Volunteering is so glamorous, isn't it? But as Wyatt remarked once we had finished our shift at the Presidio Nursery on Saturday afternoon, "That was WAY more fun than I thought it would be. I can't wait to go back!"
And we will go back. This was our first family foray into "Volunteering for the Environment." "The Environment" is an (admittedly broad) area we have identified as a way our little family can work together to better our community. And as everyone knows, when we help in our communities all that good work adds up, and it helps our our state, and then our country (assuming California doesn't secede), and also the planet. Yes, we have lofty goals! And we are working towards them.
We arrived at the Presidio Nursery a little bit late for the 1pm start on Saturday, but our leader, Desmond, set us up with our own pot scrubbing station in no time. The three of us (and a bunch of other people) had dish scrubbers that we used to dry scrub the dirt off seedling pots. There were other people who washed the pots with soap, others rinsed them, and still others assembled the pots into racks. The assemblers got to use a mallet, so that was obviously the best job. In addition to the pot scrubbers, there were groups that were washing seeds and maybe also sorting seeds. Honestly, I don't remember for sure, though, because once we heard those jobs were very detail oriented and required patience, we were relieved to have been pegged as "Pot Scrubbers" from the beginning.
Around 2:30, we had a snack break in the Habitarium. The Nursery provided the snacks, because they are classy like that.
After snack? Back to work. This time with the boom box in our palace of pots where many of us did our best pot-scrub-dance-lip-sync routines. It wasn't long before one of the teenagers who was working in the assembly station asked Wyatt if he wanted to use the mallet on the pots once he had them set and ready to go. Wyatt literally jumped at the chance.
We even got volunteer pins when we were finished. Like I said, classy.
If you're in the Bay Area and interested in volunteer opportunities with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, here's a great summary of what opportunities are available when, and how to sign-up in advance to bring a group larger than four people.
And if after a busy day, you, like Wyatt, need more potatoes and olive oil in your life, try this incredible recipe by Penelope Casas for Tortilla Española. I've tried several recipes for this dish, and this is by far the best one. And I'll admit that it may sound fiddly to separate each slice of potato before cooking, but just do it. It's so worth it.
When I make this recipe, I use a 10" skillet (we'd be lost without the leftovers), so I need more of everything. I usually use about 5 medium-large Yukon Gold potatoes, a giant yellow onion, and 8 large eggs. I also use not too fancy olive oil. The rest of the recipe remains the same. That is, it remains the same except when it doesn't. This weekend, I couldn't be bothered to flip the omelet. Instead, after the edges of the omelet had begun to set, I put the cast-iron pan into a preheated 350 degree oven and baked it until it was just firm (about 20 minutes). Slightly less beautifully golden on both sides, but equally delicious.