Go forth and grow roots.

When working on your bachelor’s thesis, sometimes you come across little finicky jobs that will make a world of difference if you did them poorly, or not at all. Fixing up references is one of those jobs – my school is notoriously picky about them. It takes not so much elbow grease, as some dissecting skills; a pair of tweezers, a scalpel and a magnifying glass are the appropriate gear to go for. It’s fiddly.

Clicking and clacking semicolons back and fro makes the eyes tear up and the heart weary, I can tell you that. So I decided to take a break, with a venture onto the balcony. This is the furnace of my allotment at the moment, and a place where jobs are born.

Today, it turned out, a tray of Dianthus Chinensis needed pricking out and plugging on. Again, I wish I had a camera at hand because my methods are unique enough to be illustrated with a picture or two, or five. My favorite tool of all, namely, is a pair of humble chopsticks. The kind you get at a restaurant that you have to pull apart. They work amazingly well for finicky jobs such as teasing out seedlings.

They also work sublimely well as dibbers, to poke planting holes in ready filled plug boxes. Chopsticks make potting on a whole lot easier than just a clumsy pair of left hands with an unsteady grasp. Chopsticks make teasing out an easy chore, otherwise pokey fingers too often make a hash out of a delicate mix of seedling and soil. Chopsticks are grippy enough without squishing leaves, or horror, a stem. They also earn their keep when, after repotting, the seedling needs to be tucked into its new home.

Chopsticks for the win, so I say! May the seedlings grow on and grow roots with a vengeance. This fiddly job took a different sort of fiddling about than unearthing the wrong kind of notation, and instead of causing stress, it eased the mind. It makes the dotting of i’s and j’s a lot more bearable if these kinds of little balcony jobs keep popping up and need doing, in between the heavy-handedness of a thesis.

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