View from the deck on a glorious morning in early June.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Moments of truth

I came into the fenced veg garden on the top level and noticed that a wind storm the previous day had damaged two pole extensions. When the fence was built some years ago Old Dutch did a brilliant job of extending it upwards. Some of the extensions had snapped. For reasons I will not go into here any fixing is up to me. I did a temporary job using the material on hand: duck tape. 

But while I stood there taking in the damage and wondering how to keep the hungry hordes of deer out now it suddenly hit me: This is getting to be TOO MUCH. The time is coming to retrench instead of expand. 
For the first time ever the thought of a nice small house in the village with a decent size garden began to appeal to me in the middle of summer. In winter the thought has occurred before but once the snow is gone, never! I will die here! Or so I thought. People can change. The thought of the actual move is daunting. It's not like you can wave a wand and magically switch places. But there is much to be said for making those changes while we can and before we must. The offspring has a sentimental attachment to the place but it is unlikely they will want to live here again as long as the present geological and social order holds. It may not but that is another story.

Another moment of truth: I have run out of "If onlies" and I am still nowhere near the perfect garden. You know, if only my hips did not hurt. If only I was not side tracked by the farmers market, house guests or reflexology clients. If only I did not get tired halfway the day. If only I had a greenhouse.
If only I had a fence. If only I had enough manure. If only I had enough mulch.

Well, this year there are no excuses.
Body parts: working fine, thank you chiropractor and physio.
Energy level: great, thank you surgeon and bluegreen algae.
Time: In May and most of June I was available to the garden almost 24/7. I potted up a few plants for the market but not much. 
Greenhouse: check.
Manure: check. I started the year with an ample supply of sifted compost and COF.
Mulch: last fall a friend delivered 25 bales of hay. I can pile it on. Straw is better but hay is more easily available.

It is still not done. There. Moment of truth. I am trying to do too much. If I did not get it all together this year I never will. 

We have now hit the season of extreme heat as well as harvest. Keeping things watered and picked will take precedence over working ahead, framing another raised bed etc. I am also taking part in the farmers market again, getting reflex clients again, and the grandson is coming over for three weeks. The time of total garden obsession is over for this year. Either we relax in the wabi sabi of it and enjoy what is there, which is plenty! or we drive ourselves nuts. Wabi Sabi (the appreciation of imperfection) it is.


  1. I love the thought of wabi sabi. And as a perfectionist it is something I must work at for sure.

    My family has this tendency to die at 67. There have been two exceptions to that rule. One, my Uncle Ray, mowed lawns with a hand mower through his eighties. And when I say lawns I mean not just his in town and the one at the lake house but several that were rental properties for his stepson.

    Mother would bitch and moan about how the dreaded stepson was abusing her brother but Ray outlived Mom, his kid sister, who decided she was too old to do things like mow the lawn.

    I am now 69 and I tell myself I am too old to shovel snow every winter but the truth of it is it keeps me in shape. I know for a fact a nice retirement home would kill me. And just because it snows does not mean it has to be shoveled.

    I debated putting a garden in at all this year because it required rebuilding a bigger bow tunnel and putting in two more raised beds. But I did it. And nothing replaces that wonderful feeling of going out into the garden and harvesting a salad for lunch or dinner. No GMO either. I did coop some of the garden this year.

    A friend who helped me some with the building of it gets the benefit of some of the surplus. I always plant more than I need. Yeah, it is not perfect but it is perfect for me just now.

  2. Smile. Good onya. Your garden beds look impressive. There is no way we are ready for a retirement home! If anything I would be more active in town. I worry about Old Dutch aging. We'll see. I am very spoiled in terms of freedom and privacy.

  3. I found you and I was reading your post I am only 57 but my bones and body feel like 90
    I want to sell my house and perhaps live in a duplex on one floor or even a condo with a balcony a small garden of potted plants
    give my horse to someone
    work on myself
    I have a garden fenced in belle is in there
    no garden has been planted for 4 years
    I don't have the acreage that you do I only have about 1 acre which is too much for me to care for
    I just want the freedom to do what my pain allows me to do as you already know I live in a tremendous amount of pain I get overwhelmed with all the work that needs to be done around the house from doing the laundry which is it in the basement going up and down the steps is the worst thing for my SI jointS my husband he'd be happy to live here forever I want to go to way from here yes I'm live in the country but I live on a road that has the lot of traffic and I mean a lot of traffic it is a through way for people traveling to another city so noise is at times very very annoying
    up the street is a race car track stifling smells of fuel in smoke also up the street both of these less than half a mile from my house is a recycling plant where at night time they crush and smash cars you hear in the middle of the night sometimes this great crushing sound as if there is a monster headed your way
    behind me is in orchard and I mean at the end of my yard just across the railroad tracks is An orchard and of course use toxic poison spray that almost killed my horse 2 years ago so when they are spraying because I'm here at the house time being I have to lock her away from them
    I am grateful for a roof over my head I just wish that roof were somewhere else then the town I grew up in and I am talking about an unincorporated town it doesn't even have a store other than a little mom and pop and one little tiny post office but the place has been consumed by people from Washington DC coming out here to live the good life in the country no they are not friendly they think that they have the lock their doors close your mouth not talk to anyone afraid of small talk a joke my little Mayberry a town has turned into a joke and so have I
    as I said I mean it this is the truth I want to live in nice pretty area in a nice pretty apartment with good neighbors a balcony or a patio then I can grow potted plants and enjoy what life I have left I am tired nine years of chronic pain has wore me down it seems that every day I have a new pain all stemming from my spine so they say my feet feel like I'm walking on sharp rock every step that I take my back from my SI joint every step I take feels like glue is stuck inside of me and the pain of the movement of the step is killing me I do now have a wheelchair please don't get me wrong I am venting here your article this brought up so much to me about how I am feeling and how can I convince my husband of what I need to do for me he has put a lot of work and money into this home

  4. sorry I apologize for writing a book
    your friend

    1. Dear Mel, sorry I missed seeing this till now. I am so sorry to hear none of your operations helped to ease your pain. If I were in your condition I'd be robbing banks to keep me in oxycontin. Yes, it sounds like a place elsewhere would be better for you. I know how much you have loved Belle. If you are ready to give her up, that really shows how desperate you are. I hope you get to move sometime soon.

  5. Ien, you know how life can take turns without warning us, but you do have a sense about kintsugi - so, go on, wabi sabi the windbreak, put on a cup of tea, and relax.
    I have too much ranch and not enough courage to jettison lots of the accumulated stuff that I had planned to finish once I retired. Now, I am retired, and the earlier fun of weeding, fighting blackberry invasions, and stacking the layers of cardboard and clippings/weeds to compost sometimes gets me to thinking, a bit smaller place, closer to a real city, that might not be so bad. But I can't tell where I'm heading if I just keep looking in the rear view mirror, can I?


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