Tuesday, June 2, 2009

In Celebration of Small Failures: A Gardening Disaster

I do love the new “Small Successes” forum that I have discovered on Faith and Family Live. Although I shared my own successes for last week, I have slipped into a series of small failures that are really just plain annoying and energy-draining. If failure is more common than success, why don’t I see more of it on the Catholic blogs I read?

I have discussed this with some of my personal blog friends, who publicly admit to having the frailties and weaknesses common to the human race. We find it annoying that so many bloggers are constantly putting up pictures of perfectly finished sewing projects. I know, because I sew as well, that on the way to that perfect finish there were seams that had to be ripped out, possibly even accompanied by some mild cursing.

One of my major muscle-building outdoor projects this spring has been working on my driveway, the one thing in the front of my house that really could use some improvement. It has not been repaved in a few years; grass was growing through the cracks throughout the middle, and the edges are crumbling away.

On one side I had a dozen Hosta bordering the edge, but so much grass had grown around them that my husband mowed over them the first mow of the season. When I had to mow the week approaching my son’s First Communion, I realized how very difficult it was to mow around them. I weeded around them, creating a nicer border garden, but the Hosta grew back a little straggly looking. I put down Preen weed control to prevent grass from coming back there.

On the other side, the grass had grown several inches over the edge of the driveway. (I’m probably scaring you now into thinking I have a Desperate Landscape. Really, I promise, the driveway is the only thing that looks this way!) I used a shovel to cut back to what I thought was the real edge, and painstakingly removed all the grass. I used all the dirt and grass I had removed to fill in a huge hole that the kids had made in the back lawn.

When I was done, I looked at what I had done with horror. Surely all the neighbors passing by were laughing at me. The edge I had trimmed started off narrow at the top of my driveway and widened to almost ten edges at the bottom of the driveway! Then I got sick and had to leave it that way for a week.

[On a side note, I lost my voice for the greater part of the week and was unable to yell at my kids. I made the slightly ironic discovery that people in the house will actually listen to me when I am whispering!]

In the meantime, I killed the weeds with vinegar. Yesterday I got out the crack filler. I checked the weather to make sure it was not supposed to rain in the next 24 hours. Then I got down on my hands and knees and painstakingly filled in the multitude of cracks that ran through the driveway. When the stuff stopped squeezing through the applicator tip, I opened it up and dumped the rest of it into a slightly large hole. Over the hole I placed a bench so that no one would step on it while it cured.

But, alas, it rained this morning! Although the majority of the filled cracks had solidified, the stuff in the hole was bleeding down the driveway. When the sun came out, most of the messy stuff evaporated away, but the filled hole is so soft I wonder if it will ever harden.

I got out the yardstick and, carefully measuring this time, removed an even twelve inches of grass in a strip running all along that edge, to match the other side. Then I took some Hosta from another area of the yard, divided it into twelve roots, and planted it every yard, also matching the other side. Now the only difference between the two sides is that the one side has Hosta their normal height, and the other side has Hosta that were dwarfed due to having been run over by the mower that one time.

I showered, made dinner, and rushed the kids to my son’s baseball pictures, only to find out that they had been rescheduled without a telephone call to me. On the way home, I suddenly discovered I had the full service of my voice back and hate to admit I did not use it well.

On the way to our successes, we have many small failures. If we can learn from our mistakes, that is one small success in itself.


Angie said...

Can I just say that I'm exhausted after reading this? LOL You have put in a lot of work, haven't you?

Loren Christie said...

Hooray for failures! Catholics are humans! Thank God, I was starting to worry about myself.

Leticia said...

Sounds like me planting my perrennials from my home in LI in a BIG hurry. I didn't get to till the soil, so they are all jumbled with weeds. I so wanted to plant in newly turned, weedless soil!
I am just grateful for the rainy weather which means they will survive.
And plan for their rearrangement after they do.

BPOTW said...

It's good to see someone who learns from failure instead of whining and blaming!

Thanks for linking with BPOTW!