Sunday, November 24, 2013

"Hassle-Free" Gardening

A number of writers describe "hassle-free" gardening or "how to garden without work." I appreciate the thought, but question the premise, which brings two things to mind: (1) TANSTAAFL? "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." (2) President Clinton's statement, "It depends on how you define alone."

After watching a movie last night (Unfinished Sky), I struggled to my feet. Leaning over to fill the wood stove tempted me to call Karen for help. It's probably not a good idea to spend nearly two hours in one position after running a marathon or putting gardens to bed for the winter. Anticipating two fine days for writing inside a warm house had motivated me to pull up the garden covers.

Yesterday began humbly. Donkeys, unlike many farm animals, seem to care about their masters' convenience. As I transferred donkey piles onto my pickup, I thought it might be a useful exercise for pampered law students. Forced average grades of 3.5 may mislead them into thinking they're exceptional. "Nonsense," a professor told me, "It's just re-scaling; now a 3.0 is a 'D.'" "Phooey," said Virginia. "Grade inflation is like economic inflation. You'll have a hard time convincing today's retiree that a 0.5 percent return on her hard-earned portfolio is a 'B' in light of today's slowly-rising Consumer Price Index. It'll stay a 'D' or 'F' in her book based on her past experience."

I pulled weeds for an hour or so before investing the rest of the day in manure, wheat seeds (I know it's probably too late but they're infested and won't last much longer anyway), and mulch. The day warmed more than expected, ideal for this kind of work. Up, down, up, down for eight hours.

My general plan is to work outside on gorgeous days, inside when the weather is frightful, and both in and out at other times. This way, "work" becomes a relative term; it can become "play." This is one of my biggest bonuses for leaving the corporate rat race.

I must admit, though, that yesterday I got carried away. Hence, the sore muscles after watching Unfinished Sky. But today I can admire the result.
I also can look forward to spring, when planting my garden will be almost hassle-free. I'll simply push aside the mulch, pull a hoe through the soft warm soil, sow my seeds, and wait for them to sprout. I won't need to pull weeds, till, or wait for a long-enough dry spell to allow me to prepare the land for planting. Well, maybe a few weeds will tease me, but a few is "fun," not "work."

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