Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A mid-project break? You can do this? Apparently, yes.

Ever since the plague hit the Farm back in mid-March and my recovery meant I had taken an impromptu week off from working on Ticket Agent: A Thriller, the eighth full-length Jaclyn Johnson adventure, I had set quite a few things aside.

A few of those things included yard work.

Of course, we also have Mother Nature, a Damsel of Distress, to blame for some of this delay, too. We had a relatively mild winter here in Massachusetts, and my plan was to remove all the gravel and stones the plowing company had pushed into the lawn when we had plowable snow, plus re-setting any sod the plow blade had injured. I had planned to get that all done in the first week of April.

Then Mother Nature reared her ugly head. Six inches of snow early in the first week of April.

Once it melted, I was in a quandary: should I postpone writing and get some stuff done, or what?

I elected not to stop writing just then; I had lost too much writing time due to the illness. Besides, we hadn't taken the riding mower off the back porch, nor had we pulled the push mower out of the cellar. Also, taking care of the gravel and stones is truly a two-person job: once all the big stones are picked up, you push the remaining gravel, which is almost like paste by now, into a shovel and dump it into the wheelbarrow for placing back into the driveway.

We also had our Cape trip during April school vacation. Nothing got done here while we were there. I managed to get to sod back in place in one of the areas, but that was it. I was covering games and writing my fiction in the interim, and there are only so many hours in the day; my stamina levels aren't what they used to be, coupled with a heart condition, means that if I do yard work or anything strenuous, I'm pretty much done. Jen was riding her pony and taking care of her grad school assignment when she got home from school; she can only do so much, too, as she had a back injury while in college, and besides, she has her flower gardens to tend. Still, as April drew to a close, we hadn't done anything, and the grass grew.

I was getting antsy, folks. I needed my lawn back.

Then last week, it rained. Poured. Continual gray skies, plus cold, gray rain, hit our area. I kept writing. For the most part, we also had weekend commitments, between games and family obligations (May 1, my great aunt's memorial service; May 7, our nephew's first birthday). Nothing was getting done.

On Mother's Day, May 8, I said enough was enough. I didn't care that it was raining, there were things to do. We got the riding mower off the back porch and pulled the push mower out of hibernation (We also planted our potatoes. Remember: I'm a gardener, too). We also pulled the garden fencing off so it's ready for our use within the next two weeks.

Then, a miracle happened: the sky broke open. The clouds made way for the sun, who had seemingly wanted to let her warmth touch Massachusetts' terra firma for the first time in a week.

I had three choices: Either work on Ticket Agent, work on plotting a future project, or go outside and get something done. I couldn't touch the lawn; too wet. I decided on tackling a project I had meant to do last year.

The property on which we reside abuts a small, man-made pond, and the shore area is a little overgrown. We had tried to clear it a few years ago, but that turned out bad: we only got a portion of the way in, and it all came back. On Sunday afternoon, I started the process of re-clearing it.

Yesterday, I finally mowed the top lawn and edged it, as well as hauled away some of the brush piles. Today, I'm planning on taking the rest of the brush piles and dumping them in a larger brush pile out of sight, then taking care of the big stones in the lawn. If I get the gravel out, good. Tomorrow, mowing the rest of the lawn, and more than likely getting out the hedge clippers and attacking the remainder of the pond project. I also want to mow that down to bare earth and re-seed it, doing that this weekend. Hopefully there will be a cold beer at the end of the day, and maybe even a back rub.

Right now, my back is sore and my left leg is stiff. But that's what I get for being a devoted writer.

Back to JJ when I get back to JJ.