‘Twas Robbie Burns back in the late 1700s that wrote, “The best-laid schemes o' mice and men Gang aft agley” in his political statement poem Ode to a Mouse. It is usually translated to “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” He was comparing the plight of a field mouse which had carefully crafted a nice home for his family near a farmer’s house and a farmer who had been planning a way to save his own family from the tyranny and taxes of the Scottish government. Or perhaps it was the English government ruling Scotland. It's been a while since I studied that stuff; I just remember the quote.
Now this is a very loose representation of the poem where the winter winds and cold had laid the land bare making room for the mouse to prepare a home for his family. When spring came, the farmer needed to prepare it for his planting so his own family could survive. He didn’t see the mouse’s home.
When he saw the remnants of the mouse house (actually a hole in the ground) he lamented what he had done and compared what both mice and men do to prepare for their futures. And often, he says, those plans don’t get fulfilled due to actions of others.
Thus the best laid plans of the Gator family went awry this weekend; it was not the government in our situation but rather it was nature. We had planned to take advantage of the warming weather for a variety of needed outside activities. Gator Wife had hoped to get some help from our daughter to loosen the soil and at least begin preparing the gardens for the season. I had hoped to get the oil changed, along with the minor tune-up I know how to perform, on our outside power equipment.
We have the lawn tractor which gets year ‘round use. It’s a snow blower in the winter. We also have a DR trimmer/mower/tiller which gets considerable use in the summer time. It also can serve as an edger and aerator although we only use the three main functions. GW has a walk behind, self-propelled lawn mower which she uses to mow some hilly sections on the property where we hesitate to attempt to drive the tractor.
The DR is used to trim back overgrowth on the property, especially in our brush compost area, and to till the soil for some gardens, especially all the vegetable areas.
The tractor, of course, also has to have the blower attachment removed and the mow deck put on. My great neighbor Ed helps us out with that chore, but he’s away this weekend. He’s been doing the task for years on both his and his father’s machine and ours, as well, so he can do in about 20 minutes what it would take me a couple hours of doing while reading instruction booklets.
Since the women of our family attended the Stars on Ice Show Saturday, the working part of the weekend was slated for Sunday afternoon. But “our best laid plans” went awry. All that nice warm weather we’ve been experiencing decided to take a break. On Sunday.
Oh, the sun was shining brightly and it was generally a very nice day. But it was very windy and cold. For example, when we made the decision to postpone our plans, the sun was blazing, the skies were reasonably clear, and the temperature was 36.4 degrees and climbing with a wind chill of 18 degrees.
I use blood thinners and so my old body doesn’t like cold very well. If I had attempted to do the work yesterday, I’d have been as useful as those unique things on a cow would be on a bull. So the work was postponed until next weekend when the weather is supposed to be good again.
All wasn’t lost, though. Gator Daughter and her dog did come over for a very nice, late Easter afternoon dinner. And both she and GW told me the ice show Saturday was, although far from sold out, superb.