not so hot and nothing, really

In the picture, the few remaining dried serrano peppers in front of a dusty teapot.  These got so much more hot once dried.  Even a bit of one will spice up your winter cooking considerably.

Behind the keyboard, one woman, feeling not so hot after mulching the 12′ by 10′ bed that saw the flood damage a week ago.  (Check out “a river runs through it” if you have no idea what I’m talking about.)

Three days ago, when the soil was no longer sopping wet, I added compost and soil to the gullies that had formed and reset all the garlic bulbs, amazed at the thriving nests of white roots that had already developed.

Two days ago a little boundary of stones was heaped along the lowest edge of the plot, to try and halt any further washout.

Yesterday, my landlord donated a huge pile of mulch to the cause of saving the Victory Garden, which he no doubt thinks of as his most eccentric tenant’s pet project, and today I distributed it, with shovel and rake, in an area the size of my childhood bedroom.

I then prepared a different area for peas, just in case the flooding continues during our upcoming “major weather event” (i.e. rain, snow, sleet, and ice, a 90 to 100% chance tomorrow evening and continuing all day Saturday), and then mulched that smaller area, too.

And then I practically collapsed on the sofa.  I’m exhausted.  My arms are no longer “shovel-ready,” but weak, pale stems that struggled to lift the shovel at all there at the end.

When I remember all that I was able to do this past season, and in the heat of a Southern summer, too, I feel bewildered.  Where did all that energy and muscle go, not to mention the determination to get up every morning at dawn to work before the heat of the day?

And I was so darned peppy about it, too.  It seems like another lifetime.

But it also strengthens my resolve.  I’ve just got to toughen up again, that’s all.  Sort of like hardening off a tender seedling before one transplants it outside.

I didn’t ask F. to help, by the way, because he seems to be in the toughening up season that marks the final push of the ph.D.  He’s been going 48 or more hours without sleep multiple times a week, feverishly working and going over results with his doctoral advisor almost every day, while our strongest home computer runs calculations that take it anywhere from 24 to 72 hours to complete.

If you ask my husband a question, you’re liable to get a blank stare nowadays.

Well, it’s not really a blank stare so much as a theoretical physicist stare.  Big things are happening behind that glassy green gaze.

And if you have a ph.D., I owe you an apology.  Until now, I’d failed to be suitably impressed by the achievement.

I’d always considered graduate school to be basically an extension of university, with a narrower specialization and perhaps a few more administrative hoops to jump through.  Not so.  Or at least not for a ph.D. in Physics.  It’s an impressive feat of intelligence, endurance, and hard work.

Putting in a little mulch is nothing, really.  And actually much more pleasant, even with winter-flabby arm muscles.

10 Responses to “not so hot and nothing, really”

  1. I don’t imagine it will take that long for you to become that strong gardening woman again, Meredith. The muscle is there waiting for you.

  2. I smiled reading this, Meredith. We do become weaker in winter and even though I work out and lift weights, etc., there is a definite difference in the strength I have in the warm weather when I’m shovelling dirt or shifting bags of mulch or shifting patio stones ( which had me feeling like Hercules by the time we finished the new patio and pergola last summer – lol). It’s so much easier to be peppy when the windows are open, the birdsong is drifting ion a soft breeze, and the sunbeams are playing with the flowers. I would have loved to help you with the mulching today!

    • My gosh, I bet you did feel like Hercules after a patio and pergola. (Ooh, are we going to get to see pics of the pergola this season? I hope so. They might even be in your archives, I’ll have to check. I obviously have pergola envy now…LOL!)

      Wish you could have been here today, Talon. 🙂

  3. I have also felt the same way. I see things that could really be done now – mostly clean up stuff (there’s even a broom under and shrub that has been driving me crazy for weeks – but yet I don’t move it). I can’t seem to muster the energy though! I fear that come spring, I will give up gardening, but I’m just trusting that whatever obsession I typically have with gardening will kick in when the weather gets warm. Wish we could fast forward time for your hubby. My sister earned her PhD several years ago. It’s not an easy process – neither is landing a great job afterwards, but it does happen and you’ll both be wondering how you made it through! Hang in there! 🙂

    • Wendy, do I ever know that feeling! Come spring, we’ll all be mad for our gardens again. But just now, I struggle to find the energy and decent weather conditions to do anything at all out there. I’m already craving the wild weather of March and we’re not quite to February, LOL.

      I am so concerned about the possibilities in this pitiful job market after all his damned hard work that I basically do not speak of it, but trust it will all work out for the best, as it always does. Thank you for your good wishes!

  4. I minimalized this window last night at suppertime and then promptly forgot about it til now, Meredith! I sympathize with the achy body, and hope that you’re feeling better today than yesterday. Check your email for an incoming post…:-)

  5. You work hard! Your post reminds me to spread compost on my vegetable beds. Thank you! Good luck to your husband!
    PhD Tatyana, hehe

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