In my digital literacy class, we were given the assignment to simply spend five hours learning about something. I made the mistake of choosing gardening. My grandmother has quite the variety of flowers, fruits, and vegetables planted in her garden and around her house. They all look pretty and taste wonderful, but maintenance is a lot of work. This weekend a whole bunch of us gathered at my grandma and grandpa’s house to do some yard work for them. I honestly did not know how much upkeep went into things like this as opposed to weeding and watering. We decided that Verla and Charlie, my mother’s parents, were getting too old to mow everything around their yard so we decided to mulch around the trees and get everything else ready for winter. First, we weeded around all the trees. They have quite a few trees and bushes around their yard. At least 10 of them. We spent most of the time weeding by hand until my uncle got his archaic weed whacker to start. My Aunt Nancy was extremely particular that we get every single little blade of grass that was too close to the tree trunk, which was some what aggravating. At this point, it was starting to get very hot and very humid, which made me a little bit crabby, especially with all of the nit picking being done by my aunt. After pulling every blade of grass around the tree, we put a weed barrier around the tree to keep weeds from growing up through the mulch that we were going to lay. It would have gone quickly if the scissors did not get lost every time we cut some of the barrier. I think we spent more time looking for the scissors than we spent doing yard work. We then began putting mulch around the trees. Nancy was also very particular that the mulch be at least two inches from the trunk because mulch would eat away at the tree trunk. We hauled the mulch from the trailer to the yard with a wheel barrow. Only having one wheel barrow, this felt like it took an eternity. Nancy wanted to make sure that the mulch was evenly distributed and in a perfect circle around the tree. My grandparents live in the middle of nowhere so I was confused as to why this was such a big deal, but I went a long with it anyway. Nancy is not someone you want to argue with, you just listen without complaint.
After ten thousand trips with the wheel barrow and all the trees looking quite fabulous, I must admit, we moved to the flower beds. I was in charge of cutting the peonies. I was slightly perturbed by this because I was told to cut all of the stalks down to about six inches. I was afraid to do this because I though that it would kill the plant, but I learned that every year you cut the stalks and new ones will come the next spring. After cutting down all of the peonies, we weeded the flower bed. Grandma decided that we should just dig up her creeping flocks because the dog lays in them and kills them anyway. We then made about a thousand more trips with the wheel barrow to mulch her three, ginormous flower beds. Thankfully, at this point we ran out of mulch. I cannot say that I was disappointed. We had only gotten the front yard done and there are about twenty more trees in the back yard.
After all the work in the front yard, my mother decided she wanted to pick some apples from the orchard. I am not much of a tree climber at this point in my life due to my clumsy nature, so I thought I would get out of this, but much to my dismay, that is not required to pick apples. My grandparents have a very nifty little tool to pick apples. It is a long stick with a wire thingy at the end. You put the stick up in the tree and pull the apples down with the wires at the end and catch them in the wire thingy. I wish I had a more technical term than wire thingy, but I guess that will have to do.
After spending all day long learning how to properly care for a lawn and garden, I decided that it really is not my thing. Flowers are pretty and the yard did look very nice, but I do not think that my future home will have those things unless my husband has a green thumb. Maybe I will develop a taste for it someday.