When you’re jogging for 2+ hours and you don’t have you’re mp3 player to distract you with music or NPR shows, your mind has a chance to really think about things.
Things that make so much sense when you are going through the rush of life but might not be so logical when being pondered over by an otherwise idle mind.
Well, not necessarily idle mind – more like a mind trying to avoid the messages that the legs and hips were sending. Messages like, “What the #&$#*&% were you thinking entering this race?” and “Next time you see someone handing out water, you better grab a glass or we may conveniently trip you down that embankment into that river.” (For the record, I did grab three glasses of water and dumped them over my head. It seemed like a good idea – it was ice-cold water – until the end of the race when I realized that it looked like I had missed a potty stop. Perfect.)
So I began to do some math on my run – farm math – and this is the equation I came up with:
On one side – Time and cost to:
- plow garden
- till garden
- fertilize garden
- buy plants/seeds
- plant veggies
- water daily (sometimes twice) with 15+ gallons of water hauled over in buckets because it hasn’t rained more than twice in the last month and we don’t have any water sources near the garden
- weed garden
- stake plants
- battle bugs
- curse little plants that withered and died within two days of planting
- pray for plants that seem to be holding on
- chase bunnies and deer away
- keep dog from getting into garden
- flavor of fresh veggies straight from the garden
- saving money* by not having to purchase veggies from the grocery store
See, it’s that little * about “saving money” that was always the wild card that I just blindly accepted in the rush of regular life. “Of course we’d save money! If our tomatoes and zucchini plants flourish, we’ll have enough of both to feed our family for the year! (That is, if our children actually learn to enjoy eating tomatoes and zucchini.) Let’s plant more!”
But with time on my hands, the City Girl brain took over.
How much is my free time worth, really? Let’s go low – $5 an hour? OK, that’s seems low but I’ll go with it. How about the Country Boy? How about we give him double the rate because he works his behind off and doesn’t get much leisure time. We’ll give him $10 an hour.
If he put in 3 hours for plowing, tilling and planting the corn (conservative estimate), plus we’ll give him another 1.5 hours of helping me with some planting of other veggies and some weeding, that’s $45 invested.
I have spent about 30 each morning watering the gardens for the last week. Before then, it was about 10 minutes on the little garden every morning for the previous two weeks. That’s $28.50. Plus, add in the time in the afternoons to water when it was really hot out – we’ll round that out to 2 hours total – so another $10.
We haven’t included the plants, seeds, fertilizer, cages costs at all – how about if we conservatively say $30. We’ll forget about the actual cost of water and we’ll figure that we’ll find a cheap way to deal with bugs and critters.
OK, the “fresh picked taste” is big. I get that. I do.
Actually, I am holding on to that thought for dear life.
What I am NOT holding on to any more grocery store ads until the winter. I don’t want to know about the specials on locally grown produce. I don’t want to see that they’re having a big sale on zucchini or tomatoes.
I want to live with the notions that we are saving money (big money!) by having our garden AND that our children will be so much better off by having the wonderfully delicious taste of real produce on our table rather than big ag’s bland veggies.
Yes, I’ll have to convince them that real tomatoes aren’t perfectly red with no spots or blemishes. And yes, they’ll have to learn to love – LOVE! – zucchini, egg plant, green beans, and potatoes, again with some (hopefully minor) blemishes.
So clearly the next time I go for a long run, I need to make sure that I have my mp3 player with me to keep my mind distracted.
And if I am really thinking ahead, maybe I’ll download an audio book on 101 ways to cook zucchini.