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June 25, 2002

Gardening With Jack, Part 2

When I last wrote of our garden, it still hadn't been planted and a fun day of gardening was planned. The first problem, that I actually didn't anticipate as a problem, was that my foot was taking extra long too heal. Normally when a person has a surgery like the one I had, they'd take a few days off, stay off their feet and allow the site to heal. I didn't have that option. Since I'm a stay-at-home dad, I had the benefit of all the unavoidable work a stay-at-home mom has, but with the added bonus of everyone assuming I was off work (since I'm a guy), therefore not offering to help.  With having to cook several meals a day (my wife was able to do some, but with her work schedule I was left with a minimum of two a day, sometimes all three) my foot remained swollen, which caused the healing to delay, so by the time we were ready to plant the garden, I was not able to get out and help. Trying to handle uneven grass with a foot that felt like a red hot bolt was being placed against it every time it touched the ground just didn't seem like a fun morning to me.

I sorted out the seed packets. Explained to each kid, carefully how they were to be planted, loud enough so my wife could hear, then the whole crew headed outside to plant the garden. They seemed to have a fun time other than the occasional cries as one decided throwing a dirt clod at another would be fun.

This morning 3 days later, I finally was able to get around well enough to go out and see how the garden looked.

What I found was a nightmare. First of all there was no lose dirt. It was entirely made of rock hard clods pushed together in tightly space crooked rows on one side of the area. The other side was bare with a small pile of dirt clods piled up in one corner. I'd been sending the kids out to water the garden three times a day, but apparently they thought that two cups of water was sufficient for that space, because in spite of the ground surrounding the garden being still moist, the garden itself was as dry as a bone. Ice cream sticks had been placed, apparently to mark the plants which were planted anywhere from 3 to 5 inches apart. The ground surrounding the garden was cluttered with empty seed packets, even though there was enough seed in the packets to plant 20 gardens that size. I took the rake to try to see if there was any lose moist soil at all, only to find that the brand new rake we'd just bought had gotten broken in the process of creating our DOA garden. I pushed it back together and managed to push enough dirt around to find that the rows weren't just clods of dirt, the were iron hard mounds coated with clods of dirt. 

I went in and politely (Ok, not so politely) explained to my wife and kids that nothing known to mankind would ever be able to grow in that garden and that I didn't appreciate them ignoring every single bit of instructions I had given them on how to work it. This afternoon I had the kids form a fireman's brigade of water jugs while we deluged the garden with water in an attempt to smooth it flat, so there wouldn't be permanent eight inch high hills in the middle of the yard. We managed to get it somewhat smooth after about 40 gallons of water. Later this week I'll go get some grass seed and hope we can at least grow the grass back over the area.

We also had a visit from the telephone company repair guy today. Seems our phone somehow stopped working Saturday. Yep, it had been buried only inches deep, and had got damaged while the garden was being (dare I say it) planted.


Posted by Jack Lewis at June 25, 2002 05:53 PM