Thursday, March 7, 2013

A little reminder

Two years ago, near the end of an April filled with worry and weeds and battles with sore joints and perfectionism, I wrote myself a letter to be read every April 1 thereafter.

It was a good letter, with good advice. (I am a wise woman, if only I would listen to myself...) The only problem is that April 1 is too late to be reminded about how not to work myself into a state over the garden. So, in the interests of positive mental health, physical well being and balance in the garden, here is The Letter a few weeks early.

Dearest Miriam,

It's your self here, with a few words of wisdom and advice for the month ahead. April may be a month of cherry blossoms, sunshine and gentle spring showers - in some other universe, maybe, not yours. Honey, you need to hike up your pants and lace up your boots because the month ahead is going to test you.

The weeds in your garden will outnumber the flowers by two or three orders of magnitude. Don't worry. This is normal. It was the same last year and it will be the same next year. When you look at the whole garden it will seem overwhelming, but please remember that every time you get started on the weeding it goes much faster than you expected, and you end up thinking "That wasn't so bad..." If you're really desperate, you can remember the year you were so keen on the weeding you mistook baby poppies for dandelions and pulled them all out. That would be a good excuse for taking it easy.

The grass will grow 3-4 inches every night while you are sleeping, but it will keep raining so you won't be able to mow it. Don't worry. This is happening to everyone. Instead of fretting, think of the romance of lush green pastures and remember that as soon as the hot weather hits the grass will go back to sleep.

Your muscles will hurt. Don't worry. This is a normal by-product of a lazy winter. You will get stronger every day - just remember to take breaks and change tasks every so often so you use a different set of muscles. And please, please, pay attention to that little voice inside your head that whispers "Maybe you've done enough for today..."

There will probably be lots of jobs that just don't get done. For example, how does anyone in this climate find three consecutive rain-free days to apply dormant spray to fruit trees before they leaf out? Don't worry. This is normal. So maybe you didn't get to the pruning early enough, and maybe that ramshackle raised bed didn't get rebuilt before you had to fill it with onion seedlings. The onions will still grow, and the beautiful old apple trees will produce fruit like they have been doing for many years.

If you are still feeling overwhelmed, please make yourself a cup of tea and remember April only has 30 days.

May will be much better, and it has 31.

With much love-


Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Such a sensible woman, so glad to call her friend.
Wise, kind friend... in fact.

Stephanie said...

Very wise advice, smart woman to write letter to self and is good for those that read this. I look at the garden outside and see what a lot of work we all have to do, baby steps. Great post!

Alison said...

HA! I love your concluding sentences. :D

Lindsey at NW Backyard Veggies said...

Yes. Yes, yes yes. To all of it.

Every once in a while we need our own voice of sanity when our hobby momentarily becomes our jailer.

I also agree with Alison - The last two lines are pure poetry!

Fiona@RowangarthFarm said...

I love this idea! I especially love how gentle and nurturing you are to yourself. I don't think my letter to myself would be as kind -- it'd be filled with lines such as, "And before you go off all half-cocked again this season..."! I like your approach much better. :) Pure poetry.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Well timed advice that I will try to heed as well!! THANKS for sharing Miriam, you are indeed a wise woman, whether you listen to yourself or not! :-)

Paula said...

thanks for reminding us all Miriam.

Timely, too. It's supposed to be lovely this weekend...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, Miriam. I've been having that whiplash feeling, wondering how I've gone from mid-February, where it felt like there was still lots of time left in "winter", to mid-March where I'm already SO behind!! You're right, April is much to late for these sentiments. Around here I need a reminder on March 1st that it's both time to get going and also that June is still a long way away...

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