Roses are still blossoming in my garden, despite the month being December. With such natural wonders, I have had a difficult time motivating myself to plant bulbs for Spring appearance.
But, today, I finally finished the task. With each bulb stuck in a hole, I wondered if I will be lucky. The process seems too easy. Then again, nature usually works better if left alone. Which is exactly what I shall do...
Today, I moved dirt in my garden. Some might ask why? At times, I wondered myself why I had decided to renew the dirt in my flower beds. When considering this, it had seemed like a good idea. I found someone to deliver high-quality soil--one and one half tons--for a low price. All I had to do would be to dig out some of the old dirt, move it to some other spot in the garden, and move the new soil from the pile in the drive to the beds. I had a shovel, a wheelbarrow, and a high opinion of my ability to perform menial tasks.
As I was pushing one of many wheel barrow loads through the garden from one side of the house to the other, I wondered about man’s tendency to move dirt. Some amounts are huge, some tiny. A child playing in a sandbox falls into this category of human activity. It happens every day all over the world.
This got me wondering about the first human to move dirt, for whatever reason. We know about many firsts in human evolutions, but I doubt that earth moving can be pinned down with accuracy...if any would even bother. I am certain that the first human to move dirt must have been copying animals or bugs, ants in particular. That’s how humans learned about the effect of alcohol, so why not earth moving? The reason is lost in the sands of time (How’s that for a dirt-based metaphor?)
I have a few more days of work ahead of me, which will give my plenty of time to reflect on man’s impact on the planet. That’s what you get when you have a load of dirt dumped in your drive...
One should learn to take the bad with the good...especially when pain is involved.
Today, I was pleased for a short time. I exchanged my “bio” trash container (one in which we place bio-degradable waste)--we are compelled to separate trash into four different containers. We needed a larger container, because of increased garden waste and the town’s decision to charge extra for its pick-up. I should be able to handle all in the weekly bio trash pick-ups...or that was my reasoning in exchanging containers.
I returned home with the new container and felt the urge to christen it with a load from the garden. One large plastic sack of clipping has been languishing in the back, waiting for a suitable treatment. I decided to dump the contents into the new container.
In my haste and blinded by euphoria, I failed to notice that the sack rested upon upright stones...which fell on my big toe, when I lifted the sack. That was...and still is painful.
The joy of having a new container was immediately replaced with mixed emotions: of course, searing pain, anger, shame at my stupidity, etc.
I am now the regretful owner of one normal large toe and one over-sized large toe. The pain has subsided, if I do not move. I will not be working in the garden for some time...
Today, I discovered evidence in the garden that proves that I am not completely worthless. Perhaps...
During out two week absence, plants I set matured and even thrived (except tomatoes, which seem to have succumbed to some plant disease). We can enjoy cucumbers and peppers in salad at dinner, which come from my garden. This is a first.
I recall my parents and grandmother having a garden behind various houses at which we lived. My grandmother grew cucumbers to make pickles. Green beans were always a key feature, as were tomatoes. One garden had asparagus, which I refused to eat.
My daughter and wife always marveled at my mother's garden, because no such thing was ever tried at home. Until now....
Today, I thought that I should buy a farm. This was not caused by any desire to return to the land, but from a need for more land.
To explain, I must back up a bit. Out property is surrounded by high trees, which keep out sunlight for most of the day. This prevented considering growing vegetables, even if I had wanted to. I managed to plant a few flowers.
Last year, a storm uprooted a large tree, which fell on the neighbors house. I was surprised, when he rang my bell, because I had heard nothing. Also, I had never met the man, who is Turkish (which does not explain not having met). This provided a large area of garden, which received sunshine. This year, we decided to remove a second tree, thus creating a large expanse needing new plants. My wife wanted a small apple tree and tomatoes. I decided to try my hand at string beans and peas, because I recall my parents having such plants in vegetable gardens at various houses of my youth.
Tomato plants are sold at nurseries or at farmers’ markets. I planted two varieties of tomato, one cucumber,and one pepper plant. If you want beans and peas, then you must start with seeds. This seemed daunting, but I gave it a while, by sprinkling the seeds in two window boxes (not being used on window sills). To my surprise, both thrived and grew into seedlings. But, I had a problem: not enough space for hundreds of plants.
While planting seedlings in every imaginable spot in the garden, I thought about the benefit of having a farm with several acres. I could plant my beans and peas in rows and not have to stuff them in dumb spots in a too-small garden.
Stayed tuned, to learn what happens in my return to nature...
I like to work in the garden--sometimes--for a number of reasons. First of all, it must be done. Second, I enjoy some of the tasks and the chance for fresh air. And, I hope to convince my wife that I am not totally worthless. There is a fourth reason, which would remove two of the above: I’m too cheap to pay someone to do the work.
Today, I set a fine example for all men wishing to learn how to have a harmonious marriage. I set out to trim one of our hedges. Because it is high, it would require a ladder to complete the task. One of my wife’s greatest fears (totally irrational and unexplainable) is for me to fall off a ladder, something I have never done and do not plan to do. When she noticed the ladder, she rushed out of the house to interrogate me. Being an honest person and having nothing to hide, I proclaimed my intention. She begged not to trim the hedge, until we return from our Asian trip.
So, I get double bonus points. I displayed a willingness to work around the house...and I gladly desisted at her request. That permitted to return to the computer and turn out these words of wisdom. Everybody wins...
_ Here’s a bit of advice: don’t ever let ivy cover the walls of your house. It might look nice, but it is a monster that creeps into window, under doors, and into the attic. Removing it is a major pain and produces a huge pile of stocks, roots, and leaves.
Look at other peoples’ houses, which are covered with the green creeper. Enjoy the view without the ensuing hassles. Let them suffer.
You will thank me for never having to put up with the curse...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.