Olde People Don't Adjust Very Well

10 years ago

It must have been 2003 when I showed up. I'm fairly sure but, you know, memory is the first to go.

I only grew snap beans because my garden across the road had everything else that, it seemed, could possibly be grown in a garden in my neck of the woods. A garden of beans was what I felt was lacking and so many were planted at once (because it was the 1st of July), that it would later take me one 10-hour day to harvest the bulk of them.

Those were sold, as I knew even in July that they would be. That "retail" money was appreciated, too. SSA can only take you so far and the income looked like it was going to just about keep me out of the poor house that year.

The property owner had just retired also. A little older than me, he'd had a white-collar career and wasn't too happy about having to give it up. Maybe it was the lifestyle that he had become accustomed to. I have felt fortunate that I've always gotten along well with him as he has turned over the ground just down from his backdoor, to my care. Some years, it was easy to get along, since he and his wife were away from their home for months and even years at a stretch.

But now, maybe it is income-related; maybe it is just age, but the trips have grown shorter. The trips are one side of the nation to the other - instead of across oceans. Still, we enjoy a certain rapport. It might be the closeness of our ages or common interests.

He had his favorite "Tractor Guy" who had been coming in to till each year. I inherited the guy, paid him when the property owner was away. But, since I was only responsible for about one-half acre and there were other fields - there was more need for the Tractor Guy than my limited concerns.

Then TG retired. Time marched on. Another TG died! The owner brought in a 3rd or was it a 4th TG who must have thought he was living off the fat of the land instead of whatever dirt could scratch up, between piles of glacial rock.

The owner cut back on TG's responsibilities. No more need for him to hook up his tiller for the neighbor and me. So this year, I will be left with bringing the big garden into cultivation without a Tractor Guy . . !

The garden across the road was entirely done without a TG and it was roughly the same size. Well, nothing "rough" about it since the beds were cultivated by spading fork and the permanent paths were created by Steve and his shovel. But, I put that garden in 15 years ago!

Fortunately, the spading fork took over some of cultivation work from TG in the "new" garden 2 years ago and that area was expanded last year. Still, I hadn't expected to go back and bring the other 2/3rds of the ground into beds and permanent paths. Certainly, not doing that all at once - right now!

The owner has made other arrangements with TG this year and there is really no choice, except if I want to bring in my own TG and have him do the work. What! And, pay the entire $225?! For less than one-half acre!?

So, there are 2 old guys who don't adjust so well to the costs charged these days! My gardening neighbor and I will do things on our own this year. He has already tilled half of his garden with his Troy-built. I've got a rockier piece of ground - that other 2/3rds to bring into production. At least, there is Dear Wife to help me.

Can we do it? I don't know. It has been 15 years since I've done anything like it! I still have to go over the original 1/3rd with the spading fork and shovel. After that, things will get tough.

Even with my rear-tine to loosen the soil, it will take me days. I'd better prioritize. Do what I can, when I can, where I can. The little veggie garden is nearly ready for the year since I did so much work on it last Fall. Now, my eyes have to be on that distant horizon.

Getting too olde for this . . .


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