By Ginna Parsons
BOONEVILLE – Lucy Krick has been diagnosed with arthritis, osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease. She has had knee replacement surgery, back surgery and is a candidate for cervical surgery to relieve shoulder pain.
And yet, every morning, you’ll find her in her garden in Booneville, picking and weeding, stooping and organizing.
When the pain gets unbearable, she practices self-talk.
“I just say, ‘OK, I’m going to regroup and get better,’” said Krick, 74. “My husband, Bob, gets mad at me because I stay out there in the garden and work myself to death.”
Krick takes anti-inflammatory medicine, and has tried pain management with medications, physical therapy and injections, largely without benefit.
But she knows her limitations and listens to her body when she needs to rest.
“I just love gardening. I just love it,” said Krick, whose demeanor belies her age as she slides into the driver’s side of her Mule utility cart and takes off lickety-split, careening down hills and zipping around garden plots, her words spinning in the wind.
“I love to play in the dirt,” she yelled over the roar of the motor. “Whew! Isn’t this fun?”
A native of Jackson, Krick moved to Booneville in 2000, and she and Bob married the following year. They have a house on a lake and their almost 10-acre expanse has allowed Krick to have her largest garden ever.
“I was raised out in the country and as soon as I got out on my own, I started to garden, in the ‘70s,” she said. “But I never had anything very big.”
Today, Krick grows two kinds of beans, three kinds of tomatoes, squash, zucchini, Brussels sprouts and blueberry bushes. She’s already harvested onions, broccoli and new potatoes.
“I didn’t have room to plant any okra, but I’ll stick some somewhere, believe me,” she said.
“She’s put a lot of time in this place,” said Bob Krick. “A garden doesn’t get to look like this by sitting on your butt. Sometimes, she comes in the house and I say, ‘Mother, you’re filthy.’ But I love her to death.”
Rainbow of color
If someone asked Krick if she had a favorite color, she likely wouldn’t be able to answer the question.
That’s because her garden is a rainbow of color – a lemon yellow mailbox that holds garden tools at the end of a row of beans; red, blue, green, orange, yellow and purple bins that hold fertilizers and seed; yellow and green gardening shoes hanging in a potting shed.
“One day, it hit me,” she said. “I decided it would be nice to have some color in the actual garden.”
Last year, she painted 100 wooden garden stakes to support her beans in a variety of colors – green, red, yellow, rust, blue, purple, orange and teal.
“And then I looked at it and said, ‘It’s so pretty out here I just have to have me some more color,’” she said.
So this year, her daughter handpainted 232 bean stakes for the garden.
The effect is dazzling: Lush green plants climbing rainbow sticks, all lovingly tended by Krick.
“I couldn’t do any of this without the Mule,” she said. “It takes me up and down the hills, back and forth to the garden.”
Krick always wears a wraparound back brace for support when she’s in the garden and she has knee pads for kneeling and a signature red bandana she wears around her head to keep the sweat out of her eyes.
“If you ever see me out there working, I’ll have that on,” she said.
She heads out to the garden about 6:30 every morning and usually stays until about 10:30, unless the weather is cool, in which case she can last until 1 p.m.
“I love my life, I love my life,” Krick said with a wide smile. “I wish I didn’t have all this pain, but I’m not going to let it get me down. I just pray and pray about it.”