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In the garden

From yesterday:

There’s something about watching a healthy young guy do sweaty, muscle-taxing “man’s work.”

After he’d chopped up three designated planting areas for me. The Wandering Monk and I talked a while. We unfortunately agreed that much of the upcoming crop of young men — with their declining testosterone, estrogen-mimicking soy-and-plastic diets, and cultural castration — will be incapable of doing this sort of work. And that will be a loss both to them and to the women of their generation. To society, as well.

Of course, my generation wasn’t fond of sweaty manual labor, either, and as a young woman I preferred the wan, intellectual-artsy type to impressive ditch diggers. But the men of “my” day were (and judging by the hearty men of a certain age hereabouts, still are) capable.

I worry about the future — and am glad it’s not really my worry at all. Anyhow, the human race is awesomely adaptable.

—–

Today I got about half the fall bulbs planted. I confess I pretty quickly began ignoring the various “plant 6″ deep and 10″ apart … no make this one 4″ deep and 3″ apart” business. I resorted to guessing, setting everything shallowly, then heaping loose dirt or lightly broken clods over the bulbs that needed to be planted deeper.

I reasoned that this is the Pacific Northwest. Everything grows here. It’s a freakin’ rain forest, isn’t it? And these are bulbs. It takes more than my black thumb to kill bulbs. So I winged it and will see what emerges next spring.

“I’m not a gardener,” I kept reminding myself. “I hate doing this. There are spiders out here. Worms. Beetles. And dirt!” I cursed Neighbor J for dragging me into this project. Even with the pre-broken soil so kindly engineered by the Monk, the ground was thick with matted grass roots and difficult to work in places.

Then after I saw how far I’d gotten, I emailed Furrydoc to ask if an offer she made a few months ago of bulbs from her garden was still open.

Besides, it was a beautiful day — better than many days of summer. And more is to come.

13 Comments

  1. Bear
    Bear October 11, 2018 7:17 pm

    “We unfortunately agreed that much of the upcoming crop of young men — with their declining testosterone, estrogen-mimicking soy-and-plastic diets, and cultural castration…”

    Oh, dear Bog… during Hurricane Michael (missed us, fortunately), my sister was watching weather.com videos. There was this — her words — soy boy reporter in in Cordele, GA…

    Freaking out out over the… wait for it… FROGS.

    It rained. In Georgia. As generally happens after rain, the now-happy frogs got loud.

    And SoyBoy(tm) seemed to think they were coming to devour him. Pretty much trembling and kept looking over his shoulder.

    My sister laughed for maybe half an hour. And I did a lot of giggling myself.

    I doubt he’s even heard the word “testosterone.”

  2. ellendra
    ellendra October 11, 2018 10:07 pm

    If the Monk ever feels like traveling to Wisconsin, I’d be happy to watch him work 😉

  3. Ron Johnson
    Ron Johnson October 12, 2018 5:23 am

    Ellendra, us Wisconsonite (formerly Yooper) men don’t need the competition.

  4. Owl
    Owl October 12, 2018 5:39 am

    “If the Monk ever feels like traveling to Wisconsin, I’d be happy to watch him work 😉”

    ellendra, you reminded me of a conversation I had about 45 years ago.

    I was working on a factory floor. During break time, a young guy was servicing the vending machines in the break room. I was sitting at a table with a Portuguese lady. She was maybe 50 years old, or so, but to this teenager she was old. She softly remarked, with a mischievous smile “Now that’s a nice looking boy.”
    I replied, in mock horror,”You’re a grandmother! You shouldn’t be looking at him like that!”

    She said “You can look, but not touch. You stop looking, you’re dead.”

  5. James
    James October 12, 2018 7:06 am

    She said “You can look, but not touch. You stop looking, you’re dead.”

    From the reciprocal side of the gender system, I agree with her completely. Hey, I’m 64. I’m married. I have no practical interest in the womenfolk. But I’m not blind. And I’m glad not to be!

  6. Claire
    Claire October 12, 2018 7:22 am

    She said “You can look, but not touch. You stop looking, you’re dead.”

    Exactly. Applies with both men and women. I aesthetically enjoy both sexes while being glad not to be “in the game” any more.

    OTOH, Ellendra and the Monk are roughly the same age, so she could enjoy looking without having to explain herself to anybody.

  7. Claire
    Claire October 12, 2018 7:28 am

    “Freaking out out over the… wait for it… FROGS.”

    Lordy. What exactly did he think they were going to do to him?

    http://www.scaryforkids.com/frogs/

    (BTW, I tried to find the original story on which the one at the link was based. Anybody remember who wrote it? I keep thinking it was Lovecraft or somebody in his circle, but on my very quick search to find something for this comment, this little kidly ripoff was all I found.)

  8. larryarnold
    larryarnold October 12, 2018 9:45 am

    coming to devour him

    Don’t know about hormones, but soy boy obviously hasn’t been outdoors enough.

    A loud frog chorus is a sign that there aren’t any large, dangerous predators moving silently about. The Real Worrytime is when all the noisy critters suddenly go quiet.

  9. Joel
    Joel October 12, 2018 10:24 am

    😀 I had the same thought. To my experience loud frogs are a sign that all’s well.

  10. Comrade X
    Comrade X October 12, 2018 10:36 am

    This reminds of a time when living in the Blue Ridge my better half tilled a very large garden that had never been tilled before with a grubbing hoe, she also could have done some serious damage to “the upcoming crop of young men — with their declining testosterone, estrogen-mimicking soy-and-plastic diets, and cultural castration…” if that occasion had arisen too.

    My accuse was I was working a job in town every day but it is good when you have someone that will get the job done when needed and not put up with someone else’s BS excuses too.

  11. Jorge
    Jorge October 12, 2018 12:25 pm

    “I worry about the future — and am glad it’s not really my worry at all. Anyhow, the human race is awesomely adaptable.”

    The human race is very adaptable and most of it is not located in the US or Europe. Not that other places do not have problems. They do, some of them far more serious and immediate. But effeminate men tends to be a problem of rich societies. In other places such individuals would not last long.

  12. coloradohermit
    coloradohermit October 12, 2018 3:12 pm

    She said “You can look, but not touch. You stop looking, you’re dead.”

    That’s my philosophy, but I’m finding the opportunities to be fewer and farther between with the young men of today. One of those many reasons that I’m glad I’m old and not looking for a mate. I did enjoy the Monk’s picture and you can post him anytime. 😉

    Although that is a wonderful view even without the Monk and your spring flowers will be fantastic!

  13. david
    david October 12, 2018 9:49 pm

    Bear – soyboy is likely on YouTube, and it sounds humorous. Could you maybe find a video and share the URL?

    Claire – as a sometimes sweaty old guy, I find a status of ‘capable’ is increasingly hard to maintain. Not because I’m aging out. Au contraire, I continue to build my skill sets, although I now build century or more old skills, given that almost any SHTF scenario implies the end of electrical power.

    However I find that our throw-away society makes it so much more difficult to be ‘capable’. Things that I used to have to save money to buy and then maintain (as did most blue collar men of my father’s generation) are now so shoddy as to be difficult to maintain due to the use of cheaper and shorter-lived component parts.

    IF you can find parts, they are frequently unfit for use (I recently bought and returned the tailgate ‘cup’ hinge for the bottom of my trucks tailgate. Three different vendors of ‘national’ size all use the same asian supplier, and not one of the part sets I bought had both pieces able to be fit together.). But getting parts is now an exercise in itself. I currently have a string trimmer that needed a carb cleaning and a new foam air filter. I found a guy to clean the little carb, but so far can’t find a replacement for that deteriorated air filter. And it’s a Nationally known brand name pet.

    I can start a fire with one match or none. I can build a log cabin with an ax and block & tackle. I can butcher any animal I kill. I can make a forge and the tools I need. But I can’t make parts for the appliances I have and find it increasingly hard to buy them, so my ‘capability’ badge is out the window.

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