Monday, 6 April 2009

Learning from cutting the hedge

Yes, you read it right. Some days ago the weather was right - sunny and warm-ish - the demand for getting the hedge down to a reasonable height became undeniable. (I have lived happily in denial since last year).
Now - a hedge is a two-party thing. Half of it is mine, the other half belongs to my neighbour.
Every year I cut my half, he cut his half, and the top, and all are happy.
Except - last year he didn't do his bit. (The word 'bit' is an extreme underexaggeration. Anybody who claims it would be a treat to do it, should come visit me and do it for me. I'll even serve beer. It's not only hard to do, and make your arms sour - it's also all the bugs that fly out of it eating your eyes and all. But - back to the story).
We wondered why he didn't do it last year. Meanwhile the hedge believed itself to be free to reach for the sky. So it did.
So we've (I had at least) sort of grown used to look at the hedge with all these leafless branches that stick right up. Now they had to go.

I had my reservations. My neighbour has always done the top since his garden is slightly higher than mine. There's a significant drop in height from the hedge and inwards towards my house. So he's having an easy time doing the job. I wondered how I could possible do it.

On PSL - did I mention I went to PSL ?! - I was told that there are no hard problems, only hard solutions. Consequently, I went aboard in this one. It looked very hard. I mean, cutting the hedge was easy, but getting close enough to it, and standing on something stable, seemed difficult.
I thought about building stuff. I thought about cutting about 30 cm of the hedge, so I would get room to put a ladder in there (there's a small fence around the terassé.. don't ask me why).
Then I got to think about that we had a small ladder. A handy ladder. Two steps. Perhaps ?!

Yes! It worked. I could get in there. And now: action.

Another thing I learned from PSL was that in order to solve problems you had to set up an environment which would support the solution process. So I took the time to get the right clothing, gloves, setup the electricity (I haven't yet got a gasoline powered hedge cutter) and so on. That lasted only about 10 minutes and then I was ready to go. Climbed in on what looked and felt like some very unstable and unsafe place to stand with a hedge cutter turned on.

Well - what do you know. A hedge of this kind is in itself very stable. Grab the branches and twigs, and it'll support you.
What I learned was, that I didn't have to worry about falling. Looking from the ground it looked dangerous. My kids actually told me afterwards, that 'only brain-dead fools would step up on that ladder'. I guess their trust in me is, erhm, questionable...

I did step onto it - and it proved safe all the way through.
I was of course very careful at first. Towards the end I more or less jumped around cutting here and there - leaning forward, almost lying flat ON the hedge to reach further.

So - in conclusion, this was something that looked from the outside as a hard solution, but it was actually not very difficult.

And yes - the learning points ?

- solutions may look hard, but once you get into them, they may reveal themselves as easy.
- I feared my neighbour would be annoyed by me, cutting into his part of the hedge and spreading twiggs all over his garden. Actually he appeared to have a back problem and was very happy that I did it.
- he never told me this. I never asked why he stopped trimming the hedge. We were both foolish on that.
- a hedge like the one I've got is quite capable of supporting a man weighing more than 90 kg (not that I weigh that much, but the hedge cutter is pretty heavy). (well, you may not learn so much from this one, but I did).
- at first doing something new, you're naturally careful. But you learn fast.

Besides learning all this from a few hours of gardening, I also earned myself a cool beer in the afternoon sun. That was probably the best learning point. Cheers, all!

No comments:

Post a Comment