Victory gardening takes on new meaning with ageWhew! Is summer here yet? I hope so because I need the break. I hit the ground running in November and haven’t stopped since. Oh, wait, there’s a fly in that ointment.
By: Judith Liebaert, Superior Telegram
Whew! Is summer here yet? I hope so because I need the break. I hit the ground running in November and haven’t stopped since.
Oh, wait, there’s a fly in that ointment.
Looking out at my awakening yard, I see everything that needs attention. I neglected the usual clean-up last fall for other, pressing “to dos” on my list. Then the snow came early and stayed so long that it blanketed my memory of what I had not done. Now I am faced with double the work load.
Signs of advancing years are not always of the visible ilk. They also creep up on you in the mental chatter that fills the space between your ears. Statements like, “I’m getting too old to do all of this work,” and “Maybe I could hire somebody just to do the raking this year.”
That’s what my parents did when they were really old. Wasn’t it just last year that I thought raking was good exercise?
I think I’ve passed the tipping point, that moment when hard, physical work took a mind shift from being good for me to being an injury waiting to happen.
My mother didn’t reach that point until well into her senior years. Her brittle bones didn’t rear their formidable warnings until she was near 80, when a simple stumble resulted in a wrist broken so badly that mending required surgery, pins, plates and therapy. My sister experienced the same before she’d marked 60 years. I’m clearly pushing my luck here.
I live in a country cottage sitting on one-plus acres of land, most of it cleared. That means most of it requires mowing, trimming and routine landscape maintenance.
When the hubby and I moved in 11 years ago, the landscape was simple and mostly unadorned. My dreamer’s eye saw a charming, cottage-garden landscape and I immediately set about putting in flower beds … everywhere.
I scoff at the “townies” who complain about mowing their postage-stamp-size lawns, pruning a handful of foundation shrubs and tending a few flower beds. I could buzz through that with one hand holding a cool glass of lemonade while I worked.
It’s amazing how quickly large scale gardening becomes a full time endeavor. As I rake leaves out of flower beds, pull weeds, replace perennials that didn’t survive, fertilize, prune and trim, the mental chatter is ever active. “You know, a small, simple yard would be nice,” and “Container gardening is the way to go.”
Just one problem there; eliminating the gardens I have installed over 11 years would be as much (perhaps even more) work than maintaining them. “So why not just let them go?” the inner chatter counsels.
Much like letting one’s self-appearance go as age creeps up, letting your gardens go all weedy and wild is like taking out a billboard admitting your true age. So is hiring somebody to help. I know that’s why my mother never hired one of those strapping teenage boys willing to exchange hard labor for spending money.
My inner chatter runs a loop through my brain, “An apartment in town would be nice. One with a terrace for a few container gardens — a patio tomato, maybe a pepper plant or two and colorful bunches of annuals.”
So I answer myself with a question, despite remembering that my father once told me he wasn’t worried that talking to himself was a sign of senility … until he started carrying on full conversations.
“Are you seriously thinking of moving just to avoid hiring some help?” I ask, thinking it does seem counterproductive. Clearly, hiring somebody would be easier, cheaper and smarter.
“Keep talking,” I tell myself, slathering stinking muscle rub on every joint of my bent, stiff, and aching body. “You’ve almost got me convinced.”
Judith Liebaert was raised in Superior and now lives in rural Douglas County. She blogs on-line as the Mad Goddess™. Send your comments or story ideas to email@example.com.