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As promised yesterday, this morning was spent with Bishop David Rice, working in our community garden and feeding the poor of Visalia. And sandwiched in between was tea and grilled pineapple (delicious) with a gracious elder and her friends, as well as a tour of Goats’ Head Garden.

Fawn, Teri, and Suzy in the garden at St. Paul's.

Fawn, Teri, and Suzy in the garden at St. Paul’s.

Goats’ Head Garden, an amazing acre of previously ignored land on Visalia’s North Side, demonstrates how well families can provide for themselves and others when given the opportunity (and water) to do so. The “bee expert” who was working there this morning told us that there are at least ten different honeybee varieties in that garden, thanks to the broad variety of flowering plants that are grown there. I asked him about my bumblebee, and whether bumblebees really do have feeding routines (or was I just being fanciful about my visiting bee). He suggested I catch said bumblebee, put him in the frig for thirty minutes or so to quiet him down, then put a dot of white paint or pink nail polish on him and let him go. Then the next day it will be easy to determine whether or not “my” bumblebee has returned!

After our tour of Goats’ Head (where I saw rice growing for the first time), we continued to The Bethlehem Center, where it was almost time to serve lunch. St. Paul’s members serve there the first and third Fridays of each month. When we arrived, the advance team had already prepared the meal — a substantial lunch of spaghetti in meat sauce, bread, diced carrots, and fruit salad. Bishop Rice did what he does best, as he visited with those who came to eat as well as The Bethlehem Center workers. This is a man who looks you in the eye, listens to what you say, and remembers your name!

Our job was to serve the lunch (including seconds for some, and thirds for a few more) and clean up afterwards. The guests that come to eat are appreciative and complimentary, and make us feel fortunate to be able to share their lunchtime.

Our kitchen crew at The Bethlehem Center (Both photographs courtesy of Bishop Rice.)

Our kitchen crew at The Bethlehem Center (Both photographs courtesy of Bishop Rice.)

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