Thursday, July 28, 2016

Weeds: a Breeding Ground for Friendship

“I could do that in thirty minutes, maybe less.”

I am a homeowner, I dislike yard work. Weirdly, I enjoy weeding ... our flower gardens.

Below is a photo of one garden, pre-weeding. It contains four large hostas and the weeds. ( You can also see the three inch half-round border I put in several years ago; that was fun while it lasted, but it certainly appears that its lasting is about over. Another story, perhaps. )

A Weedy Version of our Peace Garden

I have a tool I can use standing up, cutting weeds, raking them out and collecting them into a pile. The main reason I enjoy this activity, I think, is that I can do most of the work without bending and it provides virtually instant gratification. The picture below shows the same garden post-weeding.
Weeded Peace Garden
I was planning another day of weeding, cleaning up in front ( a few small weeds had returned and were begging for removal ) and weeding an 18 inch strip of earth next to our parking slab.

For these reasons I passed on my wife’s invitation to join her and Jane
( the friend with whom I am working on the genealogy project ) for lunch. I took care of the new weeds in front and began attacking the growth in the eighteen-inch plot. This was hard work; I used my tool as a clever, first knocking the weeds down, then thrusting the tool’s blade at the stalks as near to the ground as I could get. I then used the tool as a rake, pulling the severed weeds onto the parking slab. I planned to clear the entire strip of dirt, then collect the weeds.

Mid-job, I needed a break. With a glass of water and I sat in our screened-in porch, cooling off. Ellie and Jane came home, bringing the hamburger they promised me. I ate the burger, chatting with them about my afternoon and theirs, when, pretty soon, Jane says, “Are you planning to do the gardens, too?”

“Yes, I hoped to.”

“I could do that in thirty minutes, maybe less.”

Her garden always looks amazing. I figured she could do what she said, but wasn’t sure how to take her up on it, whether to take her up on it, exactly what to do.

“Well,” I stuttered, “ … I suppose you could. I’m not that good.” “I’d be ever grateful for your help.”

“Well, you don’t have to do that,” Ellie piped up.

“I love to work in the yard, I find it fun, relaxing,” Jane replied.

“Jane, I wouldn’t expect you to do that,” I said feebly.

“I want to.”

“Are you going to let her do that?” Ellie asked.

“Well, no … but … “ I stammered, “I’m not going to physically restrain her.”

I returned to my task on the eighteen-inch strip. Suddenly, Jane was in the garden next to the parking slab, on all fours, pulling the weeds. “I’ll just leave them on the grass to be picked up later,” she said. “Do you have a pruner,” she asked, “there are some weeds with pretty thick trunks.” I gave her the pruner I was carrying for the same reason she asked to use it.

Boy, she is a worker,” I thought. Then I noticed her new, pink court shoes on the sidewalk, pointing to the house, Jane nowhere to be found. Eventually she returned to the task, with a pair of shoes borrowed from Ellie. She was proud of her new court shoes and didn’t want to sully them in the dirt and woodchips. I understood.

She was working her way from the wooden fence bordering our neighbor’s yard to the chain link fence bordering our neighbor’s yard on the other side. There was a row of pulled weeds lying in the lawn, about two feet from the border with the garden, ready to be picked up and discarded, marking her progress.

Finished with my task, I helped her pick up her weeds and put them in a bag. 

Later, when she was leaving for home, I carried to her car a small box she was taking home. “Thank you again, for your work in the garden,” I said.

“Tomorrow I’ll bet I’ll wake to feel muscles that I didn’t even know I had. You are most welcome.”

The last time I did this, I hurt my elbow … too much use of the ratcheting clipper that I used today as well. I was afraid of waking up with pain. I didn’t. Jane didn’t either; Ellie checked.

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