Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Happy Filthy Day

Now that I have spent the better part of the week working in the garden, I get the inevitable message that a category 4 storm is on its way to my little town. It happens always when I do a major leaf clean-up as well. But never fear!

Given I have had roof/wall issues for years (now repaired), I have tarps up the wazzoo. I can use them (with left over rebar) to greenhouse my new garden and all my plants. Heh! No dang weather monster is going to stop this driven gardener, category 4 (flash floods including in this delight) or not!

It was a balmy 78 here today and I spent the day (barefoot) doing even more gardening, starting tomatoes, Chinese peas and string beans along with sets of flower seed, some I am trying for the first time. I trimmed the frost burnt (it got down to 29 degrees here, which is HIGHLY unusual) stuff, repotted/replanted some amazing donated roses I got free off Craigslist, and delighted in getting absolutely filthy. I also made plans to clean some stuff that really isn't my responsibility, but hey, shit happens.

This is my version of rolling in the mud. Happy as a pig in shit.

For ME, there is NOTHING as cleansing as getting filthy in the garden (or soaking wet giving a smelly dog a bath)! I'd already cleaned the house so this was a finishing touch.

I'm terrible with a lot of humans. My patience for selfishness and stupidity is shallow. But with animals and plants, I feel right at home. I connect in a way that I really cannot explain.

In college, I cared for the greenhouse and worked in the bio lab. In the latter case, I really CARED for the animals in the bio department something that no one else prior did--apparently for decades.

In the former, I got the greenhouse to actually BE a greenhouse instead of something that looked like one but was otherwise dysfunctional.

In the bio department, where I worked for years, I repaired, cleaned, re-equipped the aquariums (keeping them spotless), and the mammals, amphibians and reptiles had the latest stuff (at my expense as the college wouldn't pay for it) and were likewise kept immaculate, in proper-to-size housing and not overcrowded. I went in on weekends to feed and clean as necessary. Given I had sets of keys for just about everything, I had free reign. I was well known, trusted and eventually appreciated.

Despite my job description, I made it clear I would NOT euthanize an animal unless in pain or severely ill and if professors wanted pithed frogs, well, they would damn well do it themselves.

Amazingly, when I was there, fewer and fewer animals were sacrificed but more and more professors were coming to feed the line of homeless campus birds I was caring for, under heat lamps in so called "dissection bowls". I turned those killing bowls into bowls of life, and the birds were released if/when they were ready.

Teach by example? Yep! Somewhere deep in the heart of some biologists is compassion. I even had a few chemistry profs helping as I worked in that lab too. No mathematicians, sadly, though I graded and tutored upper math.

So now, as I ponder the sky that I know will bring rain in a while--something Fred understands having lived in So Cal, in fact near--I finish the dog laundry (which will grow in proportion to the rain), and we will now go out for long walks or free runs, depending.

I don't often have joyously simple days like this. And maybe because I don't, I appreciate them so very much.

Then, before dark, up to the roof to cover a wood stove pipe that doesn't have a hat.

It's a good day.