After my foolhardy fall, and the ensuing set back while I recovered, I came to the realisation I had stretched myself too thin. As I tried to catch up again, I realised just how much of a thin line I was trying to balance myself on. I was one disaster away from calamity.
I love the vegetable garden and love the produce that comes out of it even more. But after more than a dozen seasons, I’d got the hang of it well and truly. I instinctively know what needs to be done and when, and the spacing each plant requires as it moves from bed to bed in the well-planned crop rotation cycle. The same old weeds that try their best to pop up time and time again are familiar old foes. And a lot of the vegetables are the same each season as they are tried and trusted and we enjoy eating them. There is a little room for something new and interesting for a bit of excitement, but on the whole, it is becoming a tad same samey. Long gone are the joys of seeing something emerge for the first time, although I will never tire of seeing the new seedlings of a new season emerge from the seed raising mix.
But these days I am more likely to have a burst of emotion if something behaves out of the ordinary and often that emotion isn’t likely to be a joyful one. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m bored with the garden, because I still love getting in there and getting things done and relish the routine as I whip things into control. I also love being in the outdoors and enjoying what nature provides, and the slowing down that it enforces upon you… so long as you don’t get behind and slip into the constant state of needing to catch up.
But these days the thrill of the garden comes from the challenge of taming the land beyond the vegetable patch… looking at a spot of land and deciding to turn it into something beautiful and I have started off with a whiz and a bang and created several spots about the place that have stretched my skills and abilities and have me craving for more of the same. Although, I have discovered, it is all very well to create, but you need to follow up with maintenance to keep everything looking nice. And as I look forward with fresh eyes and the thrill of the challenge of something new, I look back over my shoulder at a growing list of things I need to do to keep everything in good order.
For some spaces it is just a weed, and a prune and others require a significant tweaking as in my initial enthusiasm I overlooked an aspect that nature just laughed at my attempts and calls me back to try again, but differently. I suggest this kind of trial and error out in the wild beyond the vegetable patch will challenge me for many seasons, until I understand the environment in the same way I understand growing my edibles. The key going forward is to stay on top of the things I’ve already done as well as pressing on into the untamed.
But I am only one person, and not a young one at that. Gone are the days I can toil in the soil from dawn to dusk without so much as a twinge. And then of course there is my MSsy shadow that tugs at my coat tails reminding me to slow down all the time. I have Hubby the Un-Gardener for the heavy stuff, but he has a real job and while he works from home isn’t often at my beck and call and sometimes things have to wait. The other thing is my computer gardening, which don’t get me wrong – I love to do just as much as proper gardening – especially on a cold wet day, but it takes a considerable chunk of time to be done as well.
So, with all of this in mind, I tentatively put the call out… “Do you know anyone who can help me?” and the first person I asked said ‘why yes, I do… Would you consider me?” I couldn’t be happier to have a good friend by my side in the garden. It is only a few hours a week, but it is such a weight off my shoulders to have the routine tasks in the vegetable patch taken care of so I can sink my teeth into my projects and still get a good harvest at the end of the day. And so now I’m a team.
Come again soon – many hands will make light work.
Sarah the Gardener : o)