Thursday, May 31, 2012

Days 4 & 5 - The Self-Mulching Tree & Un Garcon Boit.

Day 4 -

Remember when I wrote in my first blog that part of the reason I don't want to watch TV anymore is that I want to be a more interesting person? That I want to be like a character in a book?

Well, forget that. It's not possible. What I'm realizing is that no matter how much extra time I have in the day, I still need to do boring, every day things like mowing the lawn and feeding our cats. Maybe my favorite characters don't need to pee, but I do.

As you might have gathered, yesterday was mostly full of boring, necessary things. However, I'd like to point out that not watching TV actually made me get around to doing those "boring things" - things that I'd previously avoided by being "busy". Case in point, after mowing the backyard, I decided to FINALLY spread a bag of mulch under the back tree. To understand how monumental this was, let me give some back story.

Every year, I put pine bark mulch in all of our flower beds and around our many trees. Typically in the last few years, I've run out of mulch after spreading around the 20th bag, and at that point, I'm disinclined to making yet another trip to English Gardens for more. At 20 bags, I'm pretty much pooped, no matter how much soil remains uncovered. Because I tend to run out of mulch toward the end of the project, I usually start in the front yard, visible to my neighbors, and work my way around to the back. If I don't get to the very back of the yard, so be it.

Anyway, there's a tree in the back that always gets left out. It's the farthest tree from the house and has never gotten the mulch treatment. Several years ago, I promised myself it wouldn't get missed again. In fact, early on in the season, I dropped a big fat bag of mulch right at the base of the tree. And - it's been sitting there ever since. Through season after season of rain, snow and sleet. If it was the tin man, it would have long ago stopped whispering for an oil can.

So yesterday, I thought, this is the NEW me. I'm going to move this big, heavy iron loveseat and big, heavy matching end tables out from under the tree, pull all the weeds, carve out a nice ring, and put down this blasted mulch. At last! I moved all the furniture as planned and then attempted to remove the bag of mulch so I could pull the weeds under it.

Apparently it had been waiting a bit too long. It wouldn't budge. I soon realized that the tree had punched roots through the plastic and claimed the bag for its own. Three fat roots grew into it. The tree had tried to mulch itself.

The plastic wouldn't tear, and I didn't really want to split it open until I'd pulled the weeds anyway, so I took a garden saw and hacked through the roots to free it. I can only imagine my neighbors next door, the Master Gardeners (who are on the Better Homes and Gardens tour), watching me wrestle a 20 lb bag of mulch away from a tree. The mulch, by the way, was nearly dried up. Only half of it was good. The rest had turned into a big, wispy nest. Oh - and it was completely filled with ants.

After finishing my mulching job, I recovered the stone bird fountain from a mass of weeds at the very back of the property and placed it under the tree. I filled it with fresh, cold water. Then I sat and watched birds swoop in to feast on the frantic bag ants and wash them down with the water. Someone thought opening that bag of mulch was a great idea!

Day 5 -

I used my sore back as an excuse to stay inside today. That birdbath was heavy. In truth, I should have taken advantage of the cool day and worked on the back of the property. I've decided that the ideal place for my vegetable garden is way back there where the weeds and overgrown bushes need to be pulled and trimmed respectively before I can proceed. It's not fun work, but I find that ultimatums like "I can't start my garden until I clean up the entire backyard" are pretty motivational.

Instead I worked in my office all day. I'm editing a new book, and also promoting another that I just published. It's very exciting, and the more interest I hear in the published one, the more determined I am to release the other one before scheduled.

At some point, I decided I had to do something else, so I started and completed Lesson 1 of Rosetta Stone for French!


I'm finding it's very intuitive, but also that I have no idea what I've learned yet. It's all related to pictures. So, un garcon boit is, I think, "the boy drinks". And Il boit is "he drinks". But I'm not 100% positive, because Rosetta Stone doesn't actually tell you what anything is in English. It's all about immersion. You're supposed to catch on from the pictures and deduce what action is taking place. I'm a little slow at this, and I suspect I overthink it. For all I know, un garcon boit is "the boy smells his milk". But since all the pictures relating to "boit" have people holding up drinking glasses to their mouths, I'm assuming I'm on the right track with drinking.

Well, that's it for the last two days. So far, I can report that I'm not really missing TV at all. It was just a time filler. The only time I miss it is - well, right now actually. In the late evening. Because at the moment, I don't want to think anymore, but I'm not ready to sleep yet. TV filled that gap nicely.

What do you do to relax, without having to use your brain, besides listening to music? Putting together a puzzle, playing a game, or cleaning something requires too much effort. I just want to zone out. Maybe this is why old people, who know what it was like before TV was invented, like to sit on their porches and stare at stuff? I need to go stare at something.

Au revoir!

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