Heat plus rain plus epic weeds = “Jungle Gardening”

Those who work their land will have plenty of food, but those who follow worthless pursuits have no sense. – Proverbs 12:11

Yesterday morning, aware that I have been more than a little behind on yard work, I set out to deal with both gardens – here at Maul-Hall and my parents’ next door. If you’re not sure how much work that involved I’ll put it in Fitbit terms: Tuesday I totaled 30,255 steps and over 14.1 miles.

My parents’ back garden had, essentially, turned into a jungle. I probably should have seen it coming, but things got away from me much faster than anticipated. Lots of rain plus high temperatures translated into the perfect growing environment for weeds. At the same time this has been a brilliant year for flowers and flowering shrubs, so I really can’t complain.

“Natural” area:

Then, amazed at how much pine straw has fallen this month (the heat and the rain), I decided to rake it up and upgrade the mud path through the “natural” area to one made of mulch. Note: the concept of a “natural” area means essentially the part of the yard we are unwilling to work in. Rebekah’s designation sounds more redemptive: “Giving the garden back to God.”

It always surprises me to realize how much I enjoy a hard day’s work in the garden. But I never go into it that way; it’s not like I ever finish breakfast in the summer and say, “Hmm, it’s already 90-degrees out; this looks like the kind of a day I would enjoy sweating in the garden for four or five hours. Maybe if I’m lucky I can get some blisters and put my back out too…”

But there it was, three o’clock in the afternoon and way past time to quit, and – though I had only achieved less than a third of what needs to be done – I was very much satisfied with my work.

What I suspect is that, as part of this recalibration we call retirement, I am going to be spending more time outside, looking after the two adjacent properties. At least while I am able.

At the same time a huge part of me is looking forward to that day when we will sell off our big two-home slice of this quiet cul-de-sac, and move to some maintenance-free home with a patio, a container garden, and less home-owner hassle.

Until then – has anyone got any Bengay…?

– DEREK

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