelines will keep you safe and successful.
• Complete the Par-Q at me.vccs.edu/forms/par_q.pdf to be sure it is medically
safe for you to increase your activity
• Be sure you have a good pair of cushioned
• Progression is the name of the game! There are no shortcuts to getting in shape. Check out the novice, intermediate
and advanced programs at
index.htm to get started.
• Cross-train with some non-impact days. That can mean hopping on a bike or jumping into a pool. Anything that gives the joints a break.
• Listen to your body. God designed us in ways that the body communicates to the head—the problem is sometimes the head is in no mood to listen! Taking
a day off now and then (for illness or tiredness) will not keep you from reaching your goal.
• Run for a cause! It will keep you focused on others during your training and help keep you motivated.
• Find a friend to train with you. It’s amazing how the miles fly by when someone is sharing them with you.
• Warm-up prior to workouts by doing some walking/jogging, and stretch after your workouts.
• Take time to stop and smell the
daffodils — spring is a great time to
be outside training.
• Celebrate when you cross the finish line and enjoy your new fitness level!
Doug Miller is a professor of health and exercise science and director of the College’s employee wellness program.
With summer vacation right around the corner, it is never too early to start planning
a playlist for long road trips. Growing up, my family had a few favorite albums we listened to on every sun-fueled excursion
and perhaps your family has a similar tradition. I’ve found that many of the songs I love to hear on road trips tend to fall in one of several categories.
The Band — “The Weight”
Bob Dylan — “John Wesley Harding”
Elvis Costello — “Pay It Back”
Hank Williams — “Jambalaya
(On The Bayou)”
Johnny Cash — “One Piece At A Time”
Marty Robbins —“Big Iron”
The Beach Boys — “All Summer Long”
The Beatles — “I Should Have
Neon Indian — “Deadbeat Summer”
Sam Cooke — “Twisting The
The Spongetones — “Cool Hearted Girl”
Vampire Weekend — “Walcott”
Sweet sounds of nostalgia:
The Chords — “Sh-Boom”
The Crystals — “Da Do Ron Ron”
Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie —“Deed I Do”
Elvis Presley — “Don’t Be Cruel”
Gene Krupa — “Tutti Frutti”
Heartwarming folk tunes:
Edward Sharp & The Magnetic
Zeros — “Home”
Fleet Foxes — “Ragged Wood”
My Morning Jacket — “Mahgeeta”
Neil Young — “Walk On”
Exhilarating rock ’n’ roll:
Bruce Springsteen — “Born To Run”
The Kinks — “Till The End of the Day”
Ryan Adams — “To Be Young”
The Stooges — “Down On The Street”
Ryan Faus is a senior and
president of the Student
Activities Board at Messiah. He is instrumental in booking the weekly concert series, B-Sides. Ryan’s favorite concert at Messiah was The Love Language.
The first thing to do when planning your own vegetable garden is to select your harvest. As far as sowing right in the dirt, some popular plants that can be sown in April are bush beans, peas, broccoli, carrots,
onions, leafy greens and strawberries. Most everything else will be sown in May. If you want to get a jump-start with indoor planting, you can start as early as late February
with leafy greens, tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower. Cucumbers, squash and other warm weather veggies can be started in late March. All you need is a little soil, a pot or tray (think reusable with egg and milk cartons) and a warm place to put your seedlings. They can start out like that and then be transplanted to your garden whenever the seed packets say so. Seed packets say when to plant, how deep and far apart, what kind of soil and amount of sun the plant needs and when they yield.
For starting seedlings inside, here are some things to remember:
• Do not use garden soil unless it’s sterilized.
Use houseplant soil or sterilize garden soil by sticking it in the oven for about two hours at 170–180 degrees.
• Keep vegetable seeds in the refrigerator for a few days before planting.
• Make sure to fill containers to the brim with soil. This will prevent too much air-flow into the soil, which could cause damp-off disease.
• Barely cover the seed with the soil. Some seeds don’t need to be covered at all. This information will be on the packet.
• Seedlings should be kept between 65 and 72 degrees and 12 to 15 inches away from bright lights.
• Use warm water for the first two or three days, then slightly warmer than room temperature after that.
• After leaves start showing, seedlings can be spaced out more, but do not transplant outside until all threat of frost is gone. (To find out your local frost-free date, visit a library or garden center.)
Michael Helms is a senior philosophy major and one of the students responsible for caring for the College’s on-campus