Sunday, August 10, 2014

Can I whine a little?

Summer is past its peak and I feel a little whiny.

1. For some reason I was appointed Main Gardening Person in our household for this year. Usually it's been Art, who has a "random hopeful" planting style. He's the one who usually waters in the morning or evening and does the weeding. This year it was mine. Really, I have no idea how that happened. And I can tell you that, as of August 10, I'm pretty sick of the whole thing.
  • I did so much squatting and twisting (watering strawberries and vegetables in raised beds) that I strained my piriformis muscle. I limped. Continued watering strained several shoulder muscles. For two weeks I had to sleep on my back, my right arm on a pillow at my side, my shoulder cradled by an ice pack. Once my shoulder healed, my piriformis spoke up again. Should I get combat pay for a summer garden?
  • I planted too much lettuce and too many green beans. Tonight I took out all the yellowing bean plants with their overripe pods. I'm thinking if we eat lettuce madly over the next few days we may be able to assuage our guilt. I hate throwing away food we haven't eaten. Especially after all that watering.
  • We have about 100 bunches of grapes refusing to ripen. Today I read it's sometimes because they aren't getting enough sun. So I pruned the overhanging grape branches (?) to lighten up the space where the grapes are. I hope I didn't kill off next year's growing material.
  • The apples on our tree don't look nearly as nice as the ones in the supermarket. Some of them have funny marks or blotches. I looked up apples on the internet and I think they're just "real live" apples, since they don't appear to have any of the diseases I saw illustrated online.
  • Some of the squash plants in the Three Sisters garden have that gray fuzzy stuff on their leaves that looks like mildew. I've had to take out several of the plants. All that watering, even being careful not to water the tops of the leaves. 
  • Tomorrow I'm supposed to plant more beets and radishes and carrots and winter squash. Right now it seems like such an effort! I'd rather be sitting in my Adirondack chair with my eyes closed.
  • A garden past its peak is not a pretty thing.
I had a talk with Art tonight. I said next year I'd like the garden to be a joint project between us. He said, "I'll think about it."

Boo, hiss.

2. I have been mostly off sugar since May 1. I had this idea I'd drop a bunch of pounds and inches and that hasn't happened. Granted, I feel much sturdier mood-wise, but I wish I were thinner (and younger!). I probably should have watched the fat and carbs also. I can still do that.

3. It's blackberry season. I went picking last weekend and it was very satisfying. By today, though, others have found my spot and the spiders have set up their webs right in front of the juiciest, ripest clusters of fruit. You either have to get spiderwebs in your eyes and hair or bypass the berries. Neither is a really good idea.

4. I am watching our children raise their children, and I am pretty good at minding my own business. Occasionally I will say, "I have an opinion on that issue. If you'd like to hear it, let me know." And you know what? They're hardly every interested in hearing my opinion! Right now I have strong opinions about three of our grandchildren, and I am not saying anything (except I tell Art, who tells me it's none of my business). How I wish I could say something they'd hear!

5. I remember a time when I'd wake up in the morning and nothing would hurt. And I took it for granted. How stupid of me! I still hope for days when my body feels young - even if just for an hour - but I have a feeling that's not going to happen to a woman who will be 66 next month. I hope I can be a good sport, at least.

I know these are pretty "First World" complaints. But every now and then I just need to let them out.


Teresa Evangeline said...

One of the dirty secrets of gardening is that it can be hard on the body. I have cut waaaay back for that reason. I'll let younger folks do it and pay them for their dedication by buying the fruits of their labor. I simply cannot do what I once did, even three years ago. Give yourself permission to let some things go and enjoy life.

Olga said...

I hear you loud and clear!
I plant a garden one year and get so discouraged that I vow I will never do that again. I support the local farmers' markets for a fe years, but then the garden bug hits again.
While my vegetables are mostly feeding critters, I have to put in a plug for Feldenkrais. I have been taking a group class and have really noticed a tremendous difference--no aches and pains from garden work. The are very subtle exercises, but I have found them truly effective.
So how much great advise did we get when we were raising our families? And how much of it did we appreciate getting? Or use? We both know we need to just suck it up on this one, but what a waste of hard won wisdom all the same!

DJan said...

We have that same mold on our squash plants, too. I haven't worried about it because the zucchini plants still produce way too much. I like my little community garden patch of 7x23 feet. Not too much, not too little. And I still get pretty tired of weeding and watering. All my lettuce bolted and I planted some more last month, because I sure do enjoy it. :-)

Bonnie said...

Oh, honey, can I ever relate! Gardenig here in Arizona is masochistic! None of my squash set fruit and the tomatoes were destroyed by birds. All I have left is some sad looking basil. The aches and pains getting up every morning are something I wish I could "pick off" and throw away!

Rosaria Williams said...

Gardening can wear you down! And lift your spirits as well. We've never had a summer without zucchini; but this is the one time when no zucchini will grow. Yet, it is warmer, though windier than usual. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

I'm not good at gardening so I buy all my produce at the farmer's market or Whole Foods or get it in our csa box. I leave certain things to the experts. Food production is definitely one of those things. Car repairs, same thing.

As for the grandchildren, I hear you, but that's not who you want to listen! Maybe some day your kids will take your advice, but don't hold your breath.

Arkansas Patti said...

Ah but does anything taste better than fresh picked produce?
I can relate to that pain thing. Now days I weigh the degree of pain as to whether is a good day or not so good one. We do tend to adjust however and usually find all sorts of coping tools.

Linda Reeder said...

It sounds like the dog days of August to me. It's not a month for much gardening. Harvesting, yes. Mildew happens. Lettuce bolts. Beans shrivel. Everything and everyone gets tired and goes to see a little bit.
This too shall pass.

Lester said...

Linda,...I think there is primorial urge within us to greaden. I satisfy it by carefully choosing 3 or 4 very bizzare things to TRY to grow. (Anything I want to eat, I can buy) A federally endangered native plant is a good choice. Something that doesn't grow in your state is another. Currently I;m trying to grow a pinon tree in SC. They grow like weed in NM. The nice thing about this strategy is that you have very little work - only 3 or 4 things.

Sasha + Saku said...

I don't grow veg at all, just a number of containers of flowers. About this time of year, I get tired of the watering, deadheading, and weeding. It would be nice to have fresh veg but I suspect the neighbourhood bunnies would get the most of it.

As for the aches and pains, my dad (who lived to be 98) used to say, getting old ain't for sissies.

Hope the gardening injuries heal quickly.

Madeline Kasian said...

I found that I like the "idea" of gardening but not the actual thing itself.The veggies all get ripe ALL AT ONE TIME!! A lot of the plants die on me. I can't get the hang of it.Thank goodness for Sprouts and farmer's markets!

Aches and pains..well, I am glad when I at least get one or two weeks in between body part pains. I had a BAD knee/ITB band issues for 3 weeks, found exercises that fixed it.Had two good weeks, now,like you, I have a SHOULDER ISSUE..from hauling bags at the airport. Will do all the things I mentioned to you, to feel better.

I keep trying to get more flexible.. it just seems my body has its own ideas most of the time..

Deb Shucka said...

If you bundle this post with the one just before it, they paint a picture of a good, healthy life being lived by a complex, mindful woman. :-)

Janette said...

I hear you!
This year I planted one tomato and one red pepper plant. I have tended both. I am now eating five to seven tomatoes a day and one pepper a week. Works for me :)
I have decided I cannot keep up with the grass in flower beds. I was pulling from my flower gardens until I ran into a snake. Agggg!

Sally Wessely said...

I like what Deb said. She is right. Gardening can be the most irritating thing we can ever do with our time. I feel that way about vegetable gardening especially. It also can be so rewarding. Gardening teaches you that you have no control over things. It also hurts your back and other parts of your body, but I do love it.

As for families, well, I have a lot I'd like to say. I have a very hard time minding my own business.

Dee said...

Dear Linda, I think it's healthy to complain at times and get it out into the open and out of the mind where the words just take on a gloomier hue.

I can remember in the convent a nun in the infirmary saying to me, "Sister Innocence, pray for good health." I was all of 23 and thought what a funny thing to pray for when there are so many more important things. NOW I appreciate what this older nun was saying! Peace.

b+ (Retire In Style Blog) said...


Getting if off your chest is a good thing...gardening should be fun and if the plants don't cooperate pull them up. If you cannot use everything don't worry. They will make good compost. Don't plant beets or lettuce unless you really want too.

As for the grandchildren...good luck with that. My daughter tells me it is not my responsibility so I try to be quiet. Darn!

Be well and tell Art "HI!"


Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

I keep thinking I want to grow a few herbs and vegetables, but the spaces where I once did that have gone to weed, or to bleeding hearts that spread like weeds. I have a new expression for minding my own business: "Not my circus. Not my monkeys." Say it often enough and it takes on meaning unique to you.

Gayle said...

First time to visit your blog. Thank you for this post. Especially the 'it's none of my business' but I tell Art and he says 'it's none of my business. I laughed out loud.