Pandemic Distraction — Wandering In the Nursery Fields on Sunday Morning

Walking the field this morning, I see a dirty T-shirt that came off in yesterdays heat.  I don’t feel like taking into the laundry. My pocket knife turns it to rags in 3 minutes flat and all get stuffed in a pocket.  

What was I doing before?  Carrying plastic plant buckets to the back nursery.  Shoot, there’s a whole cart of plants I should be taking back too. Too much for now. Inefficient.  Attention roams. 17 Autumn Poker Plants need dead leaves pruned and pots wiped so they’ll go out spiffy in the morning mail.  That doesn’t engage me. It’s Sunday, I can be inefficient.  But Broom Ferns do need tipping. Wait here’s something, a couple of old pears fell onto the black tarp.  That’s what I need to do. The very thing. Holler!  Donkey summons and I pull the pocket knife back out, cut nice slices and spend half an hour feeding two fat donkeys.  

This is the rich life. Unproductive. Wandering, not being able to focus, moving things around from here to there, spoiling farm animals.

Spiky, thorny leaves, poking straight up grab my attention.  Well not just the leaves but the contrast of tender-skinned tree frogs hunkered down in the spines.  I can do that. Dump that pot out, hack back the leaves. Carry leaves and tree frogs to the compost.  Machete up the basal plant and pot up a dozen Eryingium pandanifolium. That did feel productive; one pot  turned into twelve, all lined up, watered in, looking orderly. Feeling productive. But they’ll never sell.  What a luxury to fool around with pet plants, rearrange them, move them to a new spot where the pears used to rot.

Phone alarm goes off to remind me of a big galvanized pipe arbor on my truck, salvaged from a garden renovation. It was on the way to the dump. It was too good. An hour later, loaded and strapped on the pick up, I made a text announcement to friends and found it a new home.  That alarm tells me it’s time to deliver the old arbor that probably should have gone to the dump, to its new home where someone will be happy to plant gourds on it next summer.  

I can’t turn the durn buzzing alarm off.  Standing barefoot in the field trying to click. The slick phone screen can’t feel my fingers through potting soil and worm parts. Stop buzzing. Wait a new alert popped up in the cracked top of the screen.  A news-looking headline advertisement — Jellyfish Powder Relived CoVid ADHD!  Click Here.  Grimy finger can’t click. Oh wait, thank goodness, in my pocket, a rag cut from a dirty t-shirt solved the problem. 


  1. William Balk on September 6, 2020 at 11:29 am

    … a moment’s pause as I considered the skinned tree frogs, tenderly stuffed between the Eryngium spikes!

    – a lovely Sunday morning!

    • Jenks Farmer on September 8, 2020 at 7:04 am

      Is this better? “tender-skinned tree frogs”

  2. Lynn Moredock on September 6, 2020 at 11:47 am

    As I was preparing to move some indoor plants to the porch to make room in an area to replant some coreopsis I remembered I needed to come back inside to retrieve the weed trimmer battery since I also needed to trim around the viburnum. Then I noticed the laptop was charged . . . well, I needed to sit down for a minute. And, what do you know – I ran across this amusing little essay! Now that was fun.

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