Sunday, February 8, 2009

Can gardening really be fun?

When I was younger there was one chore that I hated above all others....yard work. I absolutely despised having to work in the yard. It wasn't the mowing that bothered me because quite frankly a lawn mower is just a big loud power tool and who doesn't love power tools! No it wasn't the mowing, it was the raking! Why oh why did we have to rake? And it wasn't a little bit of raking, we had a BIG yard which equalled a LOT of grass to rake. I couldn't understand the point of raking and, in fact, I refuse to rake my own yard now (instead I set the mower to mulch and just deal with it). Now before you start to think that I was a poor, overworked child, let me assure you that I wasn't. I had my usual set of chores to do and parent's who were fun and never unreasonable. Plus my dad decided one year that instead of a raise he would have someone come and do our yard for us so the raking stopped before I hit my teens. Still the hatred of raking stayed with me and spilled over to include all sorts of yard work including any kind of gardening. I was utterly confused by anyone (my mom included) who seemed to actually like spending time in the yard. I didn't see the appeal of backbreaking work all for a few flowers that would die anyway.

And then I bought a house.

One of the deal-breakers in my search for a house was that I had to have a fenced in backyard for my dog. I found myself looking at homes with BIG yards and small yards and settled on my "House of Dreams" which had the perfect sized yard for me and my Schnauzer. Knowing that I was going to buy a house with a yard I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to do some yard work. I knew it came with the territory, and since I already had my "no raking" policy in place I was okay with it. The House of Dreams in all of it's sad neglected glory had two flower beds in the front yard that were horribly overgrown. Almost immediately after moving in I decided that all of the shrubbery had to go and I set about doing a total demolition to the front yard. Imagine my surprise when I found that I LIKED it! I liked pulling out all of the old stuff and picking out just the right flowers and shrubs. I liked weeding the beds, and mowing the yard. I found myself feeling closer to my mom since we now had something in common (that she didn't share with my sister)! Gardening was fun, I was one of those people who enjoyed wandering the flower section of the home improvement store. And even though my "no raking" policy remained firmly in place, I found myself thoroughly enjoying all of the time I spent in my flowerbeds.

Then came the RA and my new found love of gardening, turned into yet another activity that I was entirely incapable of doing because of my joints. All of the plans I had made for my backyard fell by the wayside and I gave up the idea of being able to landscape the way I wanted to. However, I was happily able to start working outside again this week after many, many, many months of inactivity, and a lot of medication. Now with Spring just around the corner I am once again looking forward to playing in the dirt. While it's true that I have to work a lot slower than I would in the past, I'm thankful that I can at least keep working!

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