I spend (some, not as much as I would like) Sundays gardening for people. Nothing fancy, just using the skills I have and a love of being outdoors to make people's spaces nicerer for them.
Yesterday's spell took nerves of steel. I started at 10 and the temperature had hit zero. Frozen ground, icy collections of water in the delves and a blanket of frost covering the leaves. I counted 6 layers of clothes on my top half, hat and scarf, and I was double gloved and double socked. But once you start moving, your muscles warm and if you can stay dry, it's rather nice to feel the proper chill of winter!
These are the tools of my trade. Beyond all things, it's the hori hori that I use the most (the thing that looks like a dagger!) And the secateurs at this time of year. They're cheap Lidl ones but they're great and I don't mind so much if I lose them.
The last job of the day was to prune an apple tree. It's been hacked at one point, by someone who's left a perfectly horizontal section of trunk that will leave the tree susceptible to disease as water collects in a vulnerable spot. It's caused shoots to grow vertically towards the sky, crossing in a mass in the middle and rubbing weak spots in the branches. It's a slow process of thinning the crown and cutting each just above an outward facing bud to give a 'goblet' shape to allow air to circulate and improve its appearance. Pruning is a creative process, taking time to stand back and consider each move, making something beautiful enough to stand proud in a garden. The fruit it offers is almost inconsequential!
And I get paid for this! The cold fresh air, the friendly natter, the creation of a piece of art, the birds, the peace... Kind and grateful people pass on their earnings in appreciation; I graft hard and they pay me for my time and my skill, and I sit down at the end of the day in front of the fire, with a tired body and dirty hands with the cash in my pocket that pays to feed my children. Noble work well rewarded. There's something very wonderful about it.
Treading Lightly is simple living, within your means and the means of the planet, and making a minimal impact on the Earth. Find out more here about Catherine, of Barefoot Solutions, does this from day to day.