Yesterday, I just couldn’t take it anymore. Ouchy back and all, I got down on my hands and knees to weed the front yard.
I don’t know if it was caused by our warmer than normal winter, or if our grass is just getting wearing out, or if our lawn care service changed the spraying schedule and deferred the weed killer application, but this spring we have been beset by a grotesque plague of weeds. Dandelions, clover, and other ugly looking plants had sprung up everywhere, ruining the uniform, velvety green carpet all homeowners aspire to and making our yard look like a patchwork quilt of unsightliness. It was offensive to look at, and I didn’t want the neighbors to think that we were letting our yard go to seed.
So I went out on weed patrol, with my paper bag and my weed control tools. I know spraying is effective, but I think it’s best to get down close to the spot, get some dirt under your fingernails, and dig the weeds out roots and all. I use some spoon-sized shovels to get under the weeds and work them out of the ground; dandelions, for example, come out with a satisfying pop. And, because I’m using small shovel, the yard doesn’t end up looking like I’ve got a gopher problem.
I worked on the front and side yards for a few hours yesterday and left them looking moderately presentable. Neighborhood pride is a powerful motivator.
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Posted in Family, Humor, tagged Contact Dermititis, Family, house and grounds, Humor, Plants, Poison Ivy, Rashes, Weeding, Weeds on July 2, 2011 |
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I used to weed our beds with joyful, reckless abandon, pulling out the offending plants by the handful. Then, about 10 years ago, during one of the high summer months, I got a bad poison ivy rash for the first time, and my gardening life changed forever.
My hands touched the poison ivy as I was kneeling and weeding the beds on the side of the house, seating heavily as I worked in the summer sun. This turned out to be most unfortunate for me. When I mopped my sodden brow the diabolical irritants on my hands were able to get into the open pores on my face and were splashed onto my arms and chest and legs. By that evening, it was clear that I was in trouble, and by the next morning my rash — technically a case of contact dermititis — was comically bad. My face was bright red and so swollen that my eyes were slits. I also was dealing with multiple patches of misshapen red bumps on every limb that cried out for a vigorous itching. When I went to a dermatologist and took off the sunglasses I was wearing to cover my alien-looking face, the he burst into laughter and said it was the worst case of poison ivy he’d ever seen. The boys found my appearance equally amusing.
Eventually the patches went away, after days of trying to avoid the overwhelming impulse to scratch like a dog with fleas, but ever since I have been especially sensitive to any poison ivy exposure. Apparently this is common. So now, when I weed, I keep my eye out for anything that looks suspicious and treat it with utmost care. On the Poison Ivy Patrol, our motto is “Leaves of three, let it be.”
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Posted in Columbus, Family, tagged Aging, Brick patios, Brick walkways, Columbus, Family, Grass, house and grounds, Weeding, Weeds on May 29, 2011 |
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Our house has two brick walkways and a brick patio. I prefer the look of brick to the look of cement. I like the darker appearance and the more old-fashioned feel that you get from brick.
These positive attributes come at a cost, of course. When spring rolls around, you just have to reconcile yourself to the reality that, at several points during the spring and summer months, you will have to weed the cracks between the bricks — because those tiny slivers of earth seem to be the most fertile ground imaginable. Is there some magical property of brick that encourages the growth of grass and unwanted plants? And, in deference to Penny, we can’t really apply powerful herbicides.
All weeding sucks, of course, but weeding the cracks between bricks is like weeding, squared. It is a precise operation where you have to grasp the weed at its base next to the brick and then gently pull straight up to try to get the roots, too. Gardening gloves don’t really work because they are too bulky. This delicate bare-handed process always results in fingertips and palms scraped against the roughness of the brick, as well as an aching back and sore hamstrings from being hunched over during the endless series of careful extractions.
When you have finally finished, the walkways and patio look great, but you know it is just a matter of time before you are going to have to do it again. Such are the burdens of the brick walkway owner.
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