Friday, June 13, 2008

Well-meaning but Misguided

Making my garden rounds this morning I saw this poor old thing, hanging off a chive from one lifeless leg. At least he died happy.

And the deer have been around, as my beloved Northern Spy apple tree and my dwarf sumac can attest.

Now, you know I am careless about the inside of my house, but I am vigilant about untidiness in the garden. I weed like a crazed woman, hunting the beds for any sign, no matter how teeny, of an aggressive intruder. When I see a little sprout starting, I ruthlessly jerk it from its nurturing soil and toss it, roots-up, onto the concrete driveway in the blistering sun. Once it's dead and dried and wilted past saving, it goes into a garbage bin to be taken to the curb on "Yard Waste" day. I have no mercy. I am grim-faced and methodical.

I am a weeding Nazi.

I've lived here for four years and each year I struggle with this one particular weed, which keeps coming back behind my front bed. It's got kind of a furry, floppy, large leaf and it is pretty hard to get rid of. It must grow from root fragments or something.

Well, this year I did my first weeding day a little earlier than usual. I pulled out all the mystery weeds I could find. A month or so later, I noticed that two more of them had started up after I left, and were at a good distance from the edge of the bed. Hard to reach. I felt a fury and a hatred rise up within me, but I also felt something else - defeated. Demoralised. Woebegone.

I kept meaning to get out the long-handled cultivator and chop out those weeds, but got a little distracted keeping up with the perennial beds (and keeping Piper from uprooting and devouring them) and forgot about them.

Yesterday I went out to spend the afternoon in the front garden. I had to edge the front bed, tie up the peonies, deadhead the bachelor buttons, pull out the recurrent buttercup that is the scourge of my life and threatens to choke out the shrubbery, and weed the corner heather. I cleared out a meter-high collection of buttercup and stinky (but beautiful) pink weeds whose leaves look a little like bleeding heart. I stood back to admire my work, and that's when I saw them. Saw the weeds I have been pulling out for four years in an attempt to keep my front perennial bed beautiful and tidy.

While mourning the fact that I don't have enough money to buy any more lovely perennials to beautify my flower garden.

And here are the weeds.

And now I think I shall take up stamp collecting instead.


kate said...

As soon as I read furry leaves I was worried, knowing that they are multitudinous in my garden... and your last picture confirmed my worries.

Here's the kicker ... deer won't touch them.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Are you related to Dave Hindsburger? I read his blog and it seemed to me that you are related to him in some way. I just heard him speak two days ago and found it difficult to believe that he can be who he pretends to be when he's up front. Can you tell me what he's really like?

Shan said...

Anonymous, what a very interesting comment.

I must answer you here, as there is no email address on your comment.

To your first question, Dave's partner Joe is my uncle. Therefore I call him Uncle Dave, or sometimes in the third person I refer to him as "my uncle's husband" or "my uncle-in-law". He calls me Niece Shannon, Pie Genius.

(Well, not that pie part.)

As to your finding it difficult to believe that he can be who he pretends to be, I'm not sure I can answer that at all, because I can't know how you perceived him. Do you mean "is he really that conscious of disphobia everywhere he goes?" Yes. Do you mean "is he really that funny when you talk to him one on one?" Yes, but more relaxed and less scripted, naturally. Do you mean "is he really fonder of dogs than humans?" I think so. Do you mean "are all those stories he tells actually true?" Yes. I was sitting beside my uncle in one of Dave's lectures last month, and I checked with him via raised eyebrows and incredulous facial expressions.

The best way to get to know Dave is to read his blog. I don't mean to read his blog day by day now, I mean to read the archives chronologically. I did that shortly after we reconnected via the magic of Blogger. Chewing the Fat is an activist blog, not simply a personal journal as mine is. Therefore, there is an overarching theme, but reading between the lines you can glean a lot of insight into his character.

For instance I learned that he is funny, keen of sight, and quick to pounce on ignorance, but he is also sensitive, impulsive, and easily hurt.

I don't know how helpful I have been but of course, as I explained, I'm not sure exactly what the question was. If you wish, do feel free to write to me at the address given in the sidebar and I will do my best to answer you.

Dave Hingsburger said...

I am NOT easily hurt! Oops, maybe I am. I saw this here this morning and came to suggest that you just let the question go. But thanks for what you wrote. Also, Joe is insisting I write here (as he doesn't do comments - he barely does email) that the flowers are foxgloves and to eat is to die. Not recommended in gardens that children have access to. Me, I don't know a fox glove from a lady slipper. Anyways kiddo ... gotta go and watch a BBC documentary on WW2 (he is your mother's brother you know)

kate said...

Dave's right, the foxgloves are poisonous (digitalis). (But I bet you knew that.)That's what keeps the deer away! I have a kid who never attempted to eat anything he wasn't supposed to and who I told in no uncertain terms to stay away from plants period (until he got old enough to know the vegetables, fruits and herbs). So for me it's not an issue, but some families don't grow them.

All parts are poisonous, btw, not just the flowers. So maybe watch Piper when you pull them out or cut the spent blooms down. Even sheep won't eat them!


Shan said...

Yes I do know they're highly toxic, which is a right shame. Lupins are, too. So are rhodos, though, and of course my true love, Rhubarb. It's a wonder any of us are still living, with the number of poisonous plants about.

By the way we had a huge bear in our yard today. It was pretty weird.

Dave the "easily hurt" thing was absolutely a compliment. I commend you for your sensitivity and your openness to feeling.

kate said...

Strange time of year for the bears to be in town... esp a big bear. What did the dog think of it?

Dave Hingsburger said...

Yo, Shannon, really I was just trying to be funny - I thought what you wrote was perfect!

Shan said...

That's a relief, Dave. Looks like I, too, am sensitive.

Kate, it was EXTREMELY peculiar. We didn't see it. I had taken the kids out to the playground and Mr HSB was in the shower when it all happened. Apparently Mr 3-Doors Down chased Ursus down the street to our place, whereupon he lumbered up through our yard and (presumably) into the back woods. The neighbours were all clustered in our driveway worrying about our kids, but we were all oblivious til we got home.

I think Piper can smell him in the backyard though.

Gwen said...

re: weeds -- So we really are related!!!

knititch said...

a weed nazi who is careless about her house. sounds like me. not that i am a weed nazi but i am sooo careless about my house but then there are spaces where there is complete order. like my cds that are almost always in alphabetical order.... or my knitting where i'd rather rip than live with ssmall mistakes.

Annalea said...

Just when you think you've got life figured out . . .

I love those weeds. What delicate shades of pink and yellow. ;o) (All the wild ones down here are a dark magenta.)

Gotta run (still drowning in boxes) . . .