June 17, 2013 by Kriscinda Lee Everitt
Lately, I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed by this place, which was not the plan when we bought it. The plan was the opposite—to have our own place where we could maybe implement a more peaceful pace of life, and also to get away from people a bit.
After run-run-running for six years straight with school, and living in an apartment building that allowed for no peace if you wanted to be outdoors (not fun for an introvert who desperately needs some fresh air), buying this place seemed like entirely the right idea. And it was; still is. We have no regrets.
But the run-run-running hasn’t stopped, and getting away from people? Turns out that rural suburban folks are nosier than city folks. I suppose when people all crowded in on each other, they do what they can to put some distance between themselves and everyone else, but when they’re not, they seem to go out of their way to make your business their business.
This spring, it just seems like nothing can get done in a timely manner—nothing can get done fast enough. And there’s no way to shake the feeling that while you’re doing one thing that really needs to be done, you really should be doing one of the five other things that really need to get done. Things pile up, and it’s just the two of us. So, I’ve been feeling as if perhaps I’m not up to the task (or, tasks).
Compounding that is the harassment we’d been getting from a neighbor about the state of our lawn. I won’t go into it, but it was pretty uncalled for and pretty ridiculous. And rather disheartening in terms of humanity in general, as they were completely aware that our lawnmower was on the fritz. Now they’ve made it so that I don’t want to properly mow the area along their property line, just out of spite. Not that it matters, because I can’t seem to find the time to mow it at all, what with various garden-related things happening almost every day (always something…we’re building tomato supports for our 36 plants right now).
It’s funny because, while I see them mowing their simple, easy, too-short lawn almost every day, I keep thinking of how much time they’re putting into a patch of vegetation they can’t even eat. Meanwhile, they truly seem to believe that we should view our lawn the same way and, apparently, put it before the vegetable garden that will feed us. If you think about it, it’s pretty stupid.
So, Big A and I were sitting on the porch yesterday, after fighting with the tomato supports for a few hours, having a beer and a chat. He put it into perspective for me. The fact is that this spring, we’re both trying to get the house and yard in order (which is difficult when you’re completely unfamiliar with it and technical difficulties keep popping up) and start a massive garden with which to support ourselves. We’re only two people. In fact, I’d been under the comforting impression that once we just got the garden going, we’d have a breather and get caught up with everything else. But there is no breather, because nothing stops long enough for that. After this there will be all the preserving, which I’ve never done before and so will be twice as difficult and time-consuming as it would be for someone with experience.
And that’s the key to my actual comfort: experience. Because we only have to do this once. The chaos of this season will only happen once. Because next year, we will know what the hell we’re doing. I’ll know what the plants in the beds around the house are and how the weeds like to come up through them. I’ll know how fast the grass grows once it starts in the spring (and we’ll have the mower to keep it in check). I’ll know that plot of land that is the garden intimately, and I’ll also have better resources in terms of starting the plants and getting them into the ground.
I have yet to weed around the house (it’s a mess) and we’re barely keeping up with just parts of the lawn, but, damn it, that garden is impressive so far, considering we’re totally green and we built it from scratch. Every time I go out there, I just can’t believe something I grew from seed, either in the house or directly into the ground, is actually growing, and holy crap, there are signs that real, live vegetables are starting to appear. We did that? No way!
In terms of the nosy neighbors, we’ve decided they’re not worth the concern either. True, it makes me feel better to leave a wide strip of grass between our properties, because I know it drives him crazy. But we’ve actually constructed a plan of action that’s good on a couple of levels. We ordered ten strings of Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags, which just arrived two days ago. The plan (once we get these tomato supports finished and we get a dry day) is to cut the grass along the property line all nice and neat, erect the two-foot T-posts we aren’t using from the garden along it all the way to the street, and string the prayer flags. This serves two purposes:
1) It will drive the neighbors crazy, because: A) they aren’t the usual, traditional lawn ornament and therefore don’t belong in the yard, B) we will not be cutting around the posts, nor along the lines, so the grass with grow up in that area, and C) these are symbols of a non-Christian heathen religion.
2) It will, on our side of things, represent the re-balancing of our property and our lives. Although we are not practicing Buddhists, speaking for myself, Buddhism is the religion I most relate to. Also, I like the look of the flags, I like the idea of them, and seeing them will remind me that this is our property, the neighbors don’t matter, and dangit, we bought this place to find peace.
From now on, I need to be comfortable in this state of things, which is a little like being underwater and forcing yourself to breathe deeply, as if you could become one of the fishes by doing so. I need to figure out how to become one of the fishes, because the waterline won’t be dropping any time soon. In fact, I foresee not being caught up, well, ever, and the only way this will end is when winter comes. And then I will probably go nuts for something to do after going full speed for the previous ten months.
Breathe deeply…become one of the fishes…