Friday, June 22, 2012

...vegetation and I have never gotten along all that well...

One of the chores I had to attend to, especially because Dad was on the road so much when I was a kid, was to help out with the lawn and gardens which surrounded our house. Mom planted gardens everywhere she could, and many a hot summer afternoon found her planting, weeding, sculpting small irrigation canals around the plants, trimming them and generally keeping everything looking really good. I've never found it all that rewarding doing lawn and garden stuff. But every week I was out there, mowing 2 and a half lots; our back and front yards held a total of 26 pine trees, and then afterwards, watering all of the plants around the house. In spite of the fact that I had some killer hayfever, there I was, toiling away. The sooner I got done, the sooner I could go swimming. So I had incentive. Fast-forward to today: I see people working in their gardens all the time. And I guess it's quite an industry; around this time of year, stores stock plants, fertilizer, bark, mulch, seedlings, seeds, herbicides, and gardening tools up the ying-yang. But, I don't give a Royal Rip about gardening. I find it dull, boring and monotonous. You couldn't pay me to pick up a shovel. But those who battle the onslaughts of weeds do undergo mighty struggles to make things look great. One such example is my next door neighbor is plugging up mole-holes in his lawn, using all types of incendiary devices. As long as he doesn't blow up my house, I'll be happy. Now, I always root for the Underdog: The Small Independent Businesses struggling against Corporate Giants. The legions of blue-collar folks who don't get all of the breaks that the Fat Cats get. Charlie Brown's little scraggly Christmas Tree. The everyday property owner fighting off nature. And even little plants that manage to gain a foothold in This Cruel World. The small against the get the idea.
Well, earlier this year, I stepped outside to get in the car, and in the small space between the driveway and the side of my house, I saw the first wisps of a little bush trying to take hold and survive. And I don't think it's a weed. And I've been watching it with a sort of detached bemusement, because it's surviving; it's growing, and doggone it, I've even weeded it a couple of times. (Me Weed?) Luckily for me there's enough moisture down here on the Oregon Coast (and especially lucky for the bush) for it to survive, no matter what I do (or don't do) to it. I told the kid who mows the lawn to steer around it; I want to see how big this thing gets. Heck, I've even thought about watering it. With my luck, it'll grow up to be some sort of poisonous plant, but maybe not. And as long as it wants to grow here, it's got a home. Nature's life force. Growing in spite of me. If anyone knows what kind of bush (or weed) this is, please let me know.
So, I'm taking my meager "hands off" approach to gardening to the next level. I was at a friend's house when I noticed a big spiky weird-looking bush-tree sort of plant growing on his property and I commented about it, and he told me that all that needs to be done is rip off a few spikes and stick 'em in the ground, and they'll grow, just like that. Really! Really, I guess. It is some kind of Flax plant, to the best of my knowledge, and I have a plan: I'll plant a couple of Flax shoots smack in the middle of my back yard, theoretically resulting in big spiky bushes which should drive the neighbor kid who mows the lawn crazy. One of my neighbors who lives in a butt-ugly three-story house south of me, for some reason chopped down a bunch of trees, which means I get more sunlight, which is great for the lawn and any attendant plants (dandelions and all). Just the Flax, ma'am. Just the Flax.
Best of all, I could put the same amount of effort into the Flax plant as I did the little bush (none), and I'd have a sort of centerpiece on my lawn and I could marvel at it, if I ever spent time on my lawn (which I don't). And I'm thinking, what a great way to 'prank' a neighbor who goes on vacation with his family. I could stealthily sneak onto their property, plant a few Flax shoots, and when they come back, "pop pop pop pop", they'd find flax bushes growing everywhere. I can just hear it now: "WHERE THE F$%&!!!! DID ALL THESE $#%&#ING BUSHES COME FROM?" Snicker snicker...maybe I'll prank the neighbor who has the Ugly Pink House. That's all he needs, weird-looking spiky plants adorning his Pink House. It really is ugly. Anyone who has a pink house SHOULD be pranked. Short of that, I could canvass the neighborhood and try to take up a collection, and when 'that' neighbor takes his family on vacation, I could perhaps hire a painting outfit to paint the house another color. "What color?", they'd ask, and I'd say, "I don't care. Just cover up the Pink."
As you can tell, I'm never home; I don't even know my neighbors' names. And I've got good fences. Though, the neighbor in the Pink House knocked a section of it out with his tree-falling travesties. I'm gonna have to talk to him about that. If I don't prank him first.


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