Monday, March 19, 2012

Gardening With a Handicap

Not a matched set right now.
Tomorrow it will be one week since the orthopedist told me that I could probably bear some weight on my broken foot in a week, "as long as it doesn't hurt." But it doesn't feel as if I will achieve that milestone tomorrow.

So the crutches will be my main support out in the garden for a while longer. I am managing to get around, though. Today I sat on the ground while harvesting another batch of nettles. The rain moved in before I could finish off one patch of them, much less move to the other. They are growing rapidly and soon will be too big to harvest as greens.

I also managed to plant more peas the other day by crawling and sitting, using a hand tool to make the rows. I'd be sitting out there planting the cabbages, lettuce, etc., this week, if it weren't raining now, with forecasts for rain pretty much until Saturday. 'T is spring.

I hopped on one foot, into the rain, to bring you this first tulip.
I am getting pretty good at hopping around on my left foot, as long as I know I won't be hopping on any sharp bits of wood or gravel. I was able to pot up the eggplants today and can move a watering can through the house, without spilling a drop, by wheeling myself around on our office chair.

I am fortunate. My handicap is temporary. Not everyone is so fortunate.

Jim Long, a long-time garden columnist and herb growing guru, once wrote about a woman who wanted him to show her his garden. He wondered just how he could do so, since she was blind. Most of us with sight would think this a tremendous obstacle to gardening. Yet, Long wrote, she taught him a few things about his own plants. Texture and fragrance become paramount when you have no sight. Her visit added new depth to his own appreciation of the plants he tended.

Other people tend their gardens from wheelchairs, or with numerous other physical challenges. Yet they manage, finding different ways to do things that the able-bodied do without thinking. Instead of lying down and giving in, moaning that they "cannot," they discover ways that they "can." Then they "do." Gardening is a strong call. Those of us who hear that call will do what it takes to follow it.

Sometimes we teeter. Sometimes we limp. We get our wheels stuck and bang into things. But we go on. No moaning, no complaining. Just dirt under our fingernails. Smiles on our faces. And hearts well satisfied.


Meggie said...

Hello Sandra....I have been in your situation before. It was many years ago when I lived in the city. I sat on a garden seat (wit four wheels and scooted along with my crutches beside me. Try not to overdo and remember if you jump along on one foot, you may be jecking the rest of your body out of line. It's never a good time to be injured!

Sandra M. Siebert said...

Thanks, Meggie. The hopping on one foot is generally kept to short distances only, it is too exhausting to go for long distances. "Don't overdo it" has been my mantra since I broke it. But that is difficult for me to follow.

Only in Louisiana ~ documenting the adventures we call Life! said...

Now, you are one dedicated gardener! I love your "can do" attitude! I am wondering what "nettles" are...I haven't heard of that before! I am a basic gardener though so maybe it is something out of the ordinary or something not grown in the South....hmmmm, I will have to investigate! Thanks for dropping by my blog and for your sweet words. I always feel as if all these "superwomen" bloggers are everywhere, so I was surprised when I read your comment! Now, I don't feel so bad about being "tired" at night! Glad to have stumbled into your blog and I wish for a super fast recovery for you!

Sandra M. Siebert said...

"Nettles" are otherwise known as "stinging nettles," Urtica dioica. My post right before "Springing," called "A Bone to Pick," is about that plant. Most people don't want them around because they, well, sting. But their uses are many.