It’s about this time of year when I look around and see how shabby the garden looks. Through the depths of winter, I didn’t notice. I wasn’t outside enough. The days were short. I didn’t want to work outdoors.
But even if the lengthening days and singing magpies weren’t enough to tell me, the calendar is screaming that it’s just two weeks to spring.
So I’m paying more attention to the yard and garden. I’m taking a second glance at what I thought was my herbs beginning to resprout…and finding that the green I saw was actually a giant, aggressively spreading vetch. I’m walking through the vegetable garden to assess what needs to be done…and finding that though the chickens did a lovely job on some weeds, they didn’t touch the most difficult ones. I’m checking the bird netting over the strawberries, and finding hole after hole that needs repairing. I’m inspecting irrigation pipes, and finding ice-cracked valves. I’m walking the rows of currants and raspberries, and finding enough thistles to make me want to cry.
In short, I’m finding so many things to do, I begin to think I can’t possibly do them all.
And so, to maintain my sanity, I make lists.
A list of things to do this weekend.
A list of things to do in the evenings during the week.
A list of things to purchase in town.
A list of things to do next weekend.
A list of things to do the weekend after that.
A list of things that need to go on a list…
By mid-September, I’ll have every weekend through late-November planned in detail—exactly what needs to be done in order to have everything under control and planted out at the right time.
It sounds crazy, but it keeps me sane. Once a task is on a list, I can ignore it. I can walk past that aggressive vetch plant every day, knowing that if I just keep to my lists, I will eventually get to it. I can be completely blind to the holes in the bird netting, because I know that fixing it is on the list the week before the strawberries should start to ripen.
Without my lists, I’d be overwhelmed by the mountain of tasks to get done between now and December.
But the lists aren’t just good for making me get my work done. They also help me get my play in, too. Fun stuff goes on the lists, too. A weekend tramping trip, a day at the beach—I can schedule these things in alongside my work, and then actually enjoy them, because I know I’ve got time to do them. It says so, right on my lists.