I Garden

by Madeline Laughs

Image by Madeline Laughs

Don’t you delight when a noun can become a verb by virtue of placement?

The last two weeks I have gardened.

Last week I planted seeds in these handy dandy peat moss pods. They come in a plastic tray that has a clear lid so you can gauge your seedlings progress without lifting the lid. I must confess that I am still a lid-lifter though. 

Last year I was in such a hurry to get them going that I pushed seeds into the peat pods willy nilly. When they sprouted I had no idea what was what, except the ones I have been growing for years and could recognize at this stage. I ended up killing many of my seedlings this way. This year I carefully labeled everything. It is such a feeling of accomplishment in organization and I am more excited about their progress now that I know what I’m watching come up.

My giant sunflower seedlings are just in that lazy first curl from the seed pod.

Image by Madeline Laughs

Today I ventured out to tackle some of the pressing yard maintenance regarding my garden plot. It was frustrating and I stomped around quite a bit. It seems like I am the only one that maintains the garden, but everyone else loves to eat the garden. How does this happen?

Lunch ala Katydid

Bugs Bunny Fence

I put up a rabbit fence last year. After three failed attempts to get my tender loofah seedlings into ground, only to come out the next day and find them nibbled down to the roots, I got fed up. Bugs Bunny would not get the best of me!

I toiled over this fence. I buried part of it under the ground so the bunny couldn’t dig underneath. I pounded stakes at crucial points to keep it standing up straight. I zip tied everything snug as a bug in a rug. And then tripped over it for the rest of the summer, which resulted in scraps and bruises on my shins.

All of that work was for naught. The bunny just used it as his own special gymnast routine and hopped right over it and helped himself to whatever he wanted.

I built this nifty bird feeder out of an old satellite dish and placed it on a tall post right near the upstairs deck. My intention was for it to be Kitty TV. One of their hammocks is right in that corner and they could sit in it together and coo and growl at the birdies below, without any one being harmed in the process.

Mavros watches Kitty TV

What I did not consider at the time was I had placed Kitty TV right in front of my garden plot. I had encouraged the birds to feed right where I was intending to plant seeds. The morning I planted my giant sunflower seeds, a Grackle sat in the feeder and watched me. I went upstairs for a water and saw him hop from one planted seed to the next, scratch them up and dine. This would never do!

Re-purposed Satellite Dish Bird Feeder

I emptied Kitty TV for the summer and placed a rotating scarecrow underneath of it to discourage the birds from coming around. We would continue their feedings in the Fall.

Billy the Spinning Scarecrow from HQ Kites

Today I set about winding up the soaker hose that has lain in the yard since the end of last summer when I accidentally ran over it with the lawnmower and scattered parts of it to the nether regions. I wound it around the clothesline that I haven’t been able to use yet this spring because the hose was laying under it. Rather than wind the hose up so the long and tall grass wouldn’t sprout up in clumps around it, perhaps it just seemed so much easier to mow around all of it. I’m just sayin’.

I stacked the dozens of gigantic home made tomato cages I have, neatly in a pile. Before that they were thrown wherever it was easiest just to get them out of the way. Essentially they were just thrown everywhere and now they are not.

I pulled up the useless rabbit fence and have it ready for the garbage can. I removed the stakes and stacked them under my potting table. My potting table was a Big Garbage Day find thanks to my great friend Matthew! It’s lovely! I do everything on my potting table! And you are not allowed to make that into something naughty about me Matthew!

I pulled out the dead tomato stalks and then mowed the weeds down. The garden plot is ready to be tilled!

Speaking of tilling. You would think tilling would be the least of my concerns. It seems like it would be an easy enough task to complete. But at our house, tilling is a grand production.

My mother in law owns the tillers. She has a small one that is easy for me to load and unload in the car and I can use it on my own with absolutely no supervision. However my mother in law, who is quite hard on her power tools because she uses them almost everyday, has broken the small tiller and it’s in the shop for repairs at the moment.

So I set up a time with her to use the big tiller.

I am not allowed to use the big tiller on my own. No siree! She has to be the one that operates the big tiller, even though I am twice her size. It takes two or three people to load the big tiller into her truck to get it over here. Then two or three people have to unload the big tiller. That should give you an idea of how big this machine is.

My mother in law can operate that tiller all by her onesie! And she has absolutely no fear of it either!! She can start it up and she can get it going, but the tiller actually operates her by dragging her in all different directions until she releases the hand control. Releasing the hand control turns the tiller’s motor off, so there is a lot of starting and stopping which takes up a nice chunk of the day and results in the garden plot looking like a zigzag of ruts. No worries though because the earth is easily managed and besides, who wants an orderly looking garden? Not me!

I stand on the sidelines on tilling day and worry the whole time though.

Picture a tiny woman behind a big tiller. She starts the motor and the tiller jerks her into motion. She does this wild marching dance trying to keep up with tiller as it tears across the ground for a few minutes, then she releases the hand control so the motor will turn off and she can take a much deserved break from the horrific vibrations from the motor. And then she starts the dance all over again in a minute or two. She looks like she’s being pulled around the yard like a marionette on strings.

I always stand ready to jump in and rescue her, but I’ve never had to do that because she is one tough cookie in the garden.

Tilling the garden also involves a lot of yelling.

Come to think of it, most outdoor activities involving my mother in law will always involve some sort of raised voice, whether it be actual yelling in order to be heard over the din of a power tool, or yelling, which is sometimes used in place of just casual conversation because we are in different parts of the yard working.

I was tempted to buy my own tiller this year, but I’m sure I’d miss this fun of this and regret it.

Our garden has evolved (my new favorite word for everything). This is the first garden we had at this house.

Our first vegetable garden on the beach

And this was our garden last year!

Our vegetable garden – front view

Our vegetable garden – back view

I’m excited about what this wonderful piece of Earth will produce for us this year! Stay tuned! I’ll have pictures! If you need me in the meantime…I’ll be gardening.

About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
This entry was posted in All kinds of Advice and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to I Garden

  1. pobept says:

    Ahhhh yes, the old till everything trick. Hehe, to kind of sort of keep me within bounds, I drive in stakes to guid em and sort of keep me within the area I really want to till.

    Keep writing, I really enjoyed reading your blog.

    Happy gardening..


  2. Michi says:

    I can’t wait to have a garden! 🙂 Ah, it really can be a lot of hard work though. I suppose that once you learn the gardening tricks and with regular maintenance, it works out. D-Man is wonderful and incredibly patient with plants, but I mostly end up killing mine (even though I water them!), but I want to eventually learn more about them so that I can grow tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, tangerines, cilantro, basil….. mmmmmmm.


    • Do you have a small patch of land in Spain for a garden Michi? If not, how about a balcony or a patio? You can always try your hand at container gardening 🙂 I did container gardening when my husband and I lived in a DC apartment and when we moved into our townhouse we had a very small patch garden in the postage stamp yard we had out back. I found I could grow a lovely salad in a very small space. I liked to grow the unusual like yellow pear tomatoes and arugula with Thai basil and glorious sweet peas.

      I grew up always having a garden around. My grandmother was a terrific gardener, but she never wanted my help after I picked a bouquet of her squash and zucchini blossoms one year. I thought they were fabulous and had no idea I had just ruined her crop. My wonderful Greek mother in law taught me how to garden on my own. I’m going to write about it in my next post 🙂 You’ll love it!

      Until you can have a garden, you can live vicariously through mine this summer. I’ll tell you everything I know 🙂 Oh! And I ordered oodles of strawberries this year too!!!


  3. Hey Madeline,
    Thanks for the backlink! I enjoyed reading your post, particularly your creative repurposing of a satellite dish. Not having one myself, I can’t think of a more worthy use for one!


    • Thank you Ashley 🙂 I have another one that I made into a planter. On Big Trash Day here you can find a lot of old satellite dishes waiting to go to the dump. I figure they still have some life in them!! Please come back and visit often 🙂


  4. Regyna Longlank says:

    Oh you are so funny. I just sit here and chuckle to myself like a fruitcake and it’s the best. I am in love with your mother in law, and am demanding youtube or some such evidence. Cites! : ) ps, I have not forgotten about the cookies. just sayin’ LOL


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