23 March 2015

Jo vs. Nature...Nature is Winning

I really, really do.

As a kid, I never had to do yard work. My dad did it all. Maybe my parents had agreed early on in their marriage, that mom would take care of the house and dad was in charge of the yard. Or maybe that was the expectation of the time—they’ve been married for over 50 years. Either way, yard work never ended up as one of my chores.

Okay, there was a brief stint where I did mow the lawn, but that’s like extreme vacuuming, so I don’t really count it as yard work.

No, yard work is the weeding and the edging and the trimming and the watering and the clipping and the seeding and the tilling and the spraying…and all that jazz. Which isn’t at all jazzy.

This post is making me sound like I hate nature. I don’t hate nature, I hate having to beat it back every three seconds. Because I swear, I’ll weed a section of a flower bed, get a drink of water, go back for more weeding and little, green shoots have already started to invade the six square inches that I just cleaned out.

Weeds are like dust, you get rid of them, but they’re not gone, they’re just lurking nearby, waiting to settle back into their invasive lives. My life.

For instance, last weekend trimmed our peach tree.

This tree is a survivor. In the two falls that I’ve lived in this house, it has produced several large totes full of peaches. Big, juicy, delicious peaches.  We’ve never watered it. We’ve never sprayed it. We’ve never trimmed it. It’s like the cat of trees.

Well, I figured since last year we had to prop a bunch of the branches up—because there were so many peaches on them—that I would trim it.

First off, ask four people how to trim a peach tree and you’ll get four different answers. Make it look like a square. Only trim branches that poke up. Only trim branches that poke down. Cut off all small branches and make it start afresh. Trim it in the fall. Do it in the spring. Do it at night…okay, no one said that I had to trim the tree during the night, but you get what I mean.

I still have tendonitis in my right elbow, so I’m not supposed to use my right hand to trim branches, nor am I supposed to use the double handed trimmers. That leaves lefty and a pair a clippers that have never worked together before.

If anyone had been watching I imagine that for a few minutes, it looked as if the tree and I were having a staring contest. There should have been dramatic, whistle music. The wind rustled the branches. I narrowed my eyes. A new blossom burst open. I flexed my semi-special left hand fingers around the clippers.

After the standoff, I went in.

Remember, this tree hasn’t been cut back in at least three years. Maybe more.

I started on the outskirts, trimming anything that looked dead. I started near the bottom, because I’m short. The clippers and my left hand finally figured out a system that worked. 

I should have worn safety glasses. Lucky for my hands, I had gloves on. My arms got all scratched up when the tree repeatedly expressed its displeasure at being assaulted. It dumped pollen all over me in an attempt to breed. Or maybe that’s its version of throwing poo. A lone bee decided that the pollen on me was more attractive than that in the hundreds of blossoms still on the tree. Apparently the tree thinks sticking branches in my hair is hilarious.

Oh, and just in case anyone is wondering, the husband conveniently got an emergency call from his office and had to do an hour and a half of work from home.

I’m going to have a little chat with his boss, who apparently also got out of yard work, about the whole incident.

It took a while, but I did get the dang tree trimmed. It sort of looks like a square. Ish. There are lovely, pink blossoms on it, so it looks adorable.

I felt a momentary swell of pride and accomplishment when I was finished, but then I turned around and saw the pile of branches that I then had to wrestle into the garbage can. Not to mention getting the garbage can into the back yard through a door that’s just a tiny bit too small for it.

It never ends!

On the bright side, it only took us an hour to weed the flower bed. It looks good. We used our first installment of Weed & Feed. We might actually get more grass than weeds in our yard this year. I think we got rid of the gopher.

No, this post isn't at all about writing. It's about a very stubborn character (me) who refuses to change their stance on an issue that shouldn't be a big deal. All characters need quirks, right?

Not shockingly, I still hate yard work.


Anthony Dutson said...

Very funny. It didn't take long last year for us to realize that the kids weren't weeding the garden. We'd send them out and they'd just move around the garden.

A couple weeks later, we hand an uncontrolled jungle.

Jonathan Stringer said...

Nature is only winning because you won't let me use fire.

-Jo- said...

Next time I'm totally going to just mill about. Great idea!

Jon, we've talked about the fire...