I hate yard work, any form of it. My belief is that my grandfather left Sicily in 1912 so that his children and grandchildren wouldn't have to grub in the dirt the way he had to (he was a miner) but it didn't work out that way. Mrs Outdoorsman is an avid gardener whose idea of heaven is Butchart Gardens in British Columbia; a place that makes my skin creep and my joints ache, just thinking about the labor involved in maintaining such botanical perfection. We've been there twice and I still sometimes wake up screaming at night, in a cold sweat, dreaming that I've gone to Hell and have been made to work there for Eternity. Worse, I have to listen recordings by The Carpenters and on my day off I work for a moving company the specializes in rugs. But I digress....
From time to time I'm dragged into doing yard work, and so it was today. She never actually said, "Come over here and help me!" but I'm skilled at reading her moods; it was obvious that if I didn't do so "voluntarily" I'd be in big trouble. So I caved. I pulled weeds. The classic definition of a weed is "Any plant growing where you don't want it to," but since I'm totally ignorant as to what "weed" means in terms of our yard unless specifically told "That's a weed," I demanded and got instruction via visual demonstration of weed-ness. Then I went at it.
We have several very interesting weeds in our yard, at least one of which has roots like telephone cables that are long enough to reach Wales. Pulling one of these monsters requires a lot of effort and as it (reluctantly) yields to pulling it takes up a sizable chunk of dirt with it. Looks like that scene in The Hurt Locker when the protagonist finds a trigger for an IED, pulling it up to reveal wires going to several large and very explosive artillery shells dispersed in a radial pattern. I didn't have to worry about a bomb going off, but if weeds were bombs, this would have been how they were rigged to kill me.
Another kind of weed, a very gentle and polite weed, has shallow roots so that it comes up easily. That's much appreciated, but...the damned stuff grows simply everywhere and there are patches of it measured in square meters. I have no idea what it is: it showed up in the yard this year for the first time and somehow it's managed to cover half the area devoted, nominally, to "grass." It's the spiky-looking stuff in the middle of the picture. If anyone knows what it is, please tell me. Luckily it seems to be relatively low growing, has fluffy little bits with what seem to be tiny flowers, fills in spots where my dogs have killed the real grass, and on the whole I think that weed and I have come to an accommodation. Mrs Outdoorsman says she thinks it "...came in on the mulch." Now, I've spoken my piece about mulch elsewhere—it is clearly the work of the Devil—so I won't discuss it further here, the topic is too painful. But you can look at my blog entry for May 15-16, 2020 if you want to learn about what I think about it.
Then there is crabgrass. I don't know why it's called that. Crabs, whatever their personal shortcomings may be, are at least edible. Nothing short of a goat eats crabgrass, and we have no goat. I would rent a goat if I could, but then it would eat everything else and I'd be in real trouble.
Our yard is a haven, a refuge, for dandelions. I like dandelions. They're gentle and inoffensive flowers against whom every man's hand is raised, but I don't know why they're so hated. I once had a neighbor mildly complain about a bumper crop of dandelions in our front yard, but as I told him then, "They're green and they hold the dirt in place."
A few weeks ago Mrs Outdoorsman bought a new tool that is just the ticket for murdering dandelions. It's a small version of those monster machines that are used to pull up whole trees to transport them somewhere, root ball and all. This widget will pull anything with a taproot out of the ground right handily; in fact, the bigger the dandelion the better it works. Get one with an 8" taproot and the thing really goes to town, yanking it up when you lean back on it.
At one end is a four-pronged sort of claw, and a long "foot" (I don't know what else to call it). You shove the prongs of the gadget into the ground, around the center of the harmless and inoffensive dandelion, then lean back, rocking the tool on the "foot." Hey, presto! out comes the dandelion writhing and screaming in pain, struggling to return to the dirt whence it grew. But no such luck. This little machine has the additional virtue that it is used standing up. I had to get down into the muck and mud for the other weeds, but I could kill dandelions without even stooping. That reconciled me to floricide.
Oh, yes, in addition to all this, I was tasked to bathe our two dogs. The Lab is no problem, she seems to enjoy a bath; but the Border Collie goes nuts when she sees a hose spraying water. Washing her is a genuine PITA because she won't stand still. She has to bite at the water, but God knows what she's thinking. When I do manage to get her soaped up, rinsing her off is a heck of a job because—even on a leash—she leaps and charges at the water. I get wetter than she does in the process of giving her a bath. But at least we both smell nice, kind of like...dog shampoo.
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