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Garden Update

My attempt at transplanting my garden has been almost a complete failure.  I’m sad, but there’s nothing to be done.  I did work hard at reclaiming some of the garden beds around the new house (and so did my new housemate and her family), but where I put the veggies is now in full shade with the summer tree canopy that surrounds us.  Indeed, the only way to have a garden in full sun would be to either chop down some of the trees or to start an entirely new garden in the middle of the lawn.  Since I rent and will likely only be here until next spring (depending on a lot of factors), neither is an option.

A couple of my kale plants did survive and are doing well.  The half dozen tomato plants I put in are sporting about 6 fruits between them.  The cucumbers are my best hope, having produced one tasty green cucumber to date, but hold promise for more with many flowers.  The lettuce and tomatoes in pots are emaciated and anemic.  Being dragged about several times and forgotten more often than not has not helped.  Some of my herbs (in pots) are doing ok, and a few will likely come back solidly next year.  But for this year, it’s all pretty much too late.


On the bright side, I find myself less distracted by going out and gardening and more able to focus on other things that need my attention.  My dissertation for one, which is progressing at a glacial pace, but progressing nonetheless.  I do get some work done pretty much every single day, and now that my ethics submission has been approved I will soon start data collection and that should move things along quickly.  I hope it will also rekindle my interest and enthusiasm for this project, which has waned considerably with all these delays.

I am also working my way through the last 15-20 boxes of my life.  Everything I own has now been moved to it’s new resting spot for the coming year.  The furniture that I really liked is being stored in a friend’s basement.  The stuff I use daily is here with me.  Things I don’t need, that needed fixing, or that left me feeling heavy or negative is all gone.  Except for about a dozen boxes which sit in the middle of my bedroom floor.  Since I have no storage at this house (the basement is dug out of the side of a hill, a dirt floor with very damp air), I have no choice but to keep it right in the middle of my space.  This is perfect as it will force me to deal with it.  I am trying to work on it one box a day.

Much of what is in those boxes I no longer need: letters, cards and memorabilia from the last four decades of my life.  I am no longer that person, that child, teenager or young adult.  So I don’t need to drag this stuff around anymore.  But I can’t just throw it out either.  I have to go through it carefully, one last time, setting aside perhaps an item or two for each significant stage of life, a card or two from loved ones, and the rest will go into the fire.  Literally.  We have a woodstove here, and I will burn it all ceremoniously.  Time to move on, to look forward, and to let go off the past.

I will start a new garden when I am in my own home, a place I believe I will stay for a significant length of time.  That will likely be in a couple of years, but I can still watch and read and learn and prepare and dream.  In the meantime, I am trying to find time to help my housemate with her garden.  So far I have only been out once – I had hoped to go a couple of times a week but my days just evaporate.  It still end up spending 3-5 hours a day on the dogs as I have to exercise them in singles and pairs, and drive long distances to training facilities.

I toy with the idea of giving up the youngest, but this wouldn’t change things much.  I’d still have to drive, and do 2-3 exercise sessions a day off the property.  This time commitment really won’t reduce until I have my own land where I can walk out the door with the whole pack and either hike or train right there.  I am not a practical person, nor am I one to put my dreams aside when things aren’t perfect.  This has caused me much grief over the years, but it has also led me to interesting places – like winning the Ontario novice herding championship when I didn’t even have a yard, let alone sheep.

I also wouldn’t let this lack of sunny garden space stop me from growing food, except that I really am not motivated to do so right now.  This is probably because I am surrounded by people growing wonderful, organic food on a large scale and with much greater skill and ability than I have.  Observing them seems to be the best place to put my energy right now, and helping them where possible.  That and learning as much as I can about the care and management of sheep.


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