A Little Help from a Friend

Motivation is something teachers and parents think about often.  We struggle for ways to instill intrinsic rather than extrinsic factors that motivate children to work harder, read more, show kindness, and in general, reach their potential.

Sometimes though, I think a little extrinsic push helps.  I don’t need candy or stickers to go weed the garden, but some cool and dry fall weather sure would help.  Instead, I woke Thursday to a downpour.  Again.  It rained five times in the first six days of September and I’m starting to feel a little moldy.  I let a funk slide over me as I sat down to rearrange my plans for the day.  As I was moping and, not to be completely lazy, writing a letter to my daughter, I got a text from a friend.  In essence she said how lucky I was to be able to enjoy the rain.  Her words jolted me; they were just what I needed.  She was right.  I am lucky.  I shouldn’t be moping about a little rain.  Within minutes I finished my letter, donned jeans and boots, and headed out to the garden.

It certainly needed my attention.  Volunteer squash plants that delighted me in July were almost scary.  And while we have enjoyed some weird looking, but tasty cucumbers, the other squash forms maturing did not look appetizing.  I pulled them all out.  Their stalks were as thick as my forearm and made wet pops as I bent them, sounding like the beginning of a song played on PVC pipes.

Next, came the butternut squash I did plant.  This is the first year I’ve succeeded in keeping the squash bugs at bay.  I’ve been admiring seven butternut squash as they’ve grown from the size of my pinky to the size of my 9 x 9 baking dish, cut in half and decorated with butter and brown sugar of course.  The plant has been dying back for several weeks, but I was not sure when to harvest the fruit.  Given all the rain and the discovery of some black mold colonies forming, I decided it was time.  I washed off the mold and they are curing in the kitchen.

I weeded other areas too.  I picked beans that are still producing.  They give us enough for a vegetable serving every few days.  I picked my first radish and was so excited that I planted another row right away.  They’ll be ready in just 30 days.  In between all this weeding, I had a little fun.  I took any slug or caterpillar I found eating my vegies, and any grasshopper I could catch, to the chickens.  I quickly learned the mine, mine call they make when one chick deems an offering tasty and snatches it, running from the others.  The caterpillars on my chard were refused, while grasshoppers caused quite a scrabble.

I stayed outside for about two hours, weeding and listening to my chicks.  By this time my jeans had wicked water from the grass almost to my knees, and the mosquitos had not only found me, but also notified the whole neighborhood that there was fresh blood out and about.  I came in happy though.  My intrinsic motivation was restored with a few extrinsic words and some hard work.  Thanks LA.



3 thoughts on “A Little Help from a Friend”

  1. Hi, love the coop! My chickens are getting ready to move too. We have to get them to the other side of the barn where it is a little dryer. We have been getting them out as much as possible but they don’t seem to like the outside run. The chickens that are in the outside run, don’t want to go inside. And, while we humans never seem content with what we have, my chickens don’t seem to want anything else. We never had much of a predator problem even with the meat birds out on the field. However, this summer we lost many birds. Between the rodents, foxes, cats, and dogs on the ground and the hawks in the air, our little chickens have many foes.

    Good Luck. Love the pictures



  2. I have spent the last 30 minutes or so looking at some of your posts and I think you are such a talented writer. I will try to catch up and then follow this new direction your life is taking and I’m sure it will inspire me! I can totally relate to your struggle to find meaning in your life and pursue your dreams. I am not as far along as you but I will get to where you are one day, I think. Thanks for the veggies yesterday!


    1. Thanks Ellie! It would make me happy if I inspired you. I just heard about a new book about being happy at home and it makes me realize my quest is not so silly, or simple.


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