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SapereAude
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Well, I had a great day yesterday and essentially I am here to brag since I know very few people locally who would understand what I felt yesterday.

I own a bar/restaurant where I am the only person in the kitchen, I have one waitress. We're open five days a week. On the five days we're open I work generally from 8am to between midnight & 2am. On our two closed days I work an average of 6-8 hours each cleaning, shopping, making homemade pickles and suchlike.

That is mainly to give you a clear picture of how little time I have to do anything else.

A few years ago I purchased a house sitting on about 1/4 acre. Over the past couple years we've been getting the land ready for growing a great deal of our own crops.

This year was problematic. We had an unseasonably cold and wet spring, the nature of which wasn't expected. Having done our planting at the normal interval I had a lot of wasted work, effort & seed when the ground kept refrosting, thawing not to mention far above average precipitation which caused a great deal of our planting to be lost to rotting in the ground.

Despite all that and being in pretty bad shape (broke a couple fingers and haven't been able to take the time off to get that dealt with) I managed to get in a bunch of new planting some of which will hopefully start yielding within the next 6 weeks. All told I've got more than 20 rows now of viable produce, not counting all the herb beds put down. I give a great deal of credit for how much people enjoy my place to the produce & herbs used being picked that morning before I head in.

Here's what I've got that coming up soon:

Misc heirloom salad green including "corn salad" and assorted cresses

Several radish varieties

Asst Asian salad greens like mizuna & young mustard

5 varieties of tomato

Beet berries

2 varieties of cucumbers

Corn

Shiso/perilla/obha

Beets

Cabbages

Asian flowering broccoli

Several kinds of carrots

Onions

Garlic

Nasturtium

Chilis

Peppers

Beans

Eggplants

2 kinds of strawberries

One of the best parts of the days work was releasing ladybugs. For those of you not into gardening ladybugs are a great way of natural pest control, excellent for limiting the amount of chemicals on your food. Generally you can buy them in packets of roughly 1000 to 1500 to release on your property. You can imagine, I'm sure, the spectacle of thousands of ladybugs everywhere... it was pretty cool on its own but as I was getting up from spreading them around one stared to fly away and not 3 feet from my face a bird swooped in and ate him. Her? Whatever, it was pretty cool.

The point of this all is that giving the intensity, volume & duration of the labour I perform I have a tendency to go on autopilot.

Not in a slack-jawed clerk kind of way.. I'm always working to maintain & improve what I have built but at times I become admittedly numb to it all.

It can become easy to tune out the joy of even the things you love when you find yourself consistantly needing to work beyond certain levels of exhaustion.

And that is why I'm posting this.

Yesterday I connected again to not just loving my work but the thing that is greater than that...

... I love my ability to work the way I do. That I can get up in pain and tired and wanting nothing more than to spend the day drinking sake & watching bad movies and power through that weakness to do something difficult, productive and ultimately more fulfilling.

Our self regard, our self respect, must come from some source or we become as the leeches, the moochers and the lifeless are. It is good to indentify that sometimes in concrete.

My self respect goes deeper than that I do my job well. It comes from doing it well even when I'm too tired to do it, and from always adding more work on top of that.

The living of an examined and productive life.

And then, when all was done I sat on my porch with my gray muzzled dog and drank mint juleps while the sun set.

I was a proud and happy redneck.

That's all.

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Fantastic, QuoVadis. As a former restaurant owner, I can empathize. As a human being, I can appreciate your lust for life and share in your joy! Thanks for posting at a time when I'm beginning to think we're all so royally screwed and nearly deluged by the vast hordes of moochers and looters.

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Well, I had a great day yesterday and essentially I am here to brag since I know very few people locally who would understand what I felt yesterday.

I was a proud and happy redneck.

That's all.

Thanks. I needed that. It is always nice to hear from someone who enjoys working hard, smart, and well.

(We did the ladybugs a few years ago, also. Then, their Asian cousins invaded the midwest and we really had them. They are interesting.)

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Thanks for the refreshing post. For anyone who has the chance to grow a garden, but hasnt, I recommend it. Theres something about digging in the soil, and producing veggies from a seed, its good for the soul. Not to mention everything tastes better when you've grown it yourself. Watering the plants after work is a great way to wind down the day and clear your head. You sound like your doing well, even with your long days and busy schedule, but its also nice to hear that people still enjoy the simple things life has to offer.

j..

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We have about .20 acres in a suburban area. I'm sick of pointlessly mowing the lawn, so next year I'm going to put in a garden, and slowly start shrinking my lawn area, and increasing my garden area.

Once the back yard is full, I'll move on to the front yard. :D

We've also been buying meat shares and CSAs from local farms, and plan on volunteering at those farms to help out with work.

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We have about .20 acres in a suburban area. I'm sick of pointlessly mowing the lawn, so next year I'm going to put in a garden, and slowly start shrinking my lawn area, and increasing my garden area.

Once the back yard is full, I'll move on to the front yard. :D

We've also been buying meat shares and CSAs from local farms, and plan on volunteering at those farms to help out with work.

I bet in exchange for your work a CSA might lend you their roto-tiller for the day. Hardest part of all is getting all the grass up. Some thing w/compost & fertilizer, do a little volunteer work they're probably trade you some manure.

There is a book called Square Foot Gardening from awhile back.

While it is kind of old fashioned as far as what it gives instructions for veg/fruit wise (it was written I think in the 70's before all the cool salad varieties and heirloom stuff was available) is it a great starter book for very efficient gardening.

Great efficiency both space wise (important) but also as far as harvesting.

The way the book teaches you to time out starters, planting, harvesting and then planting more starters throughout the season is a great way to avoid wastefulo "bumper-crops" ... although bumper crops of somethings can be great if you are into preserving and canning.

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