Do you have one thing that you love doing where you just have to get dirty to do it right? (I am quickly realizing that this could be taken completely the wrong way! LOL!) Could be a hobby, perhaps just a certain dish that you like to make that usually ends with you being a globby mess? Painting? Gardening? Bread baking? Maybe you relish in the time you spend scrubbing your floors on your hands and knees because the fresh Lysol smell is an effervescent aroma to your nostrils and the sheen with which it shines causes you inexplicable rapturous joy? :^D

I find something very satisfying in the act of getting on my hands and knees in the dirt. Perhaps I just never grew out of my love for playing in the mud and climbing trees. Perhaps, it’s mostly that I just love flowers. Could it be related to the fact that I don’t care what color it is so long as it is not white and freezy? (We have snow for 6-7 months of the year.) I’m still not exactly sure why I find gardening so fulfilling, besides that I just love to watch things grow. I’m still a novice with only a couple of years of experience, especially in this harsh far Northern climate, under my belt. But I am like a sponge, soaking up every bit of information my expert friend teaches me.

Left to my own devices I would probably spend much of my time either writing, internetting (couldn’t think of a singular term for all I do on the web) and gardening. I even sort of like weeding (except when it’s dandelions in my lawn!)

Today, with the tireless help of two very dear friends, I spent about 8 hours straight working my yard. You see, last year it was nothing but a heap of dirt. We live in a brand new community so our yard was nothing but a giant lump of potential. Now it is literally covered with perennials. I think I have about 40 varieties of perennials in my front and back yards now, thanks in large part to my friend (who happens to be a landscaping architect and a genius with regards to all things living and green) giving me several cuttings of all of her favorite perennials.

I’m absolutely and completely exhausted. My muscles ache. My eyes refuse to stay entirely opened. I am making a lot more typos than I usually do. But I feel so satisfied. I feel so ready to spend my mornings watering and admiring the beauty.

When you do that dirty job that you love, what exactly is it about it that gives you such pleasure? Is it your escape? Do you love it because it does what you want it to without you having to remind it a couple hundred times? (ie. “For the hundredth time, please don’t leave your socks all over the house!!”) Does it just fulfill a deep longing or need? Or is it pleasingly predictable?

This is also posted at The Well Drained Mind, a blog for homeschooling Moms.

11 thoughts on “Dirty Work

  1. I love working in the flowers, too.But I can’t seem to get all the dirt off of me before I come inside and walk down the hall

  2. i love your writing! it’s so clear + flowing + descriptive + i can relate!i’m into weeding lately too + i think it’s analogous to parenting. you have to spend time at it to really know the plants/kids, give them a weedfree nutritious environment + water + they’ll bloom + do the rest. the attention is love + it’s satisfying to know your efforts helped them thrive.

  3. i used to hate dandelions too, because they’re hard to pull up, but i noticed if i stick a little pointy hand shovel down + at an angle to break the root deeply, the whole dandelion pulls right out + leaves the grass intact with no hole. i know people eat dandelion leaves, like in vietnamese spring rolls, but i wouldn’t eat them from my yard.

  4. Oh, Pamela… I know all too well what you mean! Not to mention that when I work outside, it usually means, all six of us are “working” outside. I usually have a lot of sweeping and wall washing to do afterwards!Great analogy mod*mom and thanks so much for the kind compliment. I really appreciate it!I figured out that dandelion trick when living in Texas too. But when there are so many of them I still hate it. And I can’t bring myself to eat them no matter what… not because they probably aren’t good but because I’m so mad at them I don’t want to look at them again! LOL!

  5. I worked in my yard all weekend with my oldest and it was nice 1. spending time with her and 2. being able to see the end results!

  6. your yard sounds amazing. i can’t wait to see pictures. and i think the thing that gives me the most pleasure of late is cleaning my house. the process of cleaning is very fulfilling to me. something about the before and after effect. i love it.

  7. What a great post! I would love to see your pretty flowers! I’ll bet you’ll sleep well tonight!Kelli

  8. I am fascinated that you lived in Texas where it couldn’t get hotter, and now live so far north that you have snow 6-7 months of the year! How have you managed to adjust. I happen to prefer colder weather and love snow, but I don’t know how I’d feel about it if I got so much of it.Also: what perennials do you grow in that climate? Do you grow vegetables too?I love being in the dirt. I’ll tell you, I am really missing staying home. If my business ever takes off, I hope I get to be home way more often. I don’t get nearly enough time in my garden now.

  9. Nan..I’ve come across ur blog for the very first time..and read some things out of this world..written in perfect tempo and humor and yes..the tips n tricks n advice..have amused me!!keep bloggin!

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