Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Gardening in the cold

The transition from summer into fall is often an awkward one for me. First of all, there is the need to adjust to the change from daylight savings time to standard time. This throws me for a loop every year: it takes me weeks to get used to this. And there is a double whammy involved with this: the days are rapidly getting shorter at this time of year, and for weeks I wander around the house at 6 P.M. looking out at the surrounding blackness and wondering if it’s time to go to bed. Oh, it’s only 6:30? I guess I’ll force myself to stay up longer. What, it’s only 7? What can I do to stay awake for a few more hours? By 8:30 it hardly matters what I’m doing: I start to nod off. It’s now early December and I’m still struggling with this.
The other challenge at this time of year is to make the daylight hours pay. The mornings are cold, and if the day is cloudy and there is no sun, it takes real will power to get out there and address the cold, damp earth. As long as I’m dressed properly, once I get started I’m usually happy. But getting started is sometimes a problem.
And then there is this: somewhere I read a story in which one character upbraided another character for his decision to hire a sixty-five year old gardener: “he’ll never get anything done” the one said. Well guess what? I’ve hired a sixty-five year old gardener. He’s the only one I can afford. He’s got good intentions, but to tell the truth he works very deliberately, does not take instruction well, is very stubborn and can be a bit cranky when things don’t go well. On the other hand, he’s very versatile, and if the outdoor work gets him down, he simply comes in and starts to write blog entries or waste the day drifting from one You Tube music video to another.

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