Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017 – Visitor’s Center Flowerbeds, Pendleton Schoolhouse Sidewalk, 70’s Hall

Our work day in the gardens started in the Visitor’s Center. We try to make a pass through the Visitor’s center gardens at least once a week to pull weeds and “Dead Head” the old flowers. At least two or three times a week the grounds crew uses the backpack blowers to blow all of the sidewalks of the Visitor’s Center and the Women’s Garden too. It is very important that the high profile locations like the Visitor’s Center and the Women’s Garden always look their best.


We also cleaned and weeded three other historic sites for the rest of our work day. We did the Pendleton Schoolhouse and Sidewalk, followed by the 70’s Hall and we finished at the historic home of Chauncey Webb.

What is significant about these last three sites we cleaned is that they were the last three for the month. We have a one month schedule of cleaning every historic site at least once a month, every month. And, with the completion of Pendleton Schoolhouse, the 70’s Hall and the home of Chauncey Webb we got every site in Old Nauvoo weeded and cleaned at least once this month. Of course there are many high profile sites that we return to multiple times in the month but it feels real good to have achieved our goal for July.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday, July 30, 2017 – Sacrament Mtg. Talks, The Brick Yard, Service Missionaries for Dinner

We had a very full day today that started with our talks in Sacrament meeting. Our subject was on “The Law of Sacrifice.” How appropriate, because last week (the week of the24th of July and “Pioneer Day”) our Sacrament Meeting talks were all on “The Trail of Hope.” Sis. Hall and Elder & Sis. Johnson4 gave wonderful talks on the sacrifice of the pioneers of Old Nauvoo as they heeded the voice of the Prophet and headed down the “Trail of Hope” for the wilderness and an uncertain future.  As I listened to their talks I thought to myself how each one of their talks could have been used for today’s subject: “The Law of Sacrifice.”

Today Sis. Johnson and I were assigned to give tours in the “Brick Yard.” I love giving tours at The Brick Yard. To latter-day Saints in Nauvoo in the 1840’s, a brick home meant beauty and permanence. And long before the nursery rhyme of The Three Little Pigs who built their house of bricks, the Nauvoo Saints had the counsel of the Saviors words, “A wise man, which built his house upon a rock . . . “ (Matthew 7:24) Those who build their house upon a rock (a firm foundation, or in other words, center their lives on Christ,) will be able to withstand the storms of life. 

Our shift at the Brick Yard today was from 12:30 to 5PM. Normally all historic site tours end at 5PM.
However this Sunday and next Sunday the mission is trying an experiment. The historic sites will be open an additional two hours and close at 7PM instead of 5PM. There have been many request to leave the sites open longer on Sunday. So this experiment is to see if it is feasible and while it benefit the public.

This evening we had the Young Service Missionaries over to our home for dinner again. Having a home cooked dinner seems to be a much anticipated highlight for them. They really enjoy Sis. Johnson’s cooking.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Saturday, July 29, 2017 – Bag Pipes, Bank for Cash, Prepare our talks

This morning on our way to do our weekly P-day grocery shopping we saw an amazing sight. The Nauvoo Bagpipe and Drum Band was playing and marching down Mulholland Street in exactly the same spot as we saw them last week on our way to go shopping. We must really be creatures of habit because we were at exactly the same spot at exactly the same time as last week. 

This time while Sis. Johnson went into the “Fudge Factory” I stopped and listened to their music. I mentioned it last week but it bears repeating, their bagpipe renditions of “Praise to the Man” and “If You Could Hie to Kolob” and “Amazing Grace” are three of my most favorite musical pieces.

 While we were in down town Nauvoo we also stopped in at the SBN “State Bank of Nauvoo” to get cash. We used to use our ATM card but the fees are so high they were killers. We found out that the SBN will cash our personal checks for no fee at all. In fact I asked the teller what form of ID the bank required to cash an out of state check and she pointed to my missionary name tag and said, “that’s all the ID we require!” What a blessing. It is a wonderful relationship of trust and respect the Church has with the people and merchants of Nauvoo.

The rest of our day before our “Rendezvous” show was spent poring over quotes and scripture references as Sis. Johnson and I are preparing to speak in Sacrament meeting tomorrow morning at 7:50am. Each Senior is asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting once while they serve here in Nauvoo, so it really isn’t a burden, actually, we knew the opportunity was coming so it wasn’t unexpected. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday, July 28, 2017 – Working at the Brick Yard, Wilford Woodruff, Family Search and Women’s Gdn, Coleus Cuttings

Another busy day at various sites in Old Nauvoo. While Elder Kyle Johnson, Elder Cantwell and I were on the road weeding and cleaning, Richard had Sis. Johnson stay in the propagation room making more Coleus cuttings again. There is still a full bench of Coleus plants that need to be finished.  It may take a while.

Elder Kyle Johnson, Elder Cantwell and I started our day at the Brick Yard were the brick sidewalks were full of weeds. The larger weeds we pull by hand and all of the others I whacked away with the line trimmer. By the time we finished the transformation was amazing. All those bricks in the sidewalk look great now.

Next we were off to the historic home of Wilford Woodruff followed by the office of the “Family Search Center.” Then we finished the morning at the historic home of Heber C Kimball. It was a good productive morning.

In the afternoon we trimmed three large hedges in the Women’s Garden. I trimmed all three of these hedges last fall so they were due for another haircut. There are still several hedges left to trim but this was a good start.

Of course the high light of our day is always our performances on stage. Tonight we were on the outdoor stage of “Sunset by the Mississippi” and it was a very comfortable 84 degrees. Two things made tonight performance special. First, tonight was our turn for Sis. Johnson and I to sing our duet, “Senior Moments.” I am still very surprised how much Sis. Johnson and I enjoy singing and performing on stage.

The second reason tonight’s “Sunset” show was special was that our old friend, Don Dennee, was there to watch us and enjoy the show. We are so very pleased he was able to travel with his Ward and attend Young Conference with his Stake from Mississippi. After the show we got to spend even more time together.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Thursday, July 27, 2017 – Propagating Coleus, Cleaning Benches & Hoop House, Pliers on Rogue Trees

Sis. Johnson and I worked indoors all day today. It rained in the early morning and it was overcast all day and it would have been pleasant to work in the gardens but the Coleus plants needed attention right away. They are all getting overgrown in their 3” pots and they desperately need a haircut. But before we pruned them back we had to harvest several cutting from each of the hundreds of varieties. We didn’t finish today, maybe tomorrow.


While Sis. Johnson and I worked in the propagation room with Emilie and Bekah the rest of the grounds crew worked on sorting and cleaning the shaded benches. There are a lot of left over annual plants that never made it into the gardens that no longer have a use. They were all sorted and most of them had to be hauled away. 

While all of the excess plants were being tossed into the trailer for the compost pile, I asked Richard a question, “Doesn’t it just break your heart to see all of those plants being thrown away.” He replied, “I look at it in a positive light, now I don’t have to water them anymore.”

Also on today’s cleaning agenda was the greenhouse we call the “Hoop House.” As part of today’s cleaning it was completely emptied of all plants. Then Rylan and Lani swept it and hosed it out to completely clean it. Next it will be completely sterilized and sanitized in the next few days. After Richard finishes with the antifungal and antibacterial agents the hoop house will be clean enough to eat your morning eggs and bacon off the floor.

Richard took Elder Cantwell and Elder Kyle Johnson to the Visitor’s Center to pull weeds and “Rogue Trees” in the Liriope beds. But this time he tried something new, Richard used pliers to pull on the rogue trees to get them out roots and all. It worked, we had a half inch of rain over night and the soil was soft and the sapling trees came out with a little effort. Some were harder than other but it was much faster than cutting them down and then treating the tiny trunk with poison like we’ve been doing in the past. 

It is amazing how many old friends we’ve had the fortune to see here in Nauvoo while we’ve served our mission here. Again today we had another one of those unexpected sweet surprises.  An old friend, Don Dennee, (from our home ward while Sis. Johnson and I were in high school) came with his Stake’s Youth Conference from the State of Mississippi. They were on the road 14 hours to get here. Also another High School friend is here with his ward’s youth, Jack Heywood. This is Jack’s second visit with us in the last year.

It was really fun to spend time together and renew old acquaintances. Jack Heywood was here last August but this is the first time I’ve seen and talked to Don Dennee in 46 years. Even though it’s been 48 years since we graduated from high school together, they are both very dear friends of Sis. Johnson and I and we really enjoyed their visit.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 – Mulching the Women’s Garden, Finish “Sunset” Stage

Another busy full day on the grounds of Old Nauvoo for the grounds staff. We started in the Women’s Garden putting mulch around all of the new plants that went in yesterday. We used about a half load of mulch to cover the soil around all of the new plants. We had a lot of help so the project went fast.

Our next stop was at the “Sunset by the Mississippi” outdoor stage. We had the whole crew to help us so we finished the project we started on Monday and then some. Once again there were a lot of volunteer “Rogue” trees that needed to be cut down and poisoned so they won’t come back. Now that we’ve finished, the whole area really looks good.

We finished our work day at the historic home of Heber C. Kimball. We were here cleaning at the end of June so it’s been four weeks since it was weeded last. The weeds were plentiful but we finished the whole site after lunch.