Luckily, I had errands to run on the day I unplugged, so I knew I would have some distractions. Since I had the entire day ahead of me, I decided to stop and treat myself to breakfast. This is where I first realized my internet addiction. I looked at the waitress when I ordered and thought to myself, “I haven’t done that in a long time.” She had a nice smile. I didn’t know, until that moment, how much I had missed having a genuine connection with people.
I knew a little about bees because one of my neighbors has hives and harvests honey. He has an in-ground pool and spent thousands of dollars putting in an intricate pond with a fountain so his bees can stay hydrated. Yet the bees were at my sprinkler. I wondered what my yard had that his didn’t.
My relationship with his guitar began when, all bridges burnt and at the mercy of the Commonwealth courts, I “volunteered” myself for rehab. Court ordered, with my mind disenthralled from pharmaceutical grips, my life had no direction. My words had no voice. Although surrounded by crowds of people, I felt lonely. In regulated amounts, I found that isolation can be a healthy retreat, and I found solace there.
I was nervous and a little uncomfortable about unplugging for 24 hours. I thought I would be missing out on what was happening in the Facebook world or my friends would think I was ignoring their texts. I have to admit that the only reason I participated in this challenge was to receive extra credit in my English 102 class; however, not using the internet, texting or doing anything involving technology from 9 a.m. April 6 to 9 a.m. April 7 turned into quite a learning experience.
My children were eager participants this year with the planting. The two older ones were delegated certain jobs that my husband supervised while I kept the youngest by my side and supervised her. To my surprise, the older ones took the initiative to stake up the tomato and pepper plants. As I watched, my heart swelled with pride. I was happy to discover how much our family could enjoy playing in the dirt.
Through her art, Wright hopes to convey the beauty in ordinary things. “The magic of unexpected treasure is all around us. It’s only a matter of perception that allows us to see or miss it.”
She also believes art is intrinsically activism because the artist engages in the act of creating in a solely driven and controlled process. “Art allows us to engage with the mystery, see and feel the intangible, leave behind the confines of coercion, dogma and the repressive attributes of society.”
Thoreau would have rejoiced that you are there,
haunting my yard from a sweet gum limb,
doing the “maniacal hooting for men”—
though I think he well knew the noise
we make can be maniacal enough.
Going 24 hours without texting or getting on the internet helped me to better understand my dependence on these devices for performing my daily tasks. The first few hours had me confused and a little lost. If I needed to ask a question or get a hold of someone, I realized I had to wait until after the 24-hour experiment or go see them face to face. As the experiment went on, however, I started to feel freedom, like I was truly in control of myself. I got to pay more attention to my surroundings. I wasn’t entrapped by a screen with silent and bleak posts, messages and false media reports.
A greenhouse allows you to get your seedlings going sooner and also provides a place to grow crops that are sensitive to weather changes. I set up my small, yet efficient greenhouse in a space that gets full sun most of the day.
Rejuvenating the soil with mulched up leaves and compost every year is a must. New gardeners don’t realize the importance of this until their crops fizzle and don’t reach their full potential. I made this rookie mistake last year. My husband and I expanded our garden plot, and we didn’t use compost on the previous year’s plot. Even though we changed the flow of our rows from north to south to east to west, the eastern end of the rows didn’t produce as much harvest as the other end that was “new” garden area.