This has been a very stressful time in the garden. It seems that our community garden has been overrun with voles. You may not have ever seen a vole, a rodent a little larger than a field mouse, but I have seen more than my share from babies to fully grown. This year, the fox family that hunted in the garden is gone and no new fox have moved in. We have our share of hawks, but voles have lots of cover to hide under, making the hawks’ food source harder to find. The best cover is also their favorite food, sweet potatoes. I dug up my crop a little early to try and save some for the family. Lucky for me I managed to get a crop of sorts. Some gardeners had their whole planting eaten.

Frustrating as it is, problems like this force people to find new strategies to help. We set traps, cleared brush and harvested early. By now, you have seen the problems in your class that will need tending to, just like the voles. You can talk to a grade partner, read up on behaviors or learning difficulties, make phone calls to parents, and do meaningful assessment to help with conferences, etc. How about adding to your bag of tricks? Greg Smedley-Warren will be here in Jersey next month with his smorgasbord of ideas. Could he have up his sleeve something that might help with your problems? How about talking a coworker into coming with you so that you can discuss strategies to aid in your teaching? There may be someone at the conference who has solved the problems you have and in a creative way you might not have thought of.

Time is wasting. Don’t delay to sign up. Make sure to register now, on-line, while there are still a very few spots left. There are also some spots left for Union County’s workshop. Go to www.njake.net to use PayPal. The voles are restless and voracious.

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