I’m beat. The only part of my body that doesn’t ache is my hair. My back, my knees, my hips, my shoulders, my elbows. Even my fingers ache. My nails aren’t too pretty either. Despite brushes and lavish amounts of lather, they are dried and stained with the good earth outside my door. I just can’t keep out of it. Never could.
Every year, I vow not to do it again. After the winter months have turned my muscles into mashed potatoes, I swear I am not going to commit to digging out my vegetable garden patch to get it up and running again. It’s all just too much with everything else that needs doing this time of year. I promise not to spend Memorial Day weekend in the yard weeding, mulching, splitting, transplanting, fertilizing, digging, watering, pruning, planting, trimming, mowing and generally half-killing myself. I am not 20 years old, for pete’s sake. I don’t have boundless reservoirs of energy. There are other, less violent ways to wake my body up after its long winter’s nap.
But here I am, sitting with a big glass of water, completely, totally, thoroughly spent. I invited my friend over for dinner last night and just about fell asleep by 8:30. Fortunately, she is the gracious type (and sore from her own gardening efforts), so she left shortly after she realized I was a goner for the evening.
It all started a few weeks ago, after confessing to my mother that I was not going to work the vegetable garden this year. She said, too bad; that stuff is so good, but you really have to listen to what you really want to do. Besides, there is that great Farmer’s Market on Saturdays during the summer; it’s so easy to get fresh vegetables there. So I went out to the patch in the back yard to see what was involved in pulling up the wire fence to keep the deer out and letting it go to grass. I picked up a large branch and cleared some leaves from a damp corner.
What’s this? A patch of bright green struggling its way to the light. Having made it through a long season of ice and snow, not to mention a certain benign neglect from the gardener of last year, it was flat leaf parsley, with its unmistakable palm waving at me like a shipwrecked survivor. After all it had gone through, I couldn’t betray it now! Maybe I’ll just let the parsley grow then and leave it at that.
What’s this over here? Mint, already creeping behind my back to take over the spot where the basil grew last year. Ah…fresh basil with its clove-licorice scent. How I adore those melt-in-your mouth, buttery leaves with roasted peppers and a good mozzarella. Maybe I’ll just get one or two of those and THEN, leave it at that.
Remember the green beans? They were easy and fun to pick. Nothing better than snappy fresh green beans with a little fresh lemon and butter melted over them. And oh, how I love the warm tangy wine of a REAL vine-ripened tomato dripping from my chin. Last year’s crop included some very successful volunteer plants. Yea, they were really good.
Maybe…if I move the trumpet vine out of the way, it will free up that corner for that pretty bi-colored sage I saw last week; if I pull out this invasion of mint from this side, it will open up that side for cilantro (love it in guacamole). A squash plant or two or three would fit over here and climb the fence. If I dig out the compost bin, I could mix it with the soil already here; that would liven it up a little; wow—look at all these great worms. Let’s get these leaves out of here; let me just first go get the wheel barrel and the rake and the hoe and the shovel and the….
Sigh. I did it again.