Two months into this project, I’ve learned 3 key lessons:
1. Being a pioneer is hard work. Dirty, grueling, get your hands dirty hard work.
2. Being a pioneer takes a lot of patience. Like, a lot. More than I have some days.
3. Being a pioneer is pretty damn expensive, particularly when you’re just getting started and you need to buy materials. No wonder it took the Oregon Trail travelers a year to save the money to get started.
Case in point: our garden.
When I decided I wanted to embark on the adventure that is pioneer living, I knew I had to get my husband on board. Mainly because I needed his support on some of the skills I’m attempting to learn (we’ll talk more about this another day, but let’s just say yarn is an asshole) but also because I needed him to do the literal and figurative heavy lifting on putting together our garden. Because gardening was essential to pioneers. You know, so they could eat and not starve to death.
So of course I had to do it.
Fortunately, the husband enjoys gardening whereas I enjoy the concept of gardening. So we had a family discussion regarding what we were going to plant but I stepped back and let him do whatever it was he needed to do to get it started. Because, quite frankly, I’m better off staying away from plant life. I am the grim reaper of the plant world. I’m pretty sure plants begin to die if I even think about going near them.
And let me just say this–Friends, if you have a spouse who is overly enthusiastic about gardening and you truly don’t give a shit, you will have to endure many conversations about tilling, amending soil, early crops, late crops, composting, containers, bugs, fertilizer, and more topics that will bore you to literal tears. I have found the best way to handle the situation is to smile, nod, and say “whatever you need to do is fine with me”.
Giving the husband free reign over the garden made him almost as happy as if I told him I assembled Tiger Woods, Cal Ripken, and John Elway and they were all going to play golf at Augusta National. He took the authority and ran with it. At his insistence, all winter, we worked on our compost pile, planned where in our backyard we’d have the garden, and he even created a very detailed chart/blueprint with the different plots, plants, and layout.
This made me realize it was a good thing he was in charge of this particular project. Because if left up to me, we’d have approximately nothing accomplished.
After what felt like an eternity of olanning and talking, the weather finally cooperated this weekend and we were able to get the plots dug and some of the seeds planted. Apparently, there are some seeds that need to be started inside rather than outside and we worked on that, too.
While he was digging, my daughter and I wrote out plant markers on Popsicle sticks so we know what plants are where:
When he was done digging, this is what everything looked like (note: he still has 3-4 more plots to dig but apparently our backyard is crap and he needs a tiller. In a lucky turn of events, we finally don’t have to play for something and he’s borrowing one from a co-worker):
Then we planted the seeds and he and our daughter watered them. I avoided this part because I really, really hate mud and having it on me makes me cringe. (Also, real men use a pink Dora watering can. Back off ladies, he’s mine):
When it was all done, it looked like this. I know it doesn’t seem like much now but I’m hoping that in a few months, when I wrote a follow-up, you’ll see actual plants instead of just dirt. Excuse me. Soil.
Everything about planting the garden made me unhappy. The dirt. The money we had to spend to get it started. The endless waiting for the right time. The dirt. And while I know I’ll enjoy the result of this project, right now, it kind of sucks. But it did up the level of respect I had for the pioneers, particularly those who had absolutely nothing when they started.
So there’s that.
And just to prove I’m not the the only one who dislikes the process, here’s a picture of my cat, sitting under our barbecue, staying clear away from the actual labor part of gardening and watching approvingly. Because she’s knows how to get shit done.