Posted by: Mark Nielsen | July 19, 2008

Staying a Step Ahead of Mother Nature

Another weekend retreat at Grayhaven, our cottage in Wisconsin. Or maybe “offensive” would be a better word than retreat, in the ongoing war to keep Nature from reclaiming this 1.6 acres that used to belong only to her.

We have to walk a line when we come here, taking time to relax and have fun, while not relaxing so much that the mowing and weeding and deck-staining all fall by the wayside. There are nice fat raspberries on the bushes, some of which we planted, others that have spread and thrived since we bought the place a few years back. Our tomato plants and bell peppers (two each) are starting to yield as well. They’re as much a token effort as a real attempt at vegetable gardening. I like the idea of eating stuff we’ve grown ourselves (we have mulberries and grapes also), but we’re not here enough to keep up with the care for a full-fledged veggie garden.

Plus who has the energy? –especially when I expend far too much time and patience keeping our decrepit old riding lawnmower running. I don’t actually know much about mechanical stuff, but in the name of thrift we’ve got this poor-quality used Snapper that we keep limping forward with.

The mower, and the sweat we put into the place in general, are a steady reminder of that humbling old saying that “much is expected of those who have been given much”. I believe this, though it seemingly flies in the face of “the rich get richer, etc.” –which I also believe. Maybe when I actually *get* rich, instead of working my ass off just to *fake* it, the payoff will be in having a caretaker (i.e. boosting the local economy by employing some genuinely poor schmuck who can’t afford a second house to escape to on weekends).

If there’s one half that’s stuck wondering how the other half lives, then I think we’ve been a couple years now stuck in the middle — in a strange limbo between the working stiffs and the rich jerks who call the shots.

Then again, maybe we’ve peaked, like I think the U.S.A. did around 1999, and the only direction to go now is down. Gulp!


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