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Work in Maine as a Gardener

A good day’s work to travel the world.

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The Glory of the Laboring Class — Garden Work Day II

“But they grew up during the night,” never works in a gardener’s defense when trying to explain how errant weed sprouts could possibly still exist in a garden that was suppose to have been cleared the day before.

I learned this lesson while gardening in Ireland. Each morning I would walk out into the wet, dewy day and greet the calling crows who liked to hang out in the trees over the gardens where I would spend my days laboring (https://www.thelocaltreeexperts.com/ny/rochester/). Often, I would find the Irish Pisser — my employer — standing out there in the garden with arms akimbo, cackling crow calls of her own.

I would then be privy to my morning ear full about how poorly I weeded the garden the day before, and how I MUST do better on this day.

“But they grew up during the . . .”

It never worked.

Happy top o’ the morning to me.

I was shaken awake by a 6:45 AM alarm, which foretold another day of working as hard as the migrant workers of my youth in a large garden in Bangor, ME.

My entire body hurt. It is amazing how much exertion 9 hours of squatting down squeezing and pulling millions upon millions of little maple shoots can put upon a human body. My hands and wrist sprouted a retaliatory bout of tendinitis and my inner thighs felt as though I had been riding horses throughout the night.

“So this is what I have been missing,” I grumbled to myself as I pined for the 17 previous months that I somehow manage to get through without working a real job.

If my mind thought that it was a good idea to make up my travel funds by pulling weeds, then my body certainly wanted to pull a filibuster. $15 an hour was scarcely enough bean money to make my sore legs want to stoop down into a weed pulling squat yet again. But, as is usually the case with anything that has been turned into a competition, the mind won.

Back to the garden — there was still a jungle to be fought.

I quickly drank a cup of coffee and put on my dirty clothes from the day before. I thought of the days of my youth when I would watched my father getting ready for work.

“Get an education, boy, you don’t want to do what I do the rest of your life.”

I found a certain touch of irony in the fact that I did get an education, and yet I was still covered in dirt, setting off for another day of bottom rung work.

I kissed Chaya goodbye and said that I would meet her for lunch. She waved to me with pride in her eyes as I stumbled off for the jungle.

I approached the garden right on time and found my employer and the house keeper looking upon the evidence of my labor from the previous day. I momentarily stopped short and thought of the cackling Irish pisser getting ready to give me my fair dose of morning criticism. But something seemed different on this morning in Maine:

They seemed to be admiring my work.

I cautiously walked up behind them, and they let me in on their oogles and ahhhs. I was praised for obviously working hard. Perhaps I was turning over a new leaf as a gardener?

We then all had a little morning chat. I made a jest over the irony of getting a university degree just to pull weeds. My employer told me that after she graduated from law school she had to gather clams as a living. I then realized that my fate was not that bad, for at least I was gardening with a B.A. degree in ethnographic journalism (what!?!) rather than a J.D. in law.

My employer then topped off my initial jest with a good “look at me now” rags to riches sort of story: she quickly rose from seaside clammer to investment banker . . . and was wealthy enough to pay me $15 an hour to weed her garden.

Perhaps, with a little hard work, I, too, could someday afford to pay someone this much money to work in MY garden. For some odd reason, I had my doubts as to the fruition of the backside of this tale.

To make me feel better, my employer replied, “I come from a long and distinguished line of farmers and servants. I am still at it, although I am now growing money instead of potatoes.”

At least she is growing something besides weeds, I thought, as I turned towards another day of weeding warfare.

The sky was gray and rain drops began falling down upon my head — I was going to get wet.

“Working outside sucks,” I remembered my father’s words, “it ain’t ever nice out there. It is always either too hot or too cold, it ain’t ever a nice day when you have to work outside.”

My father clearly prepped me for a snug life of educated, indoor labor, as he blazed the shinning trail of the quintessential outdoor working man.

“Get an education, boy, so you don’t have to do what I do.”

I peaked up at the dark, rain leaking clouds. I was cold.

How to make money to travel
Project – how to make and save travel funds
How to make Money to Travel
Gardening in Maine – part I
Gardening in Maine – part II
Gardening in Maine – part III

Working in Maine as a Gardener — Day 2

Filed under: Maine, North America, USA, Work

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3703 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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  • Byron J. Gaudette July 3, 2009, 1:05 am

    haha I'm enjoying reading about your work experience Wade. The good thing about hard jobs is that it toughens you up, and makes a lot of other jobs seem like a walk in the park.

    Reminds me of when we were working at this Jojoba farm in the Mojave Desert last year…this was backbreaking, repetitive work, working in the fields all day from sunrise to sunset. We were getting paid by each pound of beans we produced, and it took us a full two weeks just to get our bodies accustomed to doing that kind of labor, just so we started to actually make a decent amount of money. The worst part was, there were some immigrant workers on the farm before us, so they set some incredibly high standards that a couple white boys could never have lived up to. I may not have the same work ethic as those immigrants, but I worked my ass off and pushed myself probably further than I should have.

    We didn't come away from that farm with a lot of money, but the experience and skills I learned will far outweigh any amount of money we earned. Every job I ever have will seem easier than that job, and that's the truth.

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