April 22 ~
Yesterday was my first full day of garden work this growing season. So tired was I, that this blog entry had to wait until this morning. There is nothing as satisfying as the achiness after a good, productive day's work---it is wonderful on so many levels.
First, it makes me remember to be grateful that I am lucky enough to have this land to tend and the time to do it. I am reminded that choosing a days worth of tasks requires me to be mentally flexible and abide by what nature is giving me to work with. Each year, I get older and various garden jobs becomes a bit more difficult as they need a different sort of flexibility that diminishes with time--yet the work still needs doing.... More adjustments! Winter asks specific tasks of us, but sometimes they are more subtle. With the advent of spring/summer, though, those of us who work the land have to live entirely by the rhythm of nature--not our own whims. It is humbling......centering. It reconnects me to my ancestors--especially my grandparents. As I plant, I can see my grandpa dropping corn and bean seed into the ground..with a robin hopping along behind him. When it comes time to harvest those crops, I recall my grandma shucking and shelling....and then cooking dinner for us all.
For me, the key to getting things done is to do a lot of different types of tasks instead of just one thing each day---probably a touch of ADD, but also it lets me use all my muscles equally--not stressing any too much, which could end up putting me out of commission for several days. Also, I am a list maker. Accomplishing one thing per day is not nearly as satisfying as crossing a bunch of tasks off a list. People who know me laugh at the fact that if I tackle a job as an afterthought to my daily list--I will add it just so I can cross it off!!
So, yesterday--beautiful,cool, sunny......what did I do?
I found and spiffed up my reliable garden shoes, pulled out invasive ivy and hauled it to the fire pit, along with old weed/herb stalks, opened up the greenhouse for good (insulation out and door un-locked), started up all our equipment--with fingers crossed. Not too bad this year. By the time our repair guy brings back my Mantis tillers (yes--I have two!) and the lawn mower--it will be time to use them. The ground here is too wet for tilling yet and I have a fetish about doing NO MOWING until May. We took a stroll down to the bridge and I collected willow shoots to make rooting hormone while my daughter and grandson played Pooh Sticks. When the sun was right, I took some pics of emerging plants and staged a few to use later in product descriptions. There was some hand weeding to be done in my raised boxes as well as rose and shrub pruning. Somewhere in there I took a break to walk my labyrinth and put out a few of my favorite garden ornaments and watch my grandson shoot some baskets. Then it was valerian digging time! That is satisfying on a few levels too. It is beautiful and useful--but plenty invasive--so I was able to reclaim a few herb beds from its grasp and make some people and pet medicine (cats love it more than catnip). Cats rolling around beside me while I worked is another benefit. Digging a lot of valerian can make you sleepy, so I sat for awhile after that and was able to appreciate how it is greening up nicely around here...which led to a small panic attack, since "green" means more garden work! I got all my tools in order so that when it comes time to plant, I can plant...instead of hunting for the hoe..that fell behind the shovel, that has a tarp thrown over it for some reason........... and then, I plugged in all the recharging stations for the trimmer, hedge clippers and the toy tractor. I surveyed where to dig the holes for a few new trees, shrubs and all the new herb plants that were ordered months ago--when garden work reality is non-existent...only the unrealistic dreams. I scoped out the new greens that were finally up and will begin filling my dinner baskets this week (garlic mustard, nettles, Japanese knotweed, dandelions....but no asparagus yet!!). Then, on to repairing disheveled bamboo teepees for my vining plants.
It was time to stop. Still feeling pretty good, but I know to pace myself, or else the next day will be non productive. Today, is another full schedule--going to try out my new knee pads while tackling the weeds one herb bed at a time......It is good, satisfying beginning, but to make things perfect---it has got to get consistently warm enough to sit on my porch in the morning while drinking tea and making my lists for the day.