I had a demanding career, and developed cancer 6 years ago. This cancer is rare enough that it doesn’t have its own name, but does have a daily treatment which must be continued lifelong, and includes mental fogginess, body aches, easy and frequent joint injuries, and fatigue as some of the side effects. I managed to continue working long enough for retirement benefits. In retrospect it would have been smarter to try for disability, but I’m too stubborn and didn’t have the energy to fight the system. Stubbornness was also what sustained me through until I qualified for retirement.
The garden and orchard are what sustain me now. I cant fight deer any more, so this winter I had a contractor build a 35 foot x 40 foot enclosure, where I plan to focus future vegetable and fruit gardening. The trees will be espaliers and mini dwarfs. I have a plan for how to keep genetic dwarf peaches there from getting leaf curl. The espaliers are mostly Redlove varieties, which are not available as mini dwarfs. Also some columnars on Bud-9 to keep them small. I think my black mulberry will remain small enough to be there, and the dwarf thornless blackberry. Our summers are dry. I will have a water tap in the middle, no more hauling hoses all over the place. This winter I gave away 90% of the deck plants, which needed daily watering. I will grow a lot fewer tomatoes and potatoes this year, but more sweet corn and winter squash.
Some garden beds will go back to grass this winter and spring. Some of my original fruit trees are now above deer grazing height but the mamma bear “too tall for deer / short enough for me to manage” just right sweet spot is a very narrow height range. Most likely I’ll keep what I can, but not replace ones that die. It’s just too much to climb ladders for thinning and bird protection, and pruning, and deer fences are complicated or too expensive for a large backyard orchard.
Included in my accessible “design” - in quotes because it’s not really designed - is removal of grass pathways that are too narrow for riding mower, making rounded edges for easier mowing, having more trellises in the relatively small “old guy (me) garden” to fit in climbing beans and cucumbers, better mulches for fruit trees, and more places to sit down. I intend to build two raised beds in the fenced area, most likely cement blocks with paver tops, large enough to sit on so I can sit to weed and groom those.
So that’s my different reality - learning to work with a smaller protected space, less hauling of water hoses, other accessibility features progressively built in so I can continue to garden.