July 6, 2013


Snazzy pot pic found for free, here.
No, not that kind, silly!  Geez, what do you take me for, really?

Although, while I've never tried pot myself, as it is slowly becoming legalized in more states across the country (and is already in use in other countries around the world) for medicinal purposes which may be relevant to our UII community, perhaps it will bear further scrutiny at a another point in time.  I may need to find a subject matter expert on this, though.  Hm....

Anyway, no.  I'm not referring to reefer.  I mean the regular old garden-variety weeds (ha, yes, literally in my garden!) which have overrun my home.  In case I forgot to mention it when I started to blog again this year, we bought our first home at the end of December and until now, I never had much of a garden.  I was aware I don't have a green thumb; in fact I think it's downright brown.  I've frequently joked that when they see me coming, houseplants simply die of their own accord to save themselves from suffering at my inept hands.  (Hey I didn't say I was funny, I only said I try to be.)

Then we bought this house.  With roughly a half-acre of land.  And lots of trees, and shrubs, and bushes, and   over a half-dozen flower beds depending on how you count it.  Which abuts an arboretum next to a state park, further fostering the spread of indigenous flora.  Oh my.  At settlement, the sellers told us a bit about all the planting they'd done and how they picked some varieties specifically for certain reasons, yada yada yada, leading me to the conclusion that I would have some impressive blooms come spring and summer and should probably learn how to tend these gardens.  What I didn't expect was that these beds (not to mention the perimeters of the property) appear to be the most fertile soil I've ever seen, as evidenced by the epic proliferance of weeds that have tried to reclaim the land as their own.

That's right, I'm waging war.
Several times already this season, I've taken the largest sheers we have to the front and sides of the house, where the forests of weeds have all but hidden our front door.  My mother in law, who does garden (whew), came over to help me start pulling weeds and thinning the herds of other plantings.  I recall we spent 3-4 hours at it that day and only got about 85% of the way through one flower bed.  We're discovering that there are only a small handful of actual plantings in each bed but the beds have no mulch or anything and are completely overrun.  Speaking of overrun, say hello to the back 35-40% of my property:

Welcome to wisteria gardens...hey, maybe I can make this a destination and charge admission...!
Because what does a beginner (and bumbling) gardener needs on top of hundreds of well-rooted weeds in her flower beds?  Why, a yard full of very mature wisteria of course!  Let me just add, when these vines intertwined in all the trees and shrubs burst forth with these somewhat grape-scented clusters I took to the Google machine and found out what wisteria actually looks like.  I believe this is Japanese Wisteria which, as you can see, has made an impressive climb into these tall trees across mine and my neighbors' yards.  It is beautiful and I don't want to obliterate it altogether, but holy shnikes people, this is a bit much don't you think?!  Oh, and amid the low-lying vines, there are other shrubs and plants and ... dun dun DUN ... poison ivy.  Which means these two little homeowner newbies aren't going in after the vines on our own.  We're thinking of waiting until the fall when it all starts to die down for the season and hiring professionals to hack it back.  Which of course puts images of machete-wielding treasure hunters in my head...
Another amused gardner commented about the use of machetes, here.
(((Shakes head))) Enough of that!

With all of this in mind, I celebrated our nation's birth on my day off Thursday by venturing out to one of my flower beds to claim my independence from these tyrannical weeds.  To guard against excessive sun exposure, bugs, and contact allergic reactions, I donned long jeans, a long-sleeved t-shirt, and my UII baseball cap, and still only got in about 45 minutes of work before the heat was too much.  I was fairly impressed with myself, though, because I took on the absolutely enormous tall weeds along the side of my garage.  You know how they tell you to lift with your legs and not your back?  Apparently I follow these rules, including while pulling weeds, as evidenced by my strungout hamstrings and bottom muscles for the last day and a half!  I also somehow managed to get six - yes, SIX - bug bites on my shoulder blades (THROUGH my shirt) and two on my FACE in that space of time.  For comparison's sake, I haven't really been bitten at all while sitting around the firepit in the evenings.  Seriously?!

My approach to my weeding has been simple - if it looks like a weed, or I simply don't like it, it comes out.  I realize some of the things I'm pulling may be intentional plantings, but I don't like them and there's far too much going on out there!  And after all, it's MY HOME, so it's my choice:)  (That never gets old, haha.)

But I also made one exception.  As I go around yanking and yoinking, I skip over the clover.  I know they're technically weeds too, but it's this cute kind of clover, growing only in small clusters in the beds, and just as I can arbitrarily rule that some non-weed must go, I can dictate that this weed shall stay!
Cutie pies found here.
Besides, in the otherwise unpleasant task of weeding where I see things I don't like (worms, beetles, spiders, ick blech ack ugh), I get a peaceful satisfaction from scanning the surprise clover patches I uncover for that elusive four-leafer.  Haven't found one so far, but I keep looking.

And afterall, I reminded myself, you can't find a four-leaf clover if you pull all the weeds!

I just love it when I sneak a little wisdom in on myself.  Kind of catch myself by surprise, and am reminded of things bigger and greater and grander than me.  I can play demi-god with my flower beds, but ultimately it's not up to me to determine which things should stay and which should go in life.  There are a lot of weeds in my world and in my past, but if all of the negative things went away what kind of person would I be?  I'd have no drive, little ambition, no sympathy, and no purpose.  I'd likely be alone, having run off Shawn and any other worthwhile companions either through my coldness toward others or my blasé approach to life.  Perhaps I'd be living with my parents or worse, in deplorable conditions, never having been inspired to manage money.  And I certainly wouldn't know any of you without a reason to write this blog.

Maybe I am a four-leaf clover.  Maybe my life is the rare find...what are my leaves?  My gifts, my treasures, my capabilities and blessings that make me unique?

  1. My husband and family, who are unique because they give me so much support, and not everyone is this lucky.
  2. My business/financial perspective, which helps me maintain some level of stability in my unstable life and lets me dream big knowing the small will be ok.
  3. My faith, which I know is something every person has a unique relationship with but I have to acknowledge that for my many sickie peers who feel forgotten, I know I am not.
  4. My diagnosis, which underlies everything else.  I need my family's support more than I should because of these medical challenges.  I crave stability for many reasons, including as a counterbalance to the uncertainty about my medical situation even from day to day and over time.  My continued faith is, to some, surprising given the unpleasantries of being diagnosed with a chronic illness in my teens and the chronic challenges that come with that.  
To come full circle, this is my weed.  Without it my life may be cute like the three-leafers we see above, but nothing special; with it, I feel like a rare find:)  And don't think I don't "get it" - I don't think we should necessarily pretend we enjoy the weeds, but we do need to take that step back and look at the whole picture sometimes.  I think it's those moments when we think "just when something was going well, this weed popped up and spoiled it" when we're seeing our fourth leaf and just don't know it.  Keep an eye out for those times that show you how rare a find you are too.