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Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Remember this game? You know, the one by which we instill in our children a lifelong fear of sudden heart failure? It's called Perfection, and since the goal is to correctly match all the shapes into their holes within the allotted time lest the whole game board explode like a jack-in-the-box on meth, its name seems to imply that anything less than the nominal perfection is catastrophic, cardiac-arresting disaster. Good times. That tictictictictic of the timer still makes my hands sweaty just thinking about it. WHY CAN'T WE JUST BE VERY GOOD AT SOMETHING!!??

The reason I bring up Perfection is to evoke the lit-fuse urgency and dread one feels (one belonging to the Perfection generation, anyway) whenever there is a limited amount of time in which to accomplish a large number of tasks. My previous post laid out a few of the many such tasks to be tackled around Fencebroke. What I failed to mention is that—tictictictic—there is a—tictictic—timer going on in the—tictictic—background while I hem and haw and dither and procrastinate and wait for the weather to clear.

For Spring lies in wait, ticking silently underground, like an impending subterranean nuclear test blast beneath our feet. At least that's how I feel. But I mean, what difference will it make if I manage to relocate a couple perennials and add a row of bricks to the patio and prune two out of five apple trees when tictictictic—KPPSHWHOOOMPH!!!—Spring explodes in my face come April and I can't even find the rest of the apple trees. Unless I accomplish every. Single. Thing. To perfection. Then it will all be for nought, it will all be buried 'neath the incoming, supersonic, pyroclastic shrapnel cloud of daffodils and yellow plastic game pieces. That's just the way life works. According to Milton Bradley anyway. Those folks must have been gardeners.

Sunday, January 15, 2017


Whew! Okay, uh … sorry, just had a mini freak out when I started thinking about all the off-season gardening tasks on the docket for Fencebroke this Winter. But, if there's one thing I've learned from my brilliant wife over the years, it's that there's not a problem in the world too overwhelming to be solved—or at least put off for a few more minutes—by making a list. So here goes …

*Prune fruit trees
*Design and build small greenhouse out of existing materials
*Install new cinderblock border for veggie bed; plant strawberries in cinderblock holes
*Throw away old, expired seeds
*Buy new seeds
*Stifle guilt of once again buying too many seeds
*Build support for raspberries planted last year
*Find and re-bury treasure
*Dig new bed for planting quinoa; use sod thus lifted to start a new squash mound
*Figure out why the @##$^& I can't seem to grow potatoes
*Finish planting and edging existing ornamental beds
*Conduct mass funeral for all the plants that didn't make it this year
*Clean out rain barrels
*Find a way to market my book in China; learn Mandarin
*Dig-up and relocate at least 75% of so-called “permanent” plantings; after careful consideration, replant at least 50% of those back in the same spot they came from.
*Pot-up container plantings
*Clean out fire pit; burn all incriminating documents
*Plan edible plantings for the year in order to maximize nutrition, yield, variety, flavor, preservation, kid-friendliness, and length of growing season; give up and just wing it.
*Instill in offspring a lasting sense of harmony and connection to the Earth through the thoughtful cultivation of its soil; give up and put on Daniel Tiger instead.
*Find a way to share this year's harvest with those in need
*Prune dead limbs on trees in front yard
*Make garden more bird-friendly
*Make garden less cat-friendly
*Make garden more gardener-friendly
*Re-do and expand back patio for better—

—You know what? This isn't helping at all. I can't even … I don't know where to … and the ground is still frozen … and the kids won't ever nap at the same time and—

All right, I've got a new, simplified list:

*Stay inside
*Drink coffee
*Play video games

Check, check, and … check. Turns out my wife was on to something.