When I garden anything, I tend to be fairly lax about it. Its not like we're living in the pioneer days, and really, if the garden fails I can just run down to the Super Centre and buy myself a can of peas. Not only can I do that, but I can stop at Tim Horton's for an Ice Cap on the way. It seems like a win-win situation all around.
The first year that I grew a garden of my own, I grew some sunflowers. I thought that they would be jaunty and cheery, happy little plants that would fill my heart with sunshine every time I glanced in their direction. Instead, they grew to the size of Oak trees, very large oak trees with trunks that you need a chain saw to cut through. When I went back to the big city for school, I left them behind and the following year when my father went to plant grass where my garden had been, he had thirty of these overgrown sunflower stalks to deal with.
SuperDad was not happy.
This year I have been threatening and threatening to stick my garden in the same place as I have in years past, and he has been stomping his feet and demanding that I not put in a garden in any place because for God's sake, he doesn't have time to look after it when the thrill wears off. Eventually, after much back and forth conversing in loud tones, he decided that behind the chicken coop would be an acceptable place for me to garden. I assume that he chose this location because he will never have to look at it while he crosses the yard, and his blood pressure manages to stay much lower when he isn't being forced against his will to look at poorly planted rows of corn scattered hither and yon.
I set out this afternoon with my spade shovel and a plan. Beyond that I didn't have much else. I quickly learned that in order to work this particular plot of land, I would need bug spray. Lots and lots of bug spray, in quantities so large that the eggs of many local turtles will be rendered useless because the mosquitoes ARE JUST THAT BIG. After that I needed a drink of water, because turning over sod with a spade shovel is thirsty work. And then after that I needed work gloves, because turning over sod leaves your hands blistered and bleedy.
After I had come and gone from the house three or four times in the same twenty minutes, my dad decided to come out and investigate my progress. This is what I love about my dad, the fact that no matter how strongly he feels that someone should not begin a job, he is so bent on it being done correctly that he just can't tear himself away. In all, I managed to turn over about two thirds of the little plot I chose and he did the rest. What I find most humorous about this situation is that you can clearly see where my section ends and his begins, because his part is turned so much better than mine, with such cleaner edges.
Tomorrow I'm going to empty out the calf pens that I should have emptied out three years ago. By now it is perfect topsoil, light and easy to handle, and it will make for some of the organic-est organic matter ever to add to a garden. Everything grows better when it's grown in love, and surely the organic matter from three year old calf pens can't be described as anything BUT love.