I had a big pre-snow afternoon.  The temperatures are hovering 2-5 degrees above zero at night now, and the snow is close enough now to be imagined covering everything, so now is the time to clean the yard of anything that you don’t want to have to deal when it melts next year.

My main goal of the day was to mulch the potatoes that I’m leaving in the ground, and also to take down my upside down tomatoes that were becoming very unsightly.

Here’s how that went.

First I need to put the trickle charger on my battery but before I move my truck I should load in the stuff I need tomorrow, and to do that I need to unhitch the trailer, and then I see the compost is full when I’m looking for a wrench to undo the battery. I might as well dump the compost on my way to the garden, and there’s also garbage; I might as well load that up too but the bags are ripping, and on my way to get more garbage bags I see some plastic by the side of the garage that should go to the dump too and then the whole side of the garage is piled with wood and ancient tires and garbage that were here when we moved in, and I sort and load all of that junk and move the wood into the scrap wood shed, and then I notice a snarl of fencing and barbed wire to drag to someplace better, and then when I move the tires to the tire pile, I see some more plastic in the woods and follow the trail of garbage that some bear dragged away and distributed long ago, and then if I’m loading up for the dump now I might as well address the old slash pile, and clean up the old wood and berry brambles on that, and after that, then I should move all the ash so the burn scar could rehab to grass, and for that I need the wheelbarrow.

That’s the first time I got near the garden, because that’s where the wheelbarrow was.

While I’m in the paddock with an empty wheelbarrow I may as well pick up all the manure first, and if I’m doing that then I can clean up some leaves too, and then I move a couple loads of ash and dirt off the burn scar, and since the tomato dirt is going to the same place I can take those down (aha!) and then I have to put those pots away and while I’m there I should rip out the squash and corn patch that didn’t do so well, refill Mucky’s water, and empty the basil pots and all those stalks go in the compost bucket and then I go to dump that at last, and over there I find some more garbage and clean up a bunch of rocks that  Mucky’s been strewing around, and put away some more random wood.

Now I’m hungry.  And filthy.  So I have to wash my hands before I eat anything, and there’s some dishes to wash, but the light is starting to fade, so I get back outside asap, and start moving hay.  Luckily, nothing else got between me and the hay pile.

I move the whole remaining haypile onto the potatoes, heaping them a foot deep in the dark, disintegrating mulch.  I feel pretty silly squinting to see where I’m dumping the barrow while passing cars all have their lights on.  It’s so dark when I finish that I lose track of the pitchfork and am stumbling around trying to even out the hay on the potato bed.

Mission accomplished!


On one hand I feel like I should follow priorities from the top down, most important first, but on the other hand, working like this feels perfectly organic and smooth.  Following the trail of all the things wanting doing that catch my eye, or as they make sense to pick up as I’m on the way to do something else, feels very active and efficient.  Although the main goal often seems to be getting farther and farther away, as I’m suddenly moving firewood and fixing tools and cleaning out my truck when I meant to be building windows, it also seems full of faith, that it will all get done at exactly the right time, and maybe it’s perfect timing to be doing what comes to hand.

If I see something I want to do and can’t do it right then because I “have to” do something else, I get a little agitated, and have to make a mental note, and the mental notes can add up.  However, working in this way is so mentally freeing because there is nothing in my head or distracting me, except one overall thought (“eventually, I want to get to the haypile”).  It’s not easy to do, because time needs to be or feel open-ended, and the “should”s are powerful, but working in this way is so liberating.  For me.

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