Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Juggling Caregiver

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Summer Juggling
By Claudia R Warner
http://www.strokenet.info/

Ah yes, summer has begun! I had forgotten how hectic the juggling can be during June.

However, that was quickly refreshed when the rains came. And the lawn grew. Then it was overwhelmed with dandelions. Plus it was too wet to mow! The lawn tractor spent a few days in the neighbor’s shop, getting refurbished. I was anxious to try out the new blades but waited patiently for the grass to dry. Finally it did and I was in my glory running the little tractor and getting the acreage mowed. Alas! It didn’t last. I noticed that the grass wasn’t getting cut. A close look at the underside of the tractor showed that a belt had come undone. I couldn’t get it back on, so back to the neighbors we went. Thank goodness for such helpful people!!! We were back in business the next day.

It rained and rained. Finally, after several days I was able to mow. It soon became evident that I needed a refresher course in mowing. Why isn’t there a Caregiver training session in lawn care? Many of us find ourselves suddenly responsible for mowing, etc.

Here’s what I needed a refresher session on:

1. It takes a while for the machine to stop once the brake is pressed. Yep, ran into the fence.

2. When backing away from above mentioned fence, be sure to back up a good distance before engaging the drive.

3. Going uphill while mowing wet grass tends to get a person stuck. No amount of rocking back and forth will solve this problem. Nope, one has to push the heavy machine (did I mention that Caregivers should be given strength training?). So push I did and it actually moved! By now Wes was on the deck, anxiously watching me---just adding a little more stress.

4. A couple of old rugs can come in handy, so don’t toss the thread worn ones. They are great to put under tires to give traction! It works!

5. It is easier to use a trimmer than it is to mow close to bushes and trees. Mowers tend to run over bushes, no matter how careful the driver is. (At this point, the Caregiver could use an encouraging hug.

How about a Caregiver’s Guide to Planting? When plants arrive, there is always a frantic feeling—they HAVE to be planted immediately. The tendency is for me to begin digging and planting and watering like crazy. The job does get done, but the back and shoulders complain about the activity for a couple of days. Obviously this is not the best method of planting. A Caregiver’s Guide could really help.

For example, the plants have been living in little pots for weeks and a little while longer won’t harm them. They need to be watered as their soil will dry out rapidly. Setting them outdoors helps condition them to their new environment. They’ll survive nicely for several days.

Bare root plants are another matter. They don’t need to be rushed to their new location. Just put them in a bucket of water and they’ll be fine for over a week. They, too, can be set outdoors to become conditioned.

Bare root plants are usually trees or bushes that need deep holes and lots of water when placed in the lawn. Having someone dig the holes for you would save lots of strain, giving you time to enjoy the planting process.

Once planted, the little things need water—lots of it. Standing over the plants holding a dripping hose is not a recommendation. Nor is hauling buckets of water to them. I found a neat dripper hose that has pin holes that gently spray the water on the plants. Once it is in place, it can be left for the season as it is flat enough to avoid mowing disasters! Just hook it up, turn on the water, and hands-free watering!

There is so much to learn about being a Caregiver! We aren’t just in charge of the well-being and needs of another person---we also have to maintain their environment!

Gardening is a matter of your enthusiasm holding up until your back gets used to it. ~Author Unknown
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