Monday, March 11, 2013

I blame MacGyver

YA KNOW…there are things I do that, in retrospect, I look at and just kind of…shake my head, tiredly, and shrug, and wonder aloud what I’m going to do with myself because, really now…why?

SUCH AS finding myself with a bunch of terracotta pots I’d like to use to start some broccoli, and I have nowhere inside to do this, but we’re still in the time of year where we ‘boomerang’ a lot, temperature-wise.

It was 43 degrees when I left the house this morning. It was 74 when I got home half an hour ago, 69 now, and on its way to  a guesstimated low of 44 tonight. California: We ARE a desert state.

It isn’t actually the 40-somethings that worry me – it’s the occasional, usually abrupt, dips further down that tend to kill off things I try to start outside this time of year.

Which is why I found myself wishing I had some kind of greenhouse-ish thing I could use, YOU know, something with a cover (and not weed cover because that, I’ve got), and then I could use the old ‘milk jugs full of water’ trick to bump up the temperature just a bit if I needed to and waitaminute, gimmie that busted-up old white plastic patio table, and also one of the sprinkler-type end-of-line deals…oh, and the clippers, AND the clicker (which is what we say when we mean ‘a fire starter with a trigger’)…

…aaaaaaand, uh, that plastic thing that came off that broken thing, YA, PERFECT! {RUSTLE-RUSTLE-RUSTLE-clip-ffffffffst-shove-hold-two-three-four-five-six-SET!-tug-tug-TIE-TIE}…


(What you can’t see here is, I insulated the underside of the table with a combination of newspaper, really old felt, some filthy wool batting I found lying around, aaaaand I’m not actually sure what-all else because I was just sort of grabbing random stuff at that point to make it thicker.) (It is a sickness, people, a SICKNESS…) (Oh, and, I use the clicker to gently warm up the cut end of the drip hose; it’s slightly tricky the first couple times, but once you get the hang of it [pronounced: quit MELTING the hose] it’s a really fast and easy thing to do, and it makes it a lot easier to get the drip dealies into the line [particularly for those of us with achy hands that like to go all weak at the worst possible moments], and then if you put a little pressure on the softened hose as it cools back down, it makes an excellent seal that is less likely to be dripping water where you don’t want it to go.)

I totally blame MacGyver for this kind of thing. Even though to be honest, I almost never actually watched the show back in the day, it just sort of imbued the American psyche or something. And now I do things like amuse myself in waiting rooms by thinking of fifteen ways I could use objects in the room to simultaneously ward off a terrorist attack, inform the President of the plot, survive the Zombpocalypse, repair a broken pair of sandals and put together a three course meal for six people.

Or put together extremely odd looking contraptions out of things that arguably should have gone to the city dump months or even years ago, but which we kept either ‘in case’ or due to sheer inertia until I suddenly decided I had a use for them again.

It is how we roll.

Anyway! In other news, I am about as sore as I have ever been in my whole, pathetic life right now! Because in other other news, I finally wandered out into the yard to see what the lay of the land was.

And mostly, it lay like this.


Every year, I go through this.


And every year, I say to myself, firmly, “NEXT YEAR, I SHALL NOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN!!” And I make all sorts of plans whereby, in no more than a few minutes a week!, I shall maintain order throughout the winter yea verily right through the coldest, most-frozen months!, I will stay on top of this and there shall not be the annual weeping and gnashing of teeth over the waist-high weeds, leftover dead-things I never cleaned up after the first “surprise” frost, etc. etc. etc.

And I fully believe that I will, too.

But then winter happens. And I go out one or two times in defiance of the cold, and my hands and/or hips and/or knees go into Super Tilt mode and then I say welllllll, OK, it’s a LITTLE too cold for this today, I’ll just table it for now and pick it up next weekend when it’s sunnier…at which point I have not merely taken a step onto that slippery slope, but flung my cardboard down on it and done a running-start belly-flop onto it while screaming “COWABUNGA!!!!!!” at the top of my lungs.

Possibly while wearing cut offs and a tank top.

Which are the absolute best attire for cardboard sledding down a slippery hill. Because you get the coolest, most long-lasting scars that way, which makes the storytelling later totally awesome.

But I digress.

Mind you, it wouldn’t really matter all that much if I did get out there every weekend all winter; the weeds don’t start coming up until right around the first of March, and then they don’t come up slowly but rather in a way that defies all logic.

One minute, there’s just enough to make you go, “Huh. I’m going to have to get out there and deal with that soon…”, and the next weekend bam! You’re at tigers-could-be-living-in-it-for-all-we-know levels of weed encroachment.

Fortunately, I had a couple volunteers for the first bit.

(The shorter one was in it because he realized that since his turn on the computer was to start ‘after I’ve finished weeding out here,’ it was in his best interest to hurry things along. Well played, sir.)

As we cleared weeds, we found that some of the seeds from the last planting had over-wintered, sharpened their elbows and gotten into the game.

After we’d cleared that bed, my forces withdrew to amuse themselves with things like games and homework (the tall one has a ludicrous amount of that), and I continued on to this.

NOW, as I started diligently working my way down this fence, I looked at the delicate fronds you can see in the bottom left foreground there and thought to myself, wow…I wonder what THOSE are, they look EXACTLY like carrots!

And that was because…


CHECK THIS OUT. This is after I’d removed all the weeds.

I have no idea how they got there. None. I suspect that what we’re seeing here is the result of a packet of seeds getting blown off the patio table, and then scattered down the fence line; I know I didn’t plant them there, because most of them are waaaaaaay too close to the cement (and therefore pretty far from the drip line), and are incredibly random in placement; there are also just a few spread out into this little bed, and even a couple right up against the fence.

Really feels like a wind-sow to me. Particularly given this.

Uh-huh. On the left side, too. Got to have been some Seeds Gone Wild action. {Insert ‘sowing wild $plant’ joke of choice here.}

And I’ll take it, because this time of year, I’ll take anything I can get, really; we’ve got a few carrots I “stored” in the ground over the winter, and some onions that could be pulled early and used in a pinch, but overall…this is the hardest time of year in terms of gratification.

A lot of this.

Not so much of this.

(This was a few weeks ago. The lemon tree was feeling enthusiastic again this year. I swear, if I show that tree any kindness, give it even half the recommended fertilizer and a passing nod in the general direction of correct pruning care, it goes nuts like this.)

Last year really wasn’t a particularly good one for the garden. We had some ugly pest invasions, a lot of water issues (broken valves, leaking pipes, drips-that-don’t-drip, etc.), me working too many hours (and then being so damned tired that suggestions about the garden needing to be looked to resulted in snarling and/or snapping and/or heavy sighing and vague grumbling but no action taken) and so forth and so on.

I have high hopes for this year, as long as my body can keep up with the demands being put on it; it’s really protesting this weekend’s endeavors, and pitching quite a childish fit about it to boot. It’s actually pretty funny to watch me trying to do things like, say, get out of bed in the morning, or get out of a chair after I’ve been sitting for a while.

Which reminds me. I’ll bet I could totally engineer myself a set of handrails for our bathroom out of PVC left over from the last ‘reroute all the sprinklers’ adventure…


CeltChick said...

You are certifiably nuts...but you know I mean that in a good way, right? I blame my Mom for my total lack of interest in gardening; digging up that monster rhubarb pretty much killed my inner farmer. I suspect you need to learn to pace yourself, or train your helpers a bit more rigorously!

Anonymous said...

I think you are amazing! I look forward every year to see what you will do with your garden. We are in the LA area and doing as much gardening that we can. The fact that you work full time, have 4 great kids and you still manage to do everything else you do just amazes me. Makes me feel lazy too :). Thanks for sharing and I hope you feel better!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the great laugh during my lunch at my desk at work. I love reading and identifying with your adventures in the garden. Yep, been there, done that, but never so eloquently. Thanks!
NancyFP in Ferndale

Colleen Mole said...

Just when I was going to ask you what ever happened to all that orange stuff the hubby bought...I see it hasn't gone far :)
Not to worry. It wouldn't have moved at my house either.
Score carrots!