How not to do a project

Garden projects are usually pretty straight forward, you got dirt and you got stuff that goes either in or on it.  Sometimes it gets elaborate with fancy structures, but for the most part we’re all just farmers scratching out a hole and putting in a seed.  This weekend was good weather for that with temperatures perfectly positioned between numb finger lows and dripping sweat highs….. good work weather, and the plan was to order mulch, top a couple beds off, and make my suburban beds sparkle with neatness and weed-free goodness.  Except the mulch wouldn’t be in until next Wednesday.  Normally that would have wrecked the weekend project,but trust me there’s always a backup, and this one came in the form of a long narrow box which greeted me at the door Friday afternoon, a box containing my NEW!”liberty” apple! and three bareroot gooseberry bushes.  New project: plant fruit garden.

I should have prepped things Friday but it was rainy and cold.  Plus I was tired, crabby, lazy…. you name it…..  better to get a good night’s rest and then tackle these things in the morning.  So first thing Saturday I got right to it.  First I wasted about an hour on the computer (always necessary).  Then those little guys that live here woke up and it was coloring and cutting, then I was required to admire about 10 thousand crayon butterflies and angry birds, then the little people started crying for breakfast.  One wanted bacon, one wanted french toast., one wanted to help crack the eggs, one insisted on buttering all the toast… then of course the fifth wave of cleanup… thousands of little bits of cut paper, but I did have to congratulate myself this time for not suggesting the paints.

Planting fruit trees always sounds easier in the books, and they never mention the crayon part.  It was about midafternoon before I finally got around to taking a look at the box… but there was still something haunting me.  Shovel in hand I stared at the stupid pre-formed pond that I dragged out of the woods last year.  It was basically a project that never worked out for my brother in law and somewhere along the line I became convinced it would work out better for me.  Early photo records go back to June of last year when I first began mowing around it.  mandevilla on deck railingGenerally speaking I hate pre-formed ponds.  I have no idea why I need to put it to use, especially since I have a brand new liner that’s been sitting in the garage just waiting for the last decade for a hole to line.  Why do I have to use this ugly, leaky piece of tossed-aside trash?  I don’t know, but I digress…. we’re planting trees here.

So I grabbed the shovel again and started digging the hole for the pond.digging a hole for preform pond liner

The first couple inches were no problem.  It’s the clay-ish topsoil that was spread when the house was built 40-ish years ago.  The gravelly, shale filled, hard pack underneath is always where my digging ends.  Rather than pick-axe my way through and finish the job, I took a break and proceeded to patch up the cracks  that had formed in three of the liner corners.  Turns out that an upside down pond insert sitting around in your yard for nearly a year is a magnet for small children to climb on and jump upon.  Jumping on them cracks the liner.  So long story short I patched the corners and started with the pick axe again, only this time with mittens because all my fingers were glued together during the patching process.

There’s a plastic chair next to the project site.  Any good project needs “thinking time” to sit back and review your progress, and I had already spent a lot of the afternoon in this position.  Things probably would have gone much better if there was more progress to review, but pick-axing holes sucks.  Plus for the past two years I’ve celebrated each spring with a nice hospital stay due to A-fib relapses, so maybe this would be a good time to call it a day.  Off to the recliner I went for more “thinking time” and to regroup for Sunday.  The tree is still in the box, but at least there were no 16 year old sons here, slipping feet off brakes and running F-250 pickup trucks into garage corners.   Spending a Sunday tree planting is much less work than the fun my neighbor will have putting the corner of his house back onto it’s foundation.

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