Monday, July 13, 2015

Yes, I enjoy summertime, but ...

Here's the thing.

I live in the Midwest, home of brutal winters and scorching summers. Climate change hasn't changed it much except perhaps to make it more extreme.

I am a gardener. I dabble in dirt. One of my degrees is in dirt (okay, it's in landscaping, but you get the idea). I'm a Master Gardener. My idea of great catalog shopping is Seeds of Change and Burpees. Give me those two catalogs, a cup of coffee, a cold winter day, and I'm happy.

I have May, June, and July to garden. April is iffy and July is usually too hot. September is wrap-up time, the first frost is in October, and by November, the garden is put to bed. So when summer hits, I go into Garden Mode. I'm searching for the right plant for here, I'm cutting down a tree there, I'm drilling out a stump and planting flowers there (we have an acreage and a LOT of trees).

I also work full-time at a Real Job, so that means I'm at the Paycheck Job from 5:30 a.m. to about 5PM (I work with folks in all time zones). I'm not physically sitting at the desk, but I'm on-task if needed.

I squeeze in a bit of gardening here and there during the day (I've been known to be on a conference call with a bluetooth headset on while pulling weeds outside). Then I garden a bit at night. By 7 I call it quits.

That's when I get to write. Gee, maybe 2 hours if I'm lucky. I also try to squeeze a bit in while at the Paycheck job, but that's tough sometimes.

So summertime = not-much-writing time for me. But there is a bright side to this: I have a marvelous garden (stunning this year) and while I'm gardening I carry a digital tape recorder. I often draft an entire scene while digging, weeding, hauling, and sweating.

This means that often my best writing is done in the summer when I have little time to do it. I'm a very efficient writer in the summer because I have to be. In the winter, I can take my time, looking for the right setting or the right character or the right word. In the summer, I slap it in and move on then go back later and edit (usually on a rainy day).

So there you have it. My version of the  ♪ Summertime Blues. ♪



Margo Hoornstra said...

My mother was a gardener through and through. I often say she could put a Popsicle stick in the ground and it would sprout leaves. Sadly those genes didn't pass on to me. Hooray for you and your multi tasking abilities. Whatever it takes, right?

Jannine Gallant said...

Thimbleberry bushes rule my yard. They grow wild, look pretty, and I don't have to do anything to them. That's my kind of gardening!

Leah St. James said...

I am so completely NOT a gardener. My middle name is Death-to-Plants. :-) I'll bet your garden is just lovely.

Diane Burton said...

I love gardening and wish I could do more. With arthritis & replacement knees, it's not as pleasurable as it was before. Hubs does most of the planting now while I sidewalk supervise. :) Still, I love the effect we've achieved at our new house. Even our builder's assistant said how nice the garden in front looks. Wish you lived close, JL. We're still trying to find a landscaper to put in steps down the slope along the side of our house.