I'd be lying if I said I never did anything for instant gratification. Who doesn't love the idea of putting in a bit of working and seeing the results straightaway? I actually have a bad habit of treating almost every situation like I'm waiting for that immediate satisfaction.
One week at the gym—where are my abs? One month at a job—why isn't every single thing making sense? It's an unhealthy way to look at goals and is something that I definitely am aware of and working on.
However, if you are a true fan of the instant grats, let me show you to a path of joy that will allow you to work for a few hours, step back, and soak in everything you've done:
What's this? A way to feel good and do good simultaneously? You betcha!
I haven't always been a wonderful garden witch. In fact, I can still kill almost any indoor plant in 7-10 business days. But what I have enjoyed is cultivating a garden. My mom and I laid a majority of the groundwork for our own yard over the last few years, but with her gone to take care of my grandparents and this excessive heat causing maximum growth opportunity, I've had to really step up my care taking abilities. Yesterday in particular was day-long gardenpalooza of pulling unwanted weeds in different beds, gently exterminating a Japanese Beetle population threatening our raspberry crop, and tending to the petunias out front that needed a bit of deadheading.
I have't physically dripped sweat in a long time and it felt really good! It started Sunday morning when my dad went out to set up his new smoker. I figured I'd pull a few weeds around our trees and vegetables to pass sometime. An hour later and I had moved on to a patch by our shed that originally was home to two blueberry bushes and tree start. It had become the Amazon Jungle in two and a half months. I weeded out about 95% of everything there, careful to keep a watchful eye for anything that might have been a flowering seed, transplanted via bird. By 11:45, I moved to the garage where a lovely columbine usually grew, but had been overpowered again by wayward weeds. Then came the side of the yard we usually avoid as nothing really grows besides greenery. An hour here pulling little growths and dandelions and the summer heat had revved up to about 87 degrees. I took small breaks to keep hydrated and to check in on our raspberries which are blossoming and full of fuzzy bees ready to pollinate.
They are, unfortunately, also full of the dreaded Japanese Beetle. These critters have been slowly but surely eating away at most of the foliage on the stems and causing damage. I first thought about a spray that might help with eradicating them, but after a smidge of research and commonsense, I realized any sort of spray would be harmful, not only to our environment, but possible to the raspberries and us when it came time to enjoy them.
I found a very enlightening article in the Old Farmer's Almanac about the damage caused by Japanese Beetles and ways to control and prevent them from ruining fruits and vegetables, flowers, and anything else they might get their little selves into. Most ideas were preventative, but the most simple form of control (which had me basically face-palming) was to remove them one by one, picking them by hand. Which is what I did. Armed with a glass of water and dish soap, I would take breaks from weeding to go out and pluck these critters from the plant and toss them into their eternal swimming pool. I did have a moment of sadness, but looking back at my poor raspberries, that moment passed pretty quickly. I recommend placing the cup of choice under the beetles and then giving them a swift flick downward. They are skittish and once your hand lingers too close for too long, they will fly off only to land somewhere else you don't want them.
By the point of three new mosquito bites and the fingers of my gloves becoming tangled in burrs, I was about done. It had been three and a half hours. Not a huge amount of time, especially to any proper gardeners or farmers who may be reading this. (In fact, I can physically feel their eye rolls from here.) However, the best thing of it all was clearing the debris, stepping back to the sidewalk and driveway, and seeing what I had accomplished. Months of overgrowth tackled in an early afternoon! (Proper pics to come to the blog!)
The sore muscles that followed were fabulous. I love a great stretch after working (out) and feeling the familiar tired, aching pull. It's a sign I've done something physical that has put my body out of its comfort zone and perhaps will lead to greater strength and stamina later.
I've been feeling pretty depressed lately with myself after gaining and keeping on weight. I'm definitely at my heaviest. The good news is I'm young (and now) motivated to get back to it. While I am working out at the gym a few days a week after work, these weekend chores are definitely a boost to myself physically and emotionally. I love seeing the results so quickly after working which is a surefire way to make me feel useful. Plus, it's a great allover workout to get my body moving.
What are healthy ways you like to see instant results? Are you a gardener, painter, hobbyist? Share below!