As my age advances….. so do the muscular aches and pains that come with hard physical work. Two pieces of hard work that I am now re-considering are
1. spring/fall housecleaning and 2. hard physical gardening.
This is a defeat for me….me, who has always loved doing the hard work of digging, planting seeds, transplanting things….caring for the flower and vegetable gardens I have had in abundance. Now I am considering having the raspberries mowed down…I am tired of fussing with them and their old canes, nasty weeds, picking in hot humid biting insect weather….the only pleasant thing about raising raspberries is eating them fresh…often with half- and- half poured over them. That is the best part and it is hard to contemplate giving up.
I desperately still want to have fresh garden carrots, green beans and tomatoes—and green peppers. But, I tell myself there are garden markets and those 10 pound boxes of frozen big red raspberries I can get from my daughter in law’s buying club.
I have given up on the container gardening I have tried; the yields are just no good compared to planting in a real garden plot. So now I have to decide what to do with all that soil I put into container gardens. My muscles will not take too much of removing that from the containers.
My cousin says that getting older is not for sissies and I am at the sissy stage of my muscular and “tendon-al” life.
Things hurt from doing almost nothing. I want to go outside so badly and do all the things I used to do so easily…but it is no longer easy.
I have dug up some pesky quack grass from a few spots where it is invading my tulip bed…then I saw that the rabbits have been at my tulip leaves and I am fit to be tied! I just looked up “homemade rabbit repellent” and will probably mix up some of the suggested recipes; I have to get some tobasco sauce and cayenne pepper first but I could try the egg-milk-garlic combo for starters. I have all those ingredients in my regrigerator and I am ready to lower the boom on the bunnies who are feasting on the tulip leaves. I cannot stay up all night with an infra- red light and a .22 rifle so I better try the home made concoctions. Darn those bunnies! They are so cute and furry but as tulip eaters they are ugly critters.
Rabbits have never bothered the tulips before so something has changed.
Spring/Fall Housecleaning is going to go the way of the hard physical gardening…for the same reasons: My sissy muscles and tendons.
When I was teaching full time for many years, I would finish off the rigorous jobs of closing down a schoo library, taking inventories of various library materials, cleaning my back room (“it’s my mess and I love it” said the poster on the back room door. I should have made another poster for that particular door: “I know where EVERYTHING is!!!!!”) My library para and I did KNOW where everything was in the back room no matter how chaotic it became as the schoolyear advanced. Now just like my infamous “backroom” that had to take a back seat for neatness, my spring housecleaning has to go that route also. When I would get home from the final teacher workshop days ..often extended for me due to the many jobs of closing down for summer…I would immediately start in on the housecleaning….shelves, walls,cupboards, closets…the whole stinkin’ house! I was at it for all of June in those days coupled with trying to do the gardening I had no time for all of May. My good friend and I would talk about each of our “cleaning ladies” whose names were both “June”. We cleaned our houses for the month of June! Now I think I must have been crazy—or else I had a lot more strength, endurance and energy and that is most likely.
Now I really do not give a hoot if I do housecleaning like I used to do…..the house stays pretty nice without it ….I just take a swipe at things as I go by sometimes….swipe with a dustcloth here and there if I can see dust; give the parts of the kitchen a little wet-mop if my feet start to stick; take a swipe with a wet dishcloth if something is running down the refrigerator door or oven door or a cupboard door.
Peg Bracken, an author from the 1960′s called this “Bad Housekeeping” and wrote a book advising uptight housekeepers to adopt the habit of haphazard housekeeping. I thought it was humorous when I read it then; now it sounds really practical and probable.
Hard housework is for people who are not in their seventh decades of life. Hard gardening is not for those folks either.
But can I enjoy the spring, summer and fall without falling into my bad old habits of being uptight about housecleaning and gardening?
It is not going to be easy. Old habits die hard regarding those particular issues,
Now I hve been resting up after the early morning digging and cleaning forays in the perennial beds; I think I will take an Aleve and go outside and dig up that Russian sage plant I want to move to the west side of the garden patch……
wait a minute…what am I doing??????