Posts Tagged Garden seat
Innovation kicks in the moment something is invented. In fact, the invention itself is an innovation from a previous design or practice. Now, before we get into a chicken and egg conundrum, let’s get straight to the gist of this article: The gardener’s seat.
On many occasions on this blog, I have mused about perfection of design. Take the can sealer for example. Manufacturing processes have changed, but the design has remained virtually identical over time, because it works. As far as I can tell, designs that work often happen to be the most elegant as well. Another good example, of course, is the Squeezo Strainer.
They have style, a personality of their own. They are timeless. They adorn the wooden table of a modest shack as well as the marble counter tops of our modern homes. They stood strong in the farmer’s field generations ago and are in a class of their own in today’s futuristic facilities. Even something as simple as a tractor seat has that sort of presence.
First of all, you look at it and you know it will fit the curves of your body to a T. Modern tractor seats offer many features and comforts. They are ergonomically designed, based on years of research and trials. The original tractor seat was everything it should be in and of itself, naturally. Go figure.
Surely if you are spending an entire day, every day, every week, sitting on a piece of equipment with the constant roar and vibration of a motor and the irregularities of the ground, a well-designed seat with the proper ratio of padding and even a suspension mechanism are a worthy and necessary innovation. In fact, they are a blessing. Nevertheless, we recognize and appreciate a classic look that works, because it tells a story.
And so it is that we bring back trusted design, again and again. The tractor seat is a perfect example of functionality and grace. If it is good for hours on the tractor, surely it is ideal for the gardening seat also. And it is… with class to boot.
Gardening and farming are part of an age-old tradition. It is through our practices and the tools with which we work the land that we feel an enduring connection to this tradition. This sense of connection is essential. It gives the proper tone to our gardening chores.
The traditional tractor seat, like many other tools and appliances that retain qualities from the past, connects us with our history the moment we lay eyes on it. More than this, when we sit upon a traditional tractor seat, even one used in a slightly different application, such as on a gardening seat, we take a place among a long line of hard-working men and women, even children, who have made a living by digging their own hands in the dirt and who have thought us how to live and also, simply, how to tend a flower.
Gardening makes us think of Spring, and vice versa. We think it will never come, and here it is, just a few weeks away. In some places, you are already planting outside while others who live further north nestle seedlings in windowsill pots. I love a touch of nature all year round, and I also have a sweet tooth. Here’s my favorite mid-day salad.
Sweet Greens & Fruit Lunch Salad
Mixed greens to taste
1 sweet or sour apple, cubed
1 slice pineapple, cubed
1/2 carrot, peeled (surface peel included)
1 leaf red or green cabbage, cut into small strips
Chopped walnuts or pumpkin seed to taste
In a large bowl (this recipe makes a generous portion, but you do not have to share!), mix all fruit and vegetables. Add nuts or seeds and sea salt to taste. Toss. Add a generous amount or Parmesan and olive oil to taste. Toss well. Serve with whole grain bread or cracker of choice. Substitute any fruit and vegetable you like. The trick is to include something healthy that will satisfy the sweet tooth without harming the body… and mostly, without guilt!
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Spade, fork, trowel, watering can, hose… what else? If you are contemplating starting a garden next spring, one of the chief thoughts on your mind might be to start small and to keep it reasonably inexpensive. What if you don’t succeed?
Let me answer this first question right now: folks who dream of gardening already have the seed for success. This is my theory and I stand by it. Gardening is a passion. If your idea to begin this journey makes you smile with delight, you are already on your way to success. Mind you, this does not mean you will not make mistakes; it means you will find pleasure even as you brainstorm your way out of learning curves.
Let’s get something else out of the way. You are not a “lesser” gardener if you do not do everything manually and down on your hands and knees from daybreak to dawn. This, actually, is a myth that prevents many great gardeners at heart from ever digging in. Gardening is a physical activity. Treat your body kindly. One way to do this is to use tools and equipment that allow you to garden with ease. Gardening is not a struggle; it is a process.
To the basics, then. What tools should you get for your first garden? Where to begin? Think of your garden as a kitchen. Better yet, imagine your first home or apartment. What did family and friends give you as house-warming gifts? The basics: utensils, glasses, dinnerware, a few sizes of pots and pans, a ladle and so on. Unless you were a foodie or had already acquired much experience at the side of an enthusiastic food-loving parent, chances are you stuck to the basics as well. As your own love of cooking evolved, so did your need for more specific tools. Your Christmas wish list went from a shy suggestion for basic items to a bold request for THAT specific juicer or pressure cooker.
While you may find inspiration at the side of seasoned gardeners (or articles by seasoned gardeners), every gardener is different. Take the time to write down or sketch your vision of your garden so you can sit with this for a moment to identify your real needs beyond the obvious trowel, shovel and such. Try to think long-term. This could mean considering how likely you are to expand your gardening area over time. You do not have to imagine yourself very far in the future. Keep your mental image of your gardening experience manageable. Look two years ahead at most.
Once you can picture this, you have an idea of the scope of your project. What will you plant? Will a trowel suffice long-term (within your imagined 2-year plan) or would a seeder add value to your project right now? Think of gardening equipment as fitness equipment. The right tools will not only do the job, they will also contribute to your enjoyment of your gardening activities. The wrong tools might trick you into thinking you are failing. Be good to yourself.
Let’s get something else out of the way: it is important to determine how much you can invest, but practicality and comfort go hand in hand with economizing; they are not mutually exclusive. Be ready and willing to invest in good-quality special tools that will work well for the garden and for you. As a rule, invest in tools you will use year after year. Several replacements that don’t work properly or break after a few uses will not save you any money. Also keep in mind that a good tool is not only solidly built, but also comfortable to use.
Once you determine what you will plant in your first garden, research the needs and growing strategies associated with each plant. This will help you decide if and when a special tool may be a good addition to your initial arsenal. Finally, here are four of my favorite Must-haves to accompany the novice gardener and help him/her grow.
A seeder: This, too, can save your back. Also, you’ll get a far more enjoyable workout than if you seed on hands and knees.
Row cover: To protect your precious seedlings so they grow strong and you avoid much of the frustration of garden pests.
Compost bin: at least in the kitchen. The perfect way to save money… make your own plant food!
Let’s get something straight right from the start. What is a fool? The informal use of the term refers to a person with a talent or enthusiasm for a certain activity. Any gardening fools reading this? Great. I thought so. Welcome.
I decided to see what information I might find online about good reasons to sit when gardening. The words “why sit to garden” in a search procured the following results:
- Fool’s Garden Lyrics
- Why sit and answer the phone all day?
- Why do people sit on the floor in a gurdwara?
- What tree did Buddha sit under?
- Why not sit back and let —- Landscaping take care of your garden?
At first glance, it appears a second search is in order. Ha! but wait. Perhaps I have found answers, it is just that they are not what I expected. I think we need to ponder these results. Let’s begin with the Buddha.
We can all understand that using a garden seat helps relieve stress on the back and knees. This takes care of the body. The garden, as you know, also affects the mind and spirit. The moment we arrive on the edge of the garden, the moment we pull a tool from the pocket of the garden seat, the whole person begins to breathe and live to the rhythm of the garden.
Now, the question “What tree did the Buddha sit under?” points to deeper soul-searching. Does it really matter under what tree the Buddha chose to sit? Did he choose the location? Perhaps it was the only tree in sight on a hot day and he merely gravitated toward the only oasis of shade. The point is that the Buddha sat down and he would have sat down on a garden seat had one been available, but he would not have pondered what sort of seat it was even if it had been completely out-of-place with his particular time-line.
Thus we sit in the garden because our surroundings demand a pause. It defeats the purpose to sit in the garden as we might sit at the keyboard, our minds churning over scenario upon scenario regarding what to do, how to begin, how to respond to an old confrontation, what to eat for dinner and when to go home. We sit in the garden and work in silence, and this is home.
The lyrics of the Fool’s Garden song suggest: “Yesterday you told me ’bout the blue blue sky, And all that I can see is just another lemon-tree, And I wonder, wonder.” Again, let what was heard or said yesterday remain there, in the past. All there is now is a lemon tree, or a great big oak, or an apple tree, or no tree at all depending on the circumstances around your garden. We sit in the garden to finally realize that the garden is all there is, as though the garden seat were the vehicle that brought us there and as it stopped in this particular spot, so did time stop. We sit in the garden and wonder without asking questions and without making up answers.
What items do you bring to the garden in the pockets around your garden seat? In addition to a few essential gardening tools, I recommend a note pad to draw or to jot down epiphanies (or dreams if you dozed off), a bottle of water, treats for the dog, fruit and a granola bar. Leave the phone inside the house. Why sit and answer the phone all day when you can sit in the garden and talk with the flowers and bees and with a gentle stroke of your hand tell the tomato that it brings you joy?
Why do people sit on the floor in a gurdwara? A gurdwara is the place of worship for Sikhs. It means “gateway to the guru.” Sitting on the floor, before the guru, is an expression of humility. Sitting as a group before the guru brings people to the same level, it reminds them that they are equals. Though we are not consciously aware of this, it is possible that we sit in the garden because gardening is an act of humility. When all gardeners walk through the gates of their gardens, even if it is an imaginary gate, they come to gardening as one; they are equals, they have left the cares of their respective lives and the customs of their respective cultures at the gate and now sit in the garden as one. Not all garden seats look the same and not all gardens have trees, but all gardeners sit in the garden with the same feeling of being grounded, at last.
Why not sit back and let a landscaping company take care of your garden? Because then you would not get to sit in the garden as the gardener.