Hodge Podge By Charlie – Healing not happening

Hodge Podge By Charlie – Healing not happening

So far it’s not working

This whole idea of gardening being a passive participation sport inspiring mellowing moments of the mind is not happening. In fact quite the opposite.

I’m looking for something to choke. The broken garden hose or old rake handle might be the answer.

Regardless, suffice to say I need to re-evaluate my relaxation technique. Not forever, however clearly today ‘gardening’ is not working out. At this point with my fun factor failing and feeling ‘fully fu#*ing fed up’, I need an option play.

Tomorrow is likely a long stress-filled workday and being rested and ready important.

Until lately I’ve always had the five sources to turn to if feeling the need to relax or chill out. First and foremost, the garden (sans today). The other four alternatives are hop in the canoe, take a drive, have a cold beer, or watch television. Today I only have two options since my canoe is nowhere near the water and I can not drive it there because I am awaiting cataract surgery and nearly blind until then. Which means my choice is beer or tv. I suppose some would suggest I do both but I must show some restraint since it’s still early afternoon. So, I guess it’s likely mid-week mid-afternoon tv.

In theory gardens are beneficial in providing us with the perfect location to create three of life’s necessities: food, physical health, mental health. While those three components may be found elsewhere besides gardens, many folks enjoy the garden process. There is nothing more satisfying than planning and planting a garden, working it during the spring and summer, and harvesting it in the fall.

Tez and I grow a wide variety of crops every year, often planning for a plethora of certain favourites such as beets, carrots or melons. While we tend to do well with the propagating of plants and later planting our plants (or store-bought plants) in the ground, the problems come later. Racoons and mice have decimated our crops the past three or four years, certainly this year the worst of all. Deer also occasionally pop by for some fine dining.

Not only is the crop crashing frustrating, but it is expensive. We have spent a tremendous amount of money and time only to have discover rodent foraged cucumbers, corn, melons, squash, strawberries, beets, carrots…

Of greater frustration is the apparent lack of options in eliminating the racoon or mice. I suppose I could cut all the trees around my house to eliminate the racoons but that’s not going to happen. Poison is simply out of the question. Not only is it cruel to any creature but can hurt other unintended animals.

I would love to use a pellet gun or B.B gun but they are not legal within the city. I wish there was a paint ball gun with clear paint balls. That’s what I need. Sigh.

Physically the yard and garden are now my major exercise gym. Due to emphysema and reliance on oxygen tanks travelling to gyms or any lengthy walks are difficult, however a few hours a day working in the yard allows me to work at my pace and get a good work out. We also have an indoor running machine which I can stroll on at my lesisure.

The mental component of the garden is what I find most important of the three. All my life gardens have been my sanctuary. There has not been a crisis yet that my garden, or someone else’s, garden has not helped me survive the dilemma facing me. A place to settle down the brain, relax the beating heart, rest the battered body. If nothing else just the physical mellowing of sitting quietly in a garden listening to the surrounding flora and fauna settles my mind.

After a long night of council, or struggling through writing a book or column, I will likely be found at one of the various benches or tables within the back yard. It’s amazing what an amazing de-stressor a patch of corn, raised bed of Shasta daisies and stock, or wild flower garden can be.

So what went wrong today?

I put myself in my neighbour’s shoes, or in this case, house.

All day long, from the moment we awoke and came outside in the early morning, the ambiance of the neighbourhood has been filled with the nonstop sound of destruction and construction of the six-story apartment building at the end of the block. The facility was agreed to by council a couple of months back and is in process already. Because of my location I could not take part in the decision making and so harbour no feelings either way on the decision.

Tez and I spent the entire day in the front yard so the sound was not as loud as in the back, where our yard faces more of the project. The regular construction sounds of trucks, hammers and regular drills and voices are not too bad, however the jack hammer and heavy drills are fuller volume. Occasionally the ground vibrates.

In fairness the volume level we are subjected to is minor compared to my neighbours, especially two or three doors down the street where they back on to the worksite. I can’t imagine how nerve wracking and frustrating they may be feeling.

While we worked in the yard we talked (loudly) over the noise and empathized with our neighbours’ plight – thankful we were not dealing with same volume. The more I thought about it the louder the sound seemed to grow.

Loud enough so that I finally had something to write my column about.

I sort of feel betrayed by my garden for letting me down on the relaxation factor. I’ll try it again tomorrow. But for today, time to re-evaluate my effort to chill.

Meanwhile I guess mid-week, mid-afternoon TV wins the task. Let’s see what is on … The Fred & Ella Show, Broken Hearts, Name that Pet?

Okay, maybe just one beer.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.


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