Monday, March 22, 2010

What I learned From Yard Work - Lynn Raye Harris

Yard work is worse than a four-letter word. Or it is for me. Perhaps you love it. Perhaps you love those first bright days of spring, when the weather is getting warmer and the garden calls to you to dig and plant and mulch.

Me, not so much. But it has to be done, or I’m likely to get drummed out of the neighborhood for having a really crappy yard. I don’t think the neighbors would appreciate me bringing down their property value. :)

This weekend I did what any grown woman would do. I called my parents and begged for help. My husband, darling man that he is, is a computer geek. Not only does he despise yard work (except for the mowing and weed eating – odd, huh?), he also starts to sneeze and hack within mere moments of shifting soil.

And my flowerbeds were in desperate need of attention. The shrubs needed pruning, and there was a lot of grass that had overgrown the beds and needed digging out. I tried doing it myself, but the task was so overwhelming that I collapsed in tears the last time I attempted it.

Saturday morning, my parents arrived loaded down with gardening tools and the knowledge I lack. They accomplished in one day what I would have never managed in a month of weekends. Of course I helped! And I learned a ton in the process.

It was a long day, exhausting, but I now have clean flowerbeds, neat shrubs, pretty flowers, and my house no longer looks like a candidate for a horror movie location. Somewhere during this whole day, the garage got cleaned and rearranged too (Hubby was a primary part of that project).

You may be wondering what this has to do with writing or reading. A lot, I think. Because after the day was over and I was pondering all we’d accomplished, I thought of the manuscript I’m working on right now. When I’m writing, I have no idea where the thorny weeds will be lurking in the book or how long it will take me to pull them out and clean the beds. I just know it has to be done, no matter how much I’m not looking forward to it. I may not call my parents to help, but my editor will definitely have suggestions when I send her the completed book – she knows where to trim the shrubs and how to plant the prettiest flowers.

As for reading, if the characters didn’t go through a spot of trouble, the book wouldn’t be very interesting, would it? I love it when a character has to do something hard in order to gain the reward at the end. In my books, the hero and heroine always have a lot of digging and pruning to do before they get their happy ending!

Basically, what I learned from yard work this weekend is that nothing worthwhile is accomplished without a bit of sweat. And there’s always someone else who knows more than you do and can help you through the rough bits. Thank heavens!

Do you like gardening? If so, do you have any good tips for a non-gardener like myself?

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denise said...

I love gardening. Invest in a good pair of gloves.
The end result makes it all worthwhile. It is great when you can smell the flowers or get vegetables from the garden.
Hang in there!

Virginia said...

You can't do a lot of yard work around here yet it is still to cold, although I did get out last week and chopped on my shrubs. It was about sixty then but now its cold again! I can't say I love yard work but it someone has to do it. I love being outside in the spring! But I soon tire of the work!

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

With my knee surgery pending, I've had to hire some of mine out. Can't wait until I'm fit again to get outside.

Send your hubby my way, you should see the mess in my garage plus the fact I have a MG it in that hasn't been driven in years!

Nicole S said...

I do enjoy spending a weekend doing yard work, gets me exercise in for the day lol. I enjoy being outdoors so that motivates me to do it, especially when it's a nice spring day. I do a little gardening, I plant a couple different varieties of flowers every spring. I wish I knew more about gardening, but with my limited knowledge I enjoy planting a little something.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Hi, Denise. I so agree abut the smells from the garden! I just wish I was better at it. I did grow tomatoes once. That was fun, and they were so much better than the store bought ones. :)

Virginia, we had a lovely day on Saturday -- 71 degrees, gorgeous. Today, we had a snowy/sleety mixed rain this morning and it's freezing cold outside! But the nice temps will be back later in the week, thankfully!

Hi, Marilyn! My hubby is a good garage cleaning kind of guy. :) He'd love the MG -- except he probably wouldn't fit in it, LOL! He's 6'2" and likes a big car. :)

I'm with you, Nicole! I wish I knew more about gardening. But I don't have the patience to learn, really. I tried starting seeds once. Didn't work at all!

Kathy said...

Hi Lynn! Waving at you from my window. LOL!

Weeding? Pruning? E-gads! Is it that time of year again? Actually my hubby pruned back our honeysuckle vines this weekend for me. He loves yard work!

I'm finally getting the urge to plant flowers but know that the mess in my flower beds will take days/many weekends to prepare as I did nothing to them in the fall.

But what I really wanted to say was how much I appreciated your comparison of writing and gardening. Sometimes wisdom comes from the simplest of things and you really struck a nerve with me today.

Off to write! (And plan on working out in the flower beds this weekend. Arrrr!)

Mary said...

I hate gardening, hate it with a capital H. I don't like getting my hands dirty, I don't like all my plants dying because I hate gardening. I don't like the bugs, bee's, tomato worms on the tomatoes, bee's...Yeah did I mention the bee's?

Probably why I like it here in Las Vegas where everyone has cut the grass out, and put down rock, sand, or desert landscape and cacti that doesn't need alot of tending too....Oh yeah and I don't like bee's. lol

Anonymous said...


Lynn Raye Harris said...

Hi, Kathy! I'm really happy the gardening/writing metaphor worked for you! I really did see the comparison after the day was over. It's so similar, even if the two activities are vastly different. :)

Mary, I'm with you on the bugs! I think I'd miss grass, though. I do love the green and multi-colors when all the plants are blooming in spring.

Sue A. said...

I leave the gardening to the other members of the house. But I do enjoy the herbs growing in the garden and like to cook with them.

cheryl c said...

I love flower gardens, but I only plant in a few pots every year. I guess I am not willing to invest a whole lot of time and effort in maintaining a lot of flowers. I am too busy reading!