Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Slogging Through the Underbrush

It seems like the only thing I am growing lately is frustration.  My edger was in pieces so I finally went and purchased a snazzy new Black and Decker model.  It's one of those string edgers and this one actually has two lines.  So, that makes twice as many lines not functioning right.  Twice as many spools to mess with.  Twice as many reasons for me to pull my hair out and give up.  I don't know why I can't grok how these things work.  Maybe it's an inherent design flaw - either in the equipment or my brain.

Our good friend Cat generously gave us a new mower that she had never taken out of the box.  I made a trip to the gas station for gas and oil and tried to crank it up.  No go.  I don't think it's the actual mower, I just have a hard time getting those things running.   I guess I don't have the upper body strength so once again I gave up and came inside to get back to work in the office.  I was outside for an hour feebly attempting to get my tools functioning and was left with an empty pit of frustration and a yard that is badly in need of a haircut.  

Yesterday I spent all my outdoor time digging more weeds and cutting back bamboo.  The work that we are doing to contain the bamboo brigade back there is obviously energizing the troops.  For every 25 feet of bamboo roots that David digs out, 25 more shoots appear.  You can almost hear them taunting us - "Really? You think you can get rid of us by pulling up a few of our roots?  We are thousands strong down here in the trenches and when you attack one of our comrades we will not stand for it.  We will rise in force".  

I usually pride myself on the fact that we don't have a picture perfect suburban lawn.  Today I'd give anything for a tame little patch of green with some neat flower beds to tend to.  I feel like I never get to the pretty stuff - you know, the image of the gardener with her straw sun hat, pink gloves, quietly pruning her roses while sipping on iced tea.  I'm always traipsing around with chain saws and oil cans and huge bags of thistles, oak and bamboo - just trying to carve out my place amongst the powerful life forces around me. 

My entire life feels a little like that right now.  I'm constantly scrambling to keep up with demands from all directions - many of which are out of my control and just part of life.  I still have this attachment to the fallacy that if I work hard enough I should be able to tame the wildness and end up with perfect roses.  Sometimes you have to slog through the underbrush to get to the rosebush.  I guess that's what I'm doing these days. 


  1. Hi Christine,
    I hate line trimmers and gasoline motors. G. always starts the mower for me, I do the perimeter and around planters, then he does the middle of the yard. My favorite tool is an electric hedge trimmer, it's easier to handle than a line trimmer, works for grass and ivy and even sometimes hedges. The line trimmers kick up too many rocks and debris.

    The only time I had trouble with the hedge trimmer is when I was cutting back the asparagus patch one January and cut through the extension cord. Did you know that flaming balls of fire shoot out of a cord when you do that? Not a good idea when you have 6' high piles of dry asparagus canes stacked around. I managed to put the fire out without the fire department and with minimal damage to one ankle, but the bottom edge of the fence was smoking and it smelled very interesting for a few days. I'm so glad our back yard neighbors were not home at the time. Even had some asparagus that year!

    Happy gardening!

  2. Thanks Jane! I've been wondering what hedge trimmers are. I am going to see if Lowe's will take this back to keep me as a happy customer and maybe I'll trade it for one of those. I appreciate your insight. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who cuts through extension cords and ankles!