Monday, December 12, 2016

Not Quite According To Plan

It was, like so many of my gardening activities, not planned.
My original project for the thirty-five degree Saturday morning was to burn up the last of the gasoline in my Toro mower to prepare it for its winter hibernation.  And since the mower would be running anyway I figured I would rake up the small amount of leaves that had shown up in my yard since our last late-November rake-a-thon and mulch them into the still unfrozen earth.
Then I would tie up the “dead man’ switch” on the mower to keep the motor running and go for a walk to get some real exercise.
The raking and mulching took about 15 minutes so I put the Toro on stationary auto-pilot and thought I would patrol the property to see if there were any last minute fine-tunings I could give my perennials before I bid them a restful cold season.  I found a few Rudbekia stalks to cut down and some dried out ferns to trim – 5 more minutes.
 I continued my walkabout along the southern border of my yard where I noticed two small Maple trees growing up in the midst of our boundary Arborvitae – the existence of both saplings having been hidden by Hosta and other plants during the growing season.
Ever alert for an opportunity to use my pruning saw I retrieved my favorite landscaping tool and wormed my way into the area under the white cedars and began cutting away.  Potential exercise – but still not enough to curtail my walk.  Until I got up and caught my stocking cap and sweatshirt sleeve on two pricker branches that had also wormed their own way in amongst the trees.
I cut them off with my hand pruners and then noticed that – because of the time of year – I actually had a fairly unobstructed entry point to the base of the spike-stemmed perennial that has long been a literal thorn-in-my-side during my gardening labors in that area.
 So, forty-five minutes later – and (remarkably) with no skin punctures or torn clothing – I had my large trash bin filled to the brim with sharply barbed branches.  And, in spite of the cold temperature I had worked up a minor sweat and satisfied my need for working out.
The greatest joys in life are unrehearsed – but not totally unintentional.

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