about this blog



I started this blog in 2008. It started mainly as a way of tracking the evolution of my dry garden, and that led to an interest in photography and in the creatures that live in the garden. It's still about the garden and wildlife, but now my passion is thinking about how we humans can learn to co-exist with wild animals and plants, especially in urban areas.

Friday, 4 May 2012

personal rant


Abdominal surgery creates a challenging dilemma for gardening addicts like me. Recovery takes months and unfortunately gardening is not a recommended activity during this period. It does make sense when you think about it.  All that bending and reaching must squash and stretch the muscles so much more than a sedate walk down the street.

But the resulting conflict is truly terrible. Do I
A. feed my soul and risk my body? or
B. starve my soul of all gardening activities (look but don't touch) and look after my body?

B is clearly the rational, sensible, logical course of action. After all, it's only for a few months, blah, blah, blah ...

Why oh why is it sometimes so hard to be a rational, sensible, logical human being?







29 comments:

  1. Winter is coming - how much gardening do you do in winter? Just heal. Put a container in a window and grow a few herbs. Heal. Get a brand new notebook and make notes, add pictures of things you want to grow next year. Do the exercises the doctor gives you. Heal. Watch your favorite movies. Heal.

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    1. fortunately / unfortunately our winters are mild and gardening temptations don't stop in winter. But I do get your caring friendly message: thank you.

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  2. What about using one of those reacher-grabber tools (e.g., Nifty Nabber)? You could potentially pull weeds and leaves out of beds. And Fiskars makes a weed popper/weeder tool that you can use from an upright position. There are even accessories that you can add to rakes so it's easier to stay upright while raking.

    I'm probably a bad person for enabling.

    I hope you heal quickly!!

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    1. thank you for the good wishes and ideas.

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  3. Your surgeon knows you are a gardener? Can't you compromise on appropriate exercises that are garden related? But if it comes to the OUCH, heal first.

    I can remember my neighbour, who was a gym bunny, taking weeks? (it was many years ago) to recover from a mastectomy, and say proudly, I can Brush My Hair. Years later when it was my turn, I was disconcerted to realise I could brush my hair regardless. But I did battle to hang up the washing with one arm! My head I could reach, but the washing line was a step too high.

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    1. I suppose when we are going through these things it feels like ages, then we look back and it's all in the past. Part of our story, told in scars.

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  4. My only suggestion, Catmint, is that in a way, this is one of a garden's roles ie: healing. Maybe you're meant to do nothing. ( There are plenty you can visit. )

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    1. good idea - I like the idea of visiting gardens especially now with all the autumn colours but I think I'm meant to do nothing much really. I do wander round the garden and take photos. That's good healing.

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  5. Your garden looks beautiful. Listen, here's probably what I'd do....heal thyself:) But a little nip or clip won't hurt.....just nothing heavy with a lot of bending. Write out plans, sketch ideas, etc while your body is healing. Personally those shots are really wonderful. Also sounds like a great time to catch up on blogging:)

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    1. thanks chris, i'm so pleased you like the photos. thanks for the encouragement.

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    2. Are you feeling a tad better?:) I had a friend go through this and I remember the weeks that followed. He didn't want anyone to visit him and he hid inside his house with a remote control. Hope you are up and about.

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    3. I am defintiely feeling a tad better, trying to get used to having little energy and not fitting as much in a day as I want to. I have been through the hermit stage, like your friend. Thx so much for caring.

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  6. Catmint, look but not touch just for just awhile. Then you can garden for as long as you want ;-) Your garden is amazing! If not care for a short time, then it will just go less amazing that's all. But make sure those rare plants get some water/attention hehe... Have a great weekend!!

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  7. Catmint, I can so empathize. I spent an entire summer in a wheelchair with a ventilator, watching my husband do all the gardening. It almost killed me. The following summer I had improved enough to be able to use a grabbing tool and hand tools with handles that extended. It's been a long road back and it was hardest when I couldn't garden at all. Take care of your body AND your soul. Find ways to do a little here and there without straining. Necessity is definitely the mother of invention.... you'll find ways to do what you enjoy most without straining.

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    1. dear cathy, sounds like you learned your wisdom through hard experience. I sometimes think we all have limitations, and constantly have to adjust our expectations of what we can do with what we want to do. And that is not easy.

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  8. It's hard, but so necessary. You have to get better, and only then can your garden be your focus. Right now, the focus is you!

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    1. thank Bernie. As a social worker I know you have to look after yourself before you can look after anyone else and I guess that includes the garden.

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  9. I think everyone has said it Catmint, you are what is important at the moment. Your winter is coming, your garden will still be with you next year when you have recovered.At the moment I can barely do 1/2 an hour in the garden, my muscles are just so painful, so I have to watch others trying to keep the garden tidy, it is frustrating not being able to do it myself, but hopefully, one day, I will be back out there! Heal yourself, that is all that matters now!

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    1. you also understand Pauline, from experience. This whole thing is quite an interesting challenge, about letting go.

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  10. Good luck, what a dilemma. Sit in the garden and watch a young, sun bronzed gardener!

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    1. maybe while reading Lady Chatterley's Lover?????????

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  11. What kind of surgery did you have? Not laparascopic, I take it. Maybe there are some tasks that you can do that will not increase your intraabdominal pressure and the other tasks relegated to someone else for the meantime.

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    1. laparoascopic? - unfortunately no - I wish they could have done it that way. Thanks for the visit, Bom and good advice.

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  12. Sorry to hear that, Catmint - hope you're not in too much pain! I have a book suggestion for you -- have you read "People with Dirty Hands" by Robin Chitzoff - I just love her voice, and she has a blog too. Hope you're back to bending and stretching soon.

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    1. thanks so much for that J. I've noted it on my whiteboard and will start searching to see if it's in the local library, and check out her blog.

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    2. http://www.letterstomyagent.com/

      Her gardening blog went quiet in July 2010
      http://www.peoplewithdirtyhands.com/

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    3. thanks Diana, I checked it out anyway, and read her other blog. She is certainly a very quirky writer. I look forward to reading the book.

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  13. Dear Catmint Your garden has lived a long time so far, through the drought of 7 years odd, and then through the more recent years of rain rain and more rain. If you just let yourself get strong again and allow your body time to heal you may find new things in your garden you never knew about before. And think of all the years to come of enjoyment after those couple of months of rest! Take care of your body and the garden will still be there when your better.

    Plan something exciting for the summer. But take care of yourself now, cheers for now!

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    1. dear serena, your words are so sensible, thank you so much. cheers, catmint

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