Friday, July 19, 2013

Bone building exercise, or is it character? Can't decide.

The past few days have seen me wearing a different hat. It's the same, favorite Tilley (highly recommended, BTW) but it's been sheltering a head working in the Arizona sun.

My boss asked if I would help her plant some flowers in a couple of places in the plaza area of the Visitor Center at the north end of the park. Heck, yeah! I used to have about an acre I gardened, a long time ago, and I like grubbing around in the dirt. She showed me what she wanted and left me to it. 

One spot is boxes on a balcony in the Administration building. Piece of cake. I haven't actually planted them yet but when I get to it, they'll be easy. And then there was this:

And what it looked like from a distance:

Now tell me that "tree" doesn't look like it came right out of The Lorax. (It, incidentally, is an agave that bloomed, now has seed pods formed, and is dying. It gave its all. It was amazing to watch as the stalk grew like Jack and the Beanstalk.)

To my mind, the mess in the raised bed had to be cleaned out before anything could be put in. But what to do with the agave I was digging out? Well, it could go in this bed:

Didn't it have to be cleaned out before I could plant the agave?  Nah; just find a non-weed area and stick a plant in the ground:

But wasn't I raised better than this? Wasn't I taught not to do half a job? Of course! So this is what happened to the two beds against this wall. See the happy little soldiers all lined up, as far as the eye can see, almost? OK, OK, a couple are not quite in formation, but I'm a volunteer.

But I had more plants. They multiplied like Tribbles. Now what? Where to put them? How about here?

No half job here either. My dear mother may no longer be with us, but I know she's watching. This is what the back part of the bed looked like at 6:30 this morning, after I'd dug out a couple of those stinkin' pretty weeds. There is no pulling them sweetly from the ground. They have a tap root and have to be dug out. I discovered I am a left-footed shoveler; my right foot doesn't hit the shovel right and I have the bruise on my instep to prove it.

And this is the same bed at 8:30 this morning. Yes, 8:30. This child of the 60s did the work in two hours. Yes, I'm bragging.

At about 11:30 I called it quits, having drunk enough water to float a boat and accumulated enough dirt on myself to plant a totally separate bed. Before I left for the day, though, I had the idea of sticking in a flag at each plant. Some of the transplants are just babies and I had a hard time finding them to water, and was also stepping all over them, so I borrowed some Danger! Pesticide! flags and saluted each little agave with one. Here they are, drooping in the calm air:

And also here. See them drooping too, all the way to the back?

You might think I've made good progress. I thought so, too, until I took another look at the bed I'm supposed to be cleaning out and it doesn't look like I've made a dent at all. Not really. I'm going to need some help.

I used to tell my kids, when faced with hard work like this, that it taught them the value of a good education. But wait a minute; I have a good education!


Thought of the day:
If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well. (Martin Luther King)