Weeds



I have discovered the best way to get rid of weeds is to weed. Ageless words of wisdom right there.


What is the meaning of life?

Loaded question, I know. One that has been pondered upon, written about, studied in art and discussed for centuries by ones such as Plato, Aristotle, Gauguin, my Keene State College Business Ethics professor What’s-His-Name, religious devotees, Monty Python…oh, and me.

I don’t profess to think about it very much. I’m too busy thinking about paying mortgage, the price of good quality balsamic vinegar (because it would be a crime to use the cheap stuff on a Caprese Salad) and making it home safely from my commute. (Why don’t people yield anymore? There used to be YIELD signs on the on-ramps and I don’t see them now. Please, for the love of all that is holy, put your phone down and turn your ass around to see if there is ALREADY A CAR in the lane as you’re merging on to the highway. When you are picking up speed to get where you’re going, if you looked, you would see that I AM ALREADY THERE and do not feel it is safe to slam on my brakes to let your phone-talking-so-too-lazy-to-look-to-see-if-it-is-safe ass get in front of me. I can’t move to the left because there is a car there, so you’re forcing me to speed up and since I have my cruise control set at 71 mph which is a nice speed to get me where I’m going, make me feel like I’m hurrying, but still allow me to get passed by the cops instead of pulled over, I am now having to hit 80/85 mph in order to get out of your way. AND I DON’T WANT TO DO THAT, OK?!)

I was outside weeding on Memorial Day weekend (thank you for your service to all in active duty and all veterans and their families), the chickens were outside for their first days out of their basement brooder box. I watched them pick up their feet and walk funny as they experienced the new sensation of wet grass. I sat back and lost my concentration on chickweed (invasive stuff!) as I spied some of the chickens rounding a corner, leaving one behind. She picked up her head after just a few moments and didn’t see her sisters and brother. And started to cheep (chirp? Wasn’t quite a cluck. I’ll stick with cheep.) Loudly. Panicked. She’s been with her flock since minutes after she was born. And while looking down, hunting for food, she lost sight of them. Now she was alone, and didn’t like it.

Which got me to thinking. I left my job after 14 years and went to another company, to do the same job. I wanted to plant unique plants this year and try something new. I didn’t and only planted veggies that we know we like. Am I avoiding MY wet grass, that uncomfortable feeling of something foreign and outside my comfort zone? Do I have my head down, just trying to pay the bills, continuing to peck in the same place, hoping a bug will somehow magically appear? As I wrap my head around the fact that I have another surgery (my third in 2 years – this one will have me recovering at home for 6 weeks) I ask, “What is the meaning of MY life?” Friends and family are offering to come stay with us to help which warms my heart. Keith keeps telling me we should enjoy life now, not ONLY focus on saving for later. My new boss, responding to the news that, after 5 months of getting me ramped up, would now only have 1 week to prepare for my absence before I was gone for a month and 1/2, said something similar. We work to pay for life. Life is important.

My little lonely chicken (no name, I can’t tell her apart from the other yellow ones), must have heard a noise from her family because she basically flew-hopped around the corner and barreled into the others as if they were bowling pins. Then she proceeded to put her head down in the wet grass and hunt for bugs in this new spot. This made me smile then and it makes me smile as I think about it again now and realize that I am CONTENT. And that maybe THAT, gentle readers, is the answer to my question.

Worth watching…


I haven’t blogged in a while. Why? Cuz I been bizzy. Not regular busy with a “u” and an “s” but crazy “did-I-put-on-pants-today?” bizzy. In the months of October and November, normally reserved for reading and knitting, typical “getting ready for hibernation” stuff, I found myself interviewing for jobs. 8 jobs. In 2 months. Add that to the fact that my DJ (day job) at the time was super busy and we decided to host Thanksgiving and were looking at hosting 16, well, I look back now and am surprised I didn’t have that heart attack which, on some days, felt very close.

I accepted one of the job offers with what feels to be an excellent firm, and, after (1.5 months shy of) 14 years at my DJ, I gave notice on 12/8, with the new job planned to start on 1/3. Gentle reader, if you didn’t realize the implications of that-go read it again. I had close to 1 month off. Granted, it was around the holidays, so I filled my days up quickly, but let me tell you, I liked it. I got rid of that, “Will the heart attack be today? Gosh, I hope it doesn’t happen when I’m driving” mania.

What, you ask, does this have to do with homesteading and “Learning to fend for yourself?” Well, it is all about quality of life. This new company is closer to home. Do you even realize what this means? I will get home and it will still be daylight. On a weekday. That leaves time for so many things…

Ready for a small peek into my soul? (You might not be.) The absolute first thing that came to mind when I wrote that was, “Weeding.” As you know if you are a fan of the Patch, weeding is my stress reliever. I call it Dirt Therapy. (Not dirty therapy, that was the second thing that came to mind.)

I plan to write more. edible South Shore asked for more articles. I started a book. DaisyPatchFarm.com will get more love. Maybe I will find other venues, magazines or otherwise, that want to subject themselves to my innermost thoughts.

I plan to take good care of the chickens we are getting.

I plan to experiment in the garden more, try new veggies, try more organic techniques.

I plan to eat more of what we grow. (Which makes me want to amend that previous statement, because I am not going too crazy here. No, like, okra or anything.)

I plan to spend more time with the people I love. WAIT! This is not a resolutions list!

Back to the garden. With the new door on the greenhouse, we will be using it this year and I most definitely will have it up and running in order to grow in it next Winter.  Which is sort of the purpose of it.

So, you heard it here first, gentle readers. Less weeds! More writing! Cluckers! New foods! Better health! More love! World peace! Well, maybe not quite that, but a gardener can dream big, can’t she?


Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.  ~Standing Bear

Why did I like this quote? Because really, during a stressful week at the DJ (day job), I find myself sort of day dreaming about weeding. Wait, shall we go back and read that again?…I find myself sort of day dreaming about weeding. You read that right, gentle reader, oh fan of the DaisyPatch, oh gardener with humor. My brain, when at its max, (that must have been the 9000’th time I had to look up, “Possessive its” on Google to see if I had to include the apostrophe. You’d think I would remember by now. I disgust myself.) dreams of crabgrass and chickweed and dandelions.

Let’s (I know the apostrophe goes there!) be honest here. I’m not dreaming about them in a lovely The-Hills-Are-Alive-With-The-Sound-Of-Music sort of way. I dream of ripping-them-out-from-the-roots-and-tossing-them-in-a-pile-where-they-bake-and-wither-in-the-sun-until-I-scoop-them-up-and-throw-them-into-a-mound-of rotting-compost sort of way. You know, garden violence. If you are a gardener, you know of that which I am speaking (writing. blogging. whatever).

Is that so wrong? There could be worse places to work out your aggression. (Like your dog, or the neighbor’s mailbox, or throwing rotten vegetables at the colonial-days-village-thief locked in the stocks in the town square (Man, wouldn’t it be great if they still did that? I would be ALL over that. I wouldn’t have tomato sauce. I’d have saved all 100+ pounds of tomatoes just for the throwin’.)) Where was I? Right. Weeding. I find it to be not only relaxing, but therapeutic. Not Therma-Rest-Pillow therapeutic cuz that is heaven right there, but therapeutic in its own way. Just sitting in the dirt, digging with a (now-gloved) hand, pulling out the unsightly vegetation and leaving behind the pretty, wanted things. I usually don’t listen to music and it takes a while sometimes for my mind to stop racing. (I am usually composing blog posts while I’m out there – you know- the garden is my muse after all.) (That was so extremely corny I am not sure if I will keep it there, but, the more I think about it, the more I lean toward leaving it in because, well, it’s true.) (Another “it’s.” Glad I looked that up again.)

Once the brain settles though, it’s kind of a zone. A good zone. Until my muscles ache so bad the next day that I walk like an arthritic 90-year-old. Then, it sort of sucks. But the zone time – yeah. That is usually good.

 


I found this on a quote website under Garden Quotes. There was no author posted.

“My neighbors don’t recognize me by my face, but they know my butt well.”

It was worth sharing.


My I’m In Pain haiku…ahem…

Why don’t I wear gloves?

My left hand got stuck with thorns

My right hand got stung.

Now go get a hot chocolate and when you come back, curl up at my feet and I’ll tell you the story of the sunny October day your old Aunt Jenn got her first bee sting after 27 years.

First, we need to start at the beginning, where all good stories start. When she was 12, your Aunt Jenn’s big brother was given a plane ride for his birthday. Being the youngest of three, and a little spoiled to say the least, she wasn’t too thrilled about spending a Summer afternoon in a dusty country airport field. She forgot a book to read and so entertained herself by playing balance-beam on some planks that were laid across stumps in a makeshift seating area. Up and down she walked. Up and down, up and down. The minutes seemed like hours. “How boring,” she cried, and kept walking up and down the planks. The hours dragged and she, like all little pouty, bored girls do when no one is paying attention to them, started to stomp. Stomp, stomp, stomp.

Little did she know, she stirred up a bees’ nest and they were mad. AT HER! What do you think happened next? That’s right, she got stung.

She ended up in the emergency room where a mean, nasty doctor with red eyes and fangs took out the longest needle he had and held it up to the light where it gleamed like a sword (or maybe it was a sword. It probably was, the bastard). He used that needle to pick every one of the 17 stingers that were left behind in your Aunt Jenn by those big, mad bees. She’s been terrified of needles, and bees, ever since (I’m sure you can imagine!)

Well, you would think your Aunt Jenn would have learned her lesson about gardening without gloves after she picked hot peppers and wiped her nose, but apparently, she’s not that bright (we do still have hopes for her though). One bright, Sunny October Sunday, 27 years after that fateful day, she was weeding and pulling everything out of the ground that was within reach. Without looking, she reached out her left hand and it brushed a thorny weed. Now, this was not the type of thorny weed that only has a few thorns like a rose bush. This was the type that was covered top to bottom with skinny, hairy thorns that get into your skin and are invisible so it’s real hard to get them out.  All the thorns were in the top of her fingers, from her knuckles to the nail. She stopped weeding for a while and tried to pick them out, but a lot were just stuck…and sting-y.

After finishing weeding in the backyard, she went to help Uncle Keith pick Husk Cherries, a sweet little fruit that falls to the ground when it’s ripe. It’s one of Aunt Jenn’s favorites. Uncle Keith went into the basement to grab his leaf blower while Aunt Jenn stayed outside, picking the little husk-covered fruits from the ground and putting them in her bowl. Bending and picking, bending and picking. Reaching down with her right hand to get a particularly large morsel, she felt the electric-jolt and sharp stabby pain that can only be described as…what do you think she felt? That’s right? A bee sting.

She didn’t see what it was, but she knew…OWIE OWIE OWIE, oh oh OWIE OWIE OWIE! was all she could say. She didn’t cry, she’s a trooper, but she did make a LOT of noise and then ran inside to get Uncle Keith.

Aunt Jenn: Keith! KEITH!

Uncle Keith (from the basement): What?

AJ: I GOT STUNG!

UK: Okay

AJ: Oh, oh, oh, owie owie owie, oh (while using her thorny and now rashy left hand to get baking soda out of the cabinet).

She mixed the baking soda together with some water to make a paste, like she knows you’re supposed to do, and packed it on top of the sting, which, by this time, was just a little white lump with a small hole in the middle, right on top of her right ring finger.

UK: You ok?

AJ: Owie. Owie, it stings, I didn’t see it. I just reached down and it got me. Oh, owie. (Really, “Owie” was the word.)

UK: Are you allergic, do you need to go to the hospital?

AJ: I don’t know, the last time I got stung was by a lot of them, so I ended up in the hospital with a weird reaction, so I always thought I was allergic, but I don’t know if I’m allergic, what if I’m allergic, what’ll happen I’m probably not allergic, oh owie maybe I should take some benadryl, do we have benadryl, yeah, I’ll take some benadry owie I can’t believe I got stung, I’ve done so well avoiding bees, I can’t believe it oh, owie, god it hurts, what the hell? owie where’s the benadryl, didn’t we buy some for Daisy in case she got stung I can’t find it, have you seen it I thought it was in Daisy’s drawer, but I don’t see it owie, god, it’s throbbing.

UK: Did you see a stinger?

AJ: Oh, I don’t know (looks) nope, no stinger, just a hole look at it (she makes Uncle Keith look at it) he left a freeking hole in me owie, ow ow, dammit it hurts WHERE’S THE GODDAMN BENADRYL?!?

UK (calmly): I’m not sure if we have some, do you want me to get you some?

AJ: No I’m fine, I’ll just put some more baking soda on it. Owie, ow, crap it stings.

UK: Are you sure you don’t want to go to the hospital?

AJ: No, but if my throat closes up, I’ll be PISSED. Ok, I have more baking soda on it, I have to sit down.

UK: Jenn, don’t panic, you’ll be fne.

AJ: It’s been forever since I’ve been stung, I can’t believe I got stung owie, it still hurts, what the hell?

UK: Well, I’m going to go back outside, I’ll need you to hold the ladder in a little bit, do you mind?

AJ: No, I’ll be fine, I think it’s calming down. Ooh, ow, still stings, but I’ll be fine. Sure I’ll help.

And so kids, that’s the story of Aunt Jenn’s first bee sting in over 25 years. What do you think? Do you think your Aunt Jenn wore her gloves after that? That’s right. She sure did. Ok, nighty night, don’t let the bed bugs bite.

Ed note: It still hurts.


Yesterday, I was out in the Chef’s Garden pulling weeds and thinning carrots when Keith came out to join me. Here’s what transpired.

Me: Hey, whatcha doin?

K: Helping weed

Me: Cool

Him: That your weed bucket? (points to bucket)

Me: (Weeding) Yup

Him: (Weeding)

Me: (Weeding)

Him: (Weeding. Puts weeds in bucket)

Me: (Weeding. Put weeds in bucket)

Him: (Weeding)

Me: (Watching him weeding)

Him: (Weeding)

Me: I will cherish this moment forever

Him: What?

Me: I will cherish this moment forever

Him: Why?

Me: Here we are, silent, side by side, working together toward a common goal like true partners. It’s special. I will cherish this moment forever.

Him: You’re queer


My crabgrass haiku…ahem

Oh crabgrass, you suck

Taking over the garden

You like bat shit too?

First, sorry for the long lapse between posts, we decided to go away on a quick vacation. We came back to pure jungle. Note to self – what is a little, tiny weed before vacation will, if not pulled promptly, turn into a ginormous crabgrass that completely envelopes the red onion so that when you pull out the weed, you pull out the onion as well. We’ll be eating two immature onions sometime in the near future.

Onto Keith’s mission. We have a chipmunk problem. What we thought was one or two chipmunks have been creating havoc in our yard, like the gopher in Caddy Shack. I swear I could hear them giggle to themselves as they dug up our yard and garden, putting holes everywhere. Bastards. Keith bought a Havahart trap. He’s relocated 18 chipmunks so far and is still trapping at least one per day. I expect to come home and see little pencil drawings of chipmunks on the wall to mark his “kills” (which are just “relocates!”) Maybe it is the same one and he keeps coming back. Perhaps we should spray his tail or something. I doubt it though, Keith is bringing him towns away from here and setting him free to start a new life (or get hit by a truck like the one yesterday. Well, the little idiot just froze in the road! That was just natural selection right there – taking out the dumb ones.) Can you just imagine the scene?

Me: Hold him still

K: What do you mean, hold him still? I’m not touching him

Me: Well, how am I supposed to spray just the tail if he keeps moving around in the cage?

K: Just do it already

Me: I don’t want to get it in his eyes, you know? What if I blind him? Then it would just be torture where we’re trying to be humane here

K: Would you spray him, Jenn?

Me: Well, now he’s tucked his tail under his body and he’s not moving. Shake the cage

K: Oh my God, Jenn. Do you want me to put some gloves on so you can spray his tail while I hold him? (with notes of sarcasm)

Me: (Completely serious) Yeah, yeah. Where are your gloves?

K: I am NOT going to hold him while you spray him with paint. If you don’t spray him right now I’m just going to let him loose back in the yard. We do this any longer and he’s doing to die of a heart attack anyway

Me: Ok ok ok. Don’t move. (sp-sp-spray) Damn it! I had the nozzle pointing in. Crap, does this stuff come off?

K: (laughing)

***

Now for my story. Yesterday, freshly relaxed from a few days of decompression, I decided to tackle the weeding. Apparently, crabgrass likes guano too because they were the size of small neighborhoods. Sunscreen – check. Crocs – check (with little socks underneath, gotta protect the vacation pedicure!) Weed popper – check. Gallon bucket – check.

Out to the Chef’s Garden where we’d eat like kings if everything out there was edible, but 1/2 the plants didn’t belong there and were starting to take over. Now that I can tell what a carrot and parsnip look like (I think I completely weeded the beets when they first started to emerge. So much for that!) I weeded all the garden beds as storm clouds started to move in. Apparently, it was very hot and dry while we were gone. Thankfully, K had set up sprinklers on timers to water the vegetables while we were gone. The flowers, shrubs and lawn could use a drink, however, so the storm wasn’t bad news.

I, however, wanted to finish at least weeding this one garden before I went inside. Keith came out with his radio headphones on, ready to start up the mower. I pointed to the sky and said, “So much for mowing!” to which he replied, “Well, I’ll get it started, the grass is pretty tall,” and walked down to the back of the house to get the mower.

It was only Noon and the sky got very, very dark. The cool breeze came through and then the thunder hit. It was only a few moments from when he walked away to when I saw him walk back, “So much for that.” I told him I was just going to finish weeding and see him inside. Back in he went to make us some Sangria (love that man!)

As it started to sprinkle, I thought to myself, (always be careful of the inside voice!) “What’s a little rain? I just spent a week floating in either the pool or the ocean, why would I go inside? Real farmers don’t let bad weather stop them. I’m going to keep weeding. I don’t have much further to go. Yup, real farmer. Not letting the weather stop me.  My next blog post will be all about how I’ve graduated to ‘real farmer’ from ‘backyard gardener.’ Real farmers farm in the rain (it is definitely raining by now! I’m drenched). Look at me I’m a REAL SSSSSSSSSCCCRRRRRREEEEEAAAAAAAAMMMMMM!”

As I was bragging to myself in my head, I was yanking weeds and accidentally disturbed a grasshopper – the ones with wings – who flew up and bounced off my face and then flew away. The scream, I am sure, could be heard next door. See that peg? I was just knocked down from it. I picked up my stuff and took my drenched, backyard gardener ass inside.


My mosquito haiku…ahem

Dreaded mosquitos

I beg you, stop biting me

It makes me itchy

First topic: Garlic Scapes.  I was quite disappointed to see Scapes at the Farmers’ Market. We didn’t have any. Waah. Garlic Scapes were one of the things, besides Husk Cherries, that we discovered when members of the CSA a few years ago. Nummy. So, when I weeded the Chef’s Garden and didn’t see any Scapes, I was bummed, to say the least. Great. What kind of Garlic did we buy cuz I didn’t want to buy it again. I want scapes (in my best Veruca  impression, “But I want an Oompaloompa now!) 

The next day, what to my wondering eyes should appear? Garlic Scapes. Lots of them.  Whoopee!

Now what? I didn’t like the Garlic Scape pesto recipe I used last year.

Topic #2. I weeded. What? What are you saying, Mr. Dandelion? You’re telling me that if you weed a little bit each day, it is an easier task than waiting until 2 months into the season? Kiss my ass and then rot in the compost heap. On a good note, I found carrot, parsnip and cucumber seedlings. Hooray. I also found some husk cherry and a few tomato seedlings. That’s kind of cool. We’ve had that happen before – a tomato would fall from the vine and leave a seed in the ground, only to make it through the Winter and start growing in the Spring. I had to pull the tomatoes. This was the same garden bed that had the tomatoes last year and we were hit by the late season blight. After doing some reading (thank you Google and several gardening blogs I have decided to follow), I read that you need to not plant tomatoes in the same bed for three years, so I figured I wouldn’t risk it. I pulled that baby and gave it a little heave into the “pile” on top of the twigs, sticks and icky, decomposed things.

On a bad (good?) note, I think I weeded anything that might have been a beet.

Topic #3. Surprise. Our Green Beans are beaning. Greening? Green Beaning? Sporting Beanage? (sniggle).  We ate tonight’s harvest for dinner tonight!

 Yes, Mom, I’m eating my veggies! All 5 of them. Ooh, so full. (This is the type of veggie serving where you really hoped Mom would say, “You can’t eat any dessert until you eat all your green beans.” “Done. No, I didn’t spit them in my napkin. No, I didn’t feed them to the dog. I really ate them, see?” as you wave your napkin to show it is empty & waggle your tongue to show there are no green beans hidden underneath.)

Funny how I used to HATE green beans as a kid. Hate. Gag, actually. I really did. I couldn’t wash them down with milk either because I hated milk. Guh. I don’t care how much chocolate syrup you put in milk, I just can not handle the stuff. (I just realized I’m making this frowny-wrinkled-frown-‘ick’-face as I type this. I suppose that in normal, literary descriptive terms it would be, ‘She wrinkled her nose,’ but I’ve got this whole mouth-turned-down-eyebrows-and-nose-squinched-face on like I just smelled something awful.) Back to green beans. I’ll have to ask my Mom, but I think the beans we ate as kids were canned. My sister and I usually helped prepare dinner and I don’t recall washing any fresh beans. That’ll probably ‘splain it. (Come on, all together now…’Luuuuucyyy…’)

Topic 4: Li’l Bastard. This guy was in the back yard.  I asked Keith, “Did you find that picture on the net to just show me what he looked like?” Uh, no.

Walter Whistlepig is a resident of the Patch. Damn. That guy’s kind of cute, but a have-a-heart eviction notice is now set because we haven’t invested in a fence yet. Wook at that wittle face. BuhBye. You gotta go.

Topic #5. I haven't posted a picture of the buddies in a while.