The Mulching Project

A nice woman from the gym lives nearby, and it turns out her husband’s a handyman. He’s retired, gets bored, and so enjoys doing a bit of work here and there. His name’s Jurgen, and I often run into him as we both walk our dogs around the neighbourhood.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned I needed mulch, and he offered to get it for me in his trailer. As it turned out, we had a bit of a monsoon here last week, and that’s when we decided to get the mulch. “We” meaning I was asked to go along in order to pick out the grade of mulch I wanted.

The place is past the dump, on an unpaved road, and with all the rain I said to him it’s a good thing your truck’s got four-wheel drive. My car wouldn’t have made it. I got out, ankle-deep in black mud, but get this, it was only $70 for two huge yards of mulch.

The workers loaded it up with a backhoe, and we made our way back to Kelowna. Jurgen said just keep the trailer so you don’t have to unload twice, and I said that was great. Then I had the sense to ask how long that might be, and Jurgen replied, “two or three days.”

Once he’d driven off, I tried shovelling a wheel barrow full. I looked at the enormous mound of mulch and sighed. It was now Tuesday afternoon.

On Wednesday it was raining hard, and the same on Thursday morning, though by noon the sun had returned. I got out there and shovelled for four hours, and got at least half of the trailer unloaded.

On Friday I spent another four hours, and could see I was down to one or two wheel barrows, and that’s it. I decided I could wait as my body said please stop it. It wasn’t just the shovelling into the wheel barrow. There was also the careful sprinkling of the mulch around the base of half an acre of plants.

By Saturday morning it was done, as I did the last two wheel barrows first thing, before my body noticed anything was amiss. However I then walked the dog, and went to the gym for an hour of cardio. After that I met a group of Federal Liberals for a bit of door to door campaigning.

It was about 30 degrees, full sun, and we were in what’s called the Upper Mission area. This meant an awful lot of long uphill driveways or stairs. By 12:15 I said to my campaign partner, “I think I’m going to throw up.”

I didn’t, and we made our way back to our hot vehicles and I drove home with the air conditioning on high. Once I’d been home for a while I felt fine, and thought damn it, I have to mow the lawn. I then did that, and I believe that’s when my entire body went into a full on strike.

I felt something like those poor soccer players must feel after playing in 40 degree heat in South Africa or Qatar. Or perhaps how the triathletes feel after their day in Penticton in August. Brutal, damned heat!