Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sprouting Seeds and Fishing for Pigs

Right now my living room is not just a living room. It is also a staging zone for dozens of little seeds and plants that are waiting for a frost free month to go outside. Right now, I have two kinds of peppers, three kinds of heirloom tomatoes, red cabbage, and leeks in seed trays. Everything but the leeks has a few seedlings up. The leeks are actually late. I misread the package, and never growing them before, didn't realize I should have started them in February. Oh well, we will see if they will do alright anyways. With the garden being tilled now...I will probably start carrots, spinach, and lettuce this week.

My son is surprisingly unhelpful with seeds. Plants he loves. You give him a plant, especially a bulb, and he will water it until it drowns. I have to watch him with watering cans. He is very protective of his plants, deadheading and removing dead bits of leaves. I ask him if he wants to help plant seeds inside though, and it's "No thanks, I'm going to play". Maybe seeds are boring. They are tiny, and usually beige or black, and he can think of many more things he would rather do than than stick little specks in toilet paper tubes.

He was very excited about twine, I might add. On a recent trip to the store, I bought some twine for my garden. He practically got down on his knees and begged me for some of his own. I relented, as long as he promised not to tie anything up without asking me. His first task was to 'fish' for guinea pigs.

Edith the pig is intrigued.

Perhaps just a little taste...
Dang...it got away again. "I'm not that stupid," she seems to say.
My son decided it would be more fun to play fishing with stuffed animals.

Tomorrow we are going to retrieve my compost bin from my old house. I couldn't take it when we moved in November. It was filled with uncomposted leaves and yard clippings. I didn't know where I'd put it in the new yard, and we had so many things to move anyway. After the winter, it will be more decayed, and I am taking a bunch of 5 gallon buckets to fill up and put in my van. The house belongs to his family, and they didn't have a problem with me keeping it there over the winter. I also hope to get my daffodils. That was something I couldn't get in the fall either, and I will transplant them into pots and bring them home. Here's to hoping that compost getting will be a lot less eventful (and painful) than garden tilling.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tilling the Garden...or, Why I Feel like I Got Run Over By a Truck

My guy says he feels like someone beat him up. I feel that way too. I even look that way, because of the half dollar size bruises on the front of my thighs, (just the size of the tiller handles). The tilling experience ended well, but was a nightmare throughout. Let's see, how did it all start?

Thursday: Gardenmom considers having to drive to Nevada to get a tiller first thing Saturday morning, and fight with other would-be tillers. Hmmmm...she decides to rent one from Home Depot. However, the Iowa One Call people have not yet shown up to mark the lines...so all may be in vain.

Friday: Gardenmom spends the day worrying about whether the Iowa One Call guy will show up before it is time to go to the Home Depot. A call home reveals this HAS happened. Gardenmom goes with her son to Home Depot and proceeds to rent a tiller. This seems to be a good idea because: 1) It is cheaper than the hardware store in Nevada 2) I have to be in Des Moines anyway on Friday because of work, and 3) I have to come back to Des Moines on Saturday to drop off my son. The two older dudes working in the tool rental section tell me that I can only rent smaller tillers because the bigger ones won't fit in my van. They recommend one that seems an adequate size. To make sure, I ask one, "This is fine to till up a garden right?" He says, "Yeah...should be plenty." So we take the tiller home.

Saturday: Gardenmom wakes up excitedly in anticipation of tilling day. I tell my son that it is like Christmas for mommy, and he just shakes his head and grins like I'm stupid. My guy gets up to do the tilling. This is his job I have decided. It is how he will show his love for me, by using his manly strength to push the tiller around the yard. And he will make up for not helping me with the dishes for the last 6 months. We get out to the yard and he starts her up. The tines start spinning and he lowers it into the ground. And nothing happens. The tines circulate against the ground like it is giving it a nice massage. The worst it is doing is making little pencil lines in the dirt and fluffing up dead grass. My guy makes several unhelpful comments about the tiller's lack of male parts and shuts it off.

Saturday (Part 2): Everyone piles in the van and speeds to Nevada. I then proceed to rent the much HUGER tiller from the hardware store. This one definately possesses the parts my guy was mentioning earlier. We put this in the van and speed back home. Now...over an hour later, we are out in the yard again...ready to start tilling again... This one definately works, but tearing up new sod takes a long time. After 2 or more hours, we are only through half the size I wanted. My guy is getting ready to quit because he has to get ready for work. I am about ready to cry, because I have already paid to rent TWO tillers, neither of which finished the work in the time I had. So, even though I did not want to have to do this, I am forced to till. I didn't think I was strong enough to run the thing. I manage to hold on to it enough to keep it in the ground and from running away, but I cannot push it forward. This is where the large bruises come in. I figured out I had enough leg and back strength to haul the thing backward to move it, instead of pushing it. I do this for about an hour, and get almost all of the area I wanted done.

This is the pansy tiller.

Saturday (Part 3): Now, the race begins. I super-speed-wash both tillers with the hose, trying to fend off my son who wants to spray it, too. I finish just in time to have my guy help me load both of them into the back of my van. Take THAT, stupid Home Depot guy. I speed back to Nevada, to drop off tiller number 2. Then, I speed down to Des Moines, to drop off tiller number 1. There is a different older dude working today, who fortunately possesses more common sense than the previous dudes. After I explain what happened, he offers to refund my money. Thanks cool Home Depot guy! Then, I drop my son off with his dad, and race back home again to do a whole bunch of other stuff.

What is the moral of this story? Maybe, Tim Allen said it best..."(Insert male hooting noise) MORE POWER!...." Or...maybe don't ever try to do anything to save time, because something undoubtedly will get screwed up and you will spend even MORE time than originally planned. Whatever it is...all I know is that I have my garden, and that I can't raise my arms above my waist.
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