My day started far earlier than I wished. I was out of bed by 7:30 and (doo, doo, doo) looking out my back door at 8:00, watching and listening to the birds. Ten minutes later, the bwwwwwaaappp of a gas-powered engine shattered the quiet as a near neighbor’s yard crew set to work, leaf blowers blaring. I ask you – are gas-powered leaf blowers really necessary? And isn’t 8:10 a.m. on a Saturday just a leetle early to be disturbing the neighborhood? Within another ten minutes, another near neighbor fired up his gas-powered chain saw and started hacking at the undergrowth. Birds were probably still singing but I couldn’t hear them anymore. I sulked back inside but the house reverberated with the Saturday morning cacophony. John, of course, slept blissfully through it all.
About 10:00 a.m. he rolled out of bed, just as I set off for Home Depot. I had major repotting on my schedule and was completing out of potting mixture, and I also had to pick up some cement repair stuff, as I had set the pedestal of my concrete birdbath down just a touch too hard the day before, with the result that it had cracked clean through at the bottom. A few extra plants never hurt, and John wanted a new mini-Maglite, so I came back with the car loaded up. After yet another trip out to eat pancakes, John and I attended to the business at hand. I divided and repotted a wan-looking Peace Lily, filled up a strawberry pot with sweet potato vine and alyssium and put some early herbs into a deck box. When John came out, we repaired the busted birdbath, raked and mulched the remaining leaves in the yard, transported said leaves to the vegetable plot, then bummed a gas-powered tiller from next-door neighbor Dennis. I put on my oh-so-flattering overalls and then came back outside for a quick lesson in tilling from John. In the past he has always tilled the vegetable patch; this year he decided that I needed to learn. I learned how to start it (first, make sure you have gasoline – off to the gas station), then make sure there’s oil in the tiller (bone-dry – fortunately we had plenty), then open the choke and start yanking the start line. Neighbor Dennis came over to advise and the darn thing exploded to noisy life.
Since we haven’t had any appreciable precipitation in weeks, the soil was nice and dry and tilled easily. The whirling blades of the tiller chewed the dead leaves and dirt together, spitting them out into a nice, crumbly brown soil. I probably did about two runs down the plot, but the tiller is kind of heavy and I find it difficult to persuade it out of one track and into another. John took over and did his usual thorough job; I watched and provided PowerAde as needed.
It took us two solid hours to get the plot completely tilled. I can only hope the near neighbors were trying to take an afternoon nap.