Not an Amiable and Yielding Family – Friday September 1900

Churning, washing and marketing days are over. The tension relaxes a little for the rest of the week. We may be just as busy but our labour is more the elective kind and not so urgent. These fine September days invite us into the garden where we do not enjoy ourselves as we might do, because of the appalling amount of work, there is to be done. Two of us have almost a whole day of it. We are not, as a family, as amiable and yielding to each other as some families whom I am privileged to know.

It is amusing to hear other two collaborating. Loud and prolonged are the disputes and the arguments as to how severely or lightly the gooseberry bushes are to be pruned. This ends in a compromise. Some are severely scotched, others lightly trimmed, and bets laid as to which will bear fruit next year.

One is bent on removing her strawberry bed to the exact spot where another had decided to have a bank of biennials; and the shears are raised to cut down some old ivy shoots which another has been carefully fostering for the sake of the rich purple blackberries loved by the mavis and the blackbird.

A state of equality of rights is a restless and a noisy state. It is amusing to overhear; but when I am one of the two, a feeling of injury takes the place of amusement. How is it they will not see and understand that everything I do is always done in the best possible way and in most perfect taste?

“I can not” — Scotch emphasis on the not — “keep my daisies.” (We have individual interests in certain flowers). “For your old carnations smother them.” My flowers, somehow, are always contemptibly old. “You will plant your old flowers ower near my daisy border” — as if the destruction of the daisies were the sole end I aimed at — “and everybody says the daisies are the nicest spring flowers we have.”

In the end, after some necessary preliminary disputes, we co-operate in the formation of a new tulip bed, over which I plant some vigorous forget-me-not roots, and anticipate a lovely bloom, next May. That is one of the virtues of gardening. It supplies you with a healthy and cheerful desire to live till next year.

Mr Editor does not allow too much space to clavers like this, so I must close before my week’s diary is finished. That’s what comes of being garrulous. But each day is so interesting that it deserves a column to itself.

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