Damara Hutchins

Not wacky about weeding

I hate weeding! I know, "hate" is a strong word, right? Well then, I really loathe weeding to the depth of my very soul. Growing up, I'd visit my mom and stepdad on a ranch in Avon Park and, when my brother and I weren't finding better things to do like torture bugs or each other, we'd get put to work. They called it chores, but we called it cruel and unusual punishment. Pulling prickly pears was my least favorite. If you've never done it, go to a cow pasture with a crow bar and a pair of work gloves and sweep the hook down to the root of that Florida cactus then yank it up with all you've got and hope you don't get stuck. The big barbs aren't the bad ones because you can easily pull those out; it's the tiny ones around the base of the big ones that hide in your skin and drive you insane. Never touch those. The weeding I did last weekend was nothing like pulling prickly pears on the ranch and I reminded myself of that fact as I knelt on my "almost" 40-year old knees with my rear end facing the road.
I fantasized about spraying Round Up on my whole yard and having concrete filled in the area then painting it green so I could park on it and never have to mow. I'm not sure if the neighbors would like me better or worse. We aren't real close as it is now. Of course, when you are the person who weeds your yard once a year, why would anyone get that close to you? My husband bought mulch and I felt the two planters by the front steps could use a fresh look so I picked out some nice, self-sufficient-looking plants that could occupy those spaces along with potting soil to give them the best possible start before I ignore them forever. I also got new gloves (my old ones had literally disintegrated) and the cheapest gardening hand tools I thought I might need. When I first arrived home from the store and unloaded, I couldn't find the bag with the gloves and tools. I looked on the receipt and saw I had paid for them. I checked my pile and spied only the soil and plants. Then I threw a hissy fit. There was no way I was going back to the store. I was already sprayed in suntan oil and in my bathing suit (with shorts on the bottom, I don't want to embarrass my children too much). I began digging with my bare hands and pouring soil. When I emptied the last plant, there was the bag with my other purchases that had been lying underneath everything else! Didn't I feel silly? As I pulled the white flowered weeds, they loosed their barb-like seeds onto my clothing. I felt like a fertilization transport device for this invasive organism. "Not on my watch!" I thought to myself as I plucked each barb off my bathing suit. I did find a lone survivor, something I had planted several years ago, attempting to grow again. I was impressed. I was going to save it, but I became lost in thought as my hands were grazing along, pulling the multitude of weeds, like a cow chomping on grass, and I accidentally yanked that poor plant right out of the ground. Sorry, little guy. If I see you next year, I'll try to be more careful. damarainsebring@hotmail.com