It’s been a tough year to try to grow anything. We’re in an extreme drought. We had a low-snow winter followed by an early, hot Spring. The cumulative total of summer rain at my house has been one inch. The earth is hard and cracked. The rivers are bone dry. My rain barrels have long been empty.

I don’t have running water. I have a an old-fashioned, long-handled pump standing in the yard. Coming up with drinking and washing water, plus keeping even a minimal garden going, has required about 100 full-body cranks on that old hand pump every day.

I kept thinking “we’ll be getting rain soon,” and carried on as if that must be true. But it’s not. I had to re-evaluate just why I am straining my back doing all this pumping. My garden is small. Its fruits were never meant to sustain me all winter. But now the plants, full and glorious in other years, are spindly and just hanging on. I decide it was time to cut my losses by pulling things.

I started with the greens, who would need a lot more water just to maintain their already bitter leaves. Then I pulled bare tomato stalks, stunted chard, and a few dry onions. I was horrified at what I was doing. Killing the garden, in early August?? My judgmental ego accused me of being a quitter.

But I carried on. Every day now I’ve pulled more, only leaving a few of the healthiest and hardiest. What I’ve found is that when I go out to water now, I can give a lot more to the plants that remain. Instead of spreading the water too thin, over a wide range, the plants that are left benefit from my liquid attention and get what they need.

This is much like the rest of my life. I say Yes to more than I can actually handle, and then my energy is spread too thin. It’s better to let go of that what can’t be well-sustained. Better to give more attention to fewer things. Better to acknowledge my true purpose and funnel my passion there.