I was working in my garden and rather than pondering what I was supposed to be pondering (how to resurrect my novel), I came up with the following thoughts about yardwork:
1. It’s not that I hate it that much. I actually enjoy it, once I get started, especially if it’s dusk or the sprinklers have been on and the weeds slide easily out of the ground. It’s the things AROUND it that I hate. For example:
a. The clean-up. The dirty clothes. The clay stuck to the bottom of my shoes, which are probably my good shoes since I didn’t bother to change to gardening shoes. The dirt under my fingernails.
b. That I have no idea what I’m doing and am always just guessing.
c. The sneaky feeling that there has GOT to be an easier way to do whatever I’m doing, some secret that everyone else knows (how to keep weeds down, for example) and that I’ll never find out.
d. The feeling torn because the kids are in the house undoing whatever housework I accomplished yesterday and I’m outside enjoying the quiet. OR having to play slave-driver and listen to the whining if I make them work out there with me. (And, of course, most of them pull only the tops of the weeds and leave the roots so it’s fruitless anyway.) This is why it’s empty-nesters who are most likely to say they like gardening.
e. Biggest thing I hate about gardening: THE MONEY IT REQUIRES!!!!!! I hate, hate, hate to spend money on my yard. Somehow I got the wrong impression at one time in my life that a vegetable garden is a way of being thrifty. Oh, no, no, no. That would imply that my kids actually eat what I grow, and that I can’t get everything tons cheaper by shopping case-lot sales. If there’s something that truly is cheaper and better from my garden (tomatoes and squash is about it), I’ll grow it happily. But the rest—no way. And it’s even worse when we get into the yard itself. I can’t stand how expensive everything is (weed spray, mulch, plants, grass fertilizer, etc.). I got brave and asked the nice German couple in our ward whose yard always looks fantastic how much they spend per year on their yard and garden. His answer: “Oh, about $600.” !!!!!!! That, my friends, is why my yard looks lousy.
2. The pioneers had the right idea with their corn-husking bees and barn-raising parties. I propose a new cultural tradition: yardwork parties. What if a few families gathered on a Saturday morning in one person’s yard (oh, say, MINE) and worked for two hours on it. The time would fly by because we would all be together, having a grand old gossip. Then the host would give them all root-beer floats, and the group would re-convene at the next family’s house the next weekend. Why not? As I sat there pulling weeds today, I thought about how much I love to go to Café Rio with my friends and shoot the breeze for two hours. We could still get our chat in if we were pulling weeds instead of stuffing our faces, right? (Well, disregarding the children-fighting-throwing-rocks-whining-that-they’re-hungry-and-when-will-we-be-done factor.) I think it could work. In fact, being the selfless person that I am, I’d even volunteer to host the first one!