Thursday, November 17, 2022

Remembering Life Lessons

The irrigation in Grandma's Garden at Prince Elementary School was on the fritz.  The scholar gardeners had never heard that expression, one that I heard in my house anytime anything went awry.

I pulled up the tubing so that the gardeners could till the soil.  Without the need to be careful of the irrigation!! they could trowel and dig and mix with impunity.  They did a wonderful job.  The soil in the first bed was almost loamy; if love were a nutrient the seeds would have sprouted already.

We re-laid the lines, burying them beneath the reconstituted soil.  I went to the control box to manually activate the system.  I had explained it to the kids; I wanted them to see the water in action.  

Unfortunately, the system did not cooperate.  Nothing happened.  Thankfully, the whistle blew and they were off to class, leaving me alone with the dysfunction. 

I checked all the connections.  I made sure the water was running from the main line to the garden, remembering when I had a similar experience that was attributed to a groundskeeping error.  I loosened and tightened the connectors one more time.

Everything looked fine.  Some of the tubing holes were ridged with lime, but all of them had enough of an opening to allow the water to flow.  And yet, it would not.  

I reset the timer on the control box, wondering if Manual might be the only setting that didn't work.  But Automatic was just as recalcitrant.  There was nothing.  I made a mental note to call Jessie The Irrigation Guru, and locked the playground gate behind me.

That was last Wednesday.  I went back to the garden on Tuesday to start work on the second raised bed, and took another look at the timer.  The front, the top, the sides, the bottom - I wiped away some lime deposits but saw no structural imperfections.  

I turned to the back of the box and had to laugh.  There is a compartment for 2 AA batteries.  The system has been in operation since before Pandemica (though turned off for 18 months in the middle of lockdown).  I have never replaced the batteries.... actually, I never knew they were there so I couldn't possibly have replaced them.  

Getting the cover off to remove them was impossible for my arthritic fingers.  I'll bring a pair of needle nose pliers tomorrow, along with another set of Duracell AA's.  I'll also bring this famous family story:

The neighbor knocks on our door.  "Is your Dad home, Brother?  My refrigerator is broken and I'd like to see if he can help."

"He's not home.  But I'll come with you."  

He was 5.  She was a nice neighbor.  She said, "Sure."  They walked 2 doors to her house.

He opened the refrigerator door; the interior light did not go on.  He lay down on the linoleum and reached his hand behind the machine, grabbed the cord, and pushed it firmly back into the socket, firmly.

"There you go!  All fixed." 

Is it plugged in was, from then on, the first question we asked when something went on the fritz.  I can't believe I forgot it.



  1. Great story. Yes, sometimes we just need to check the power source. For people too.

    1. It's my brother in a nutshell. Fixes it. Smiles. Leaves.


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