On polling

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The peppers are on the fence: still alive in the old greenhouse

Now that the election has passed, I readily admit I face a void without my daily dose of polling.  Dang, but there is something quite addictive about verifying a candidate’s status on a regular basis.  Polls can be misleading, of course.  If I were to poll my garden plants, for example, I am quite sure I would hear wildly different things from each vegetable about how I, their representative, well, represents her constituents:

  • From the tomatoes:  “She’s generous with compost, but we get eaten by hornworms and aren’t trimmed and tied often enough.  Only a few of us were fortunate enough to live in the greenhouse so she doesn’t equally represent us.”
  • From the root crops:  “She’s generous with the compost, but often thins us too late and we get crowded.  Oh, and she spends too much time with the tomatoes.”
  • From the potatoes:  “We can’t see, we’re underground.  This clay soil sucks, though.”
  • From the lettuces:  “We are far too numerous and need different housing plans.  And she spends too much time with the tomatoes.”
  • From the beans:  “She is generous with the compost and spaces us correctly.  We don’t mind being ignored by her.  She’ll get us if we’re dried out, if we’re shelling, or if we’re fresh; we don’t really care.”
  • From the entire brassica family:  “Keep her away from us with that sharp knife!”
  • From the squash:  “She is stingy with the compost and we get eaten alive by squash bugs!  Throw her out of office NOW!”

Polls are often misleading in terms of what one actually does versus what one says one will do.  If I were to fashion a pie chart, say, of my time in the garden, I am quite sure I will be horribly inaccurate.  Self-delusion is a wonderful thing. Let’s say the categories of time are 1. dealing with the soil (mulching, composting) 2. planting 3. weeding 4. harvesting and 5. screwing around, usually with the compost piles.  I would guess that this breaks down as such as a typical season of gardening for me:  10% soil, 15% planting, 20% weeding, 50% harvesting and 5% screwing around.  In reality, it’s probably 30% soil, 5% each planting, weeding and harvesting and 55% screwing around.  But I could be wrong.

You will hear almost every candidate for office say that s/he doesn’t pay much attention to polls.  That’s bully, and we all know it:  even the most blithely bubbled candidate (GWBush comes to mind) certainly knows how s/he is faring in terms of opinion.  You can’t take on the job without answering to somebody!  I think in our heart of hearts we know our elected officials have our needs on their radar:  whether these needs are met or not is why we have elections, after all.  For me, I think about how much there is to know and how little it is that I actually DO know about gardening and all I can say to my veggies is a Clintonesque “I feel your pain, and I am with you.  I am trying my best.”

That, and I’m also glad they’re all annuals with memoires as short as their lifespans!  Next year’s crops won’t know what a slacker I really am.

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6 responses to “On polling

  1. What a fun read this was! Great sense of humor. My garden would probably tell me that I had just toooo many chickens for their likeing.

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

  2. my wife almost pulled the plug on the computer–I could not get my head out of the polls, several times a day

  3. Great post! I didn’t spend much time on polls but I did obsess about the amount of fuel that the whole circus burned. Maybe it’s why your lilacs and my lavender are blooming in November…

  4. So you’re saying if you were to campaign for president amongst the vegetables, your slogan would be, “Vote for El … Generous with the Compost!” … ?

  5. I couldn’t stop watching before the election; on Tuesday I could not be persuaded to watch until it was over. My garden would say I was well grounded in manure…I should run for office.

  6. Dayphoto: Chickens mean poop, especially with their bedding…all good for the garden in my opinion! But thanks, I’m glad you got a bit of a chuckle.

    Ed, guilty here too. That’s what two stolen, I mean close, elections will do to a person.

    Marcie, could be. As far as circuses go, here’s a good one for you:
    “The Center for Responsive Politics calculates that by Election Day $2.4 billion will have been spent on presidential campaigns in the two-year election cycle that began January 2007, and another $2.9 billion will have been spent on 435 U.S. House and 35 U.S. Senate contests. This $5.3 billion is a billion less than Americans will spend this year on potato chips.”
    I don’t think I even ate a potato chip in the last year, but I did check off the box on our tax returns.

    Firefly, well, I admit I didn’t have presidential ambitions per se but more maybe on the scale of state representative. But most voters are persuaded by pork…or in this case compost! Question to myself: am I more of a compost farmer or a vegetable farmer? Hmmm…

    Pamela, I would vote for you!

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