I’ve been meaning to log some of the old growth weeds in the back yard lately and, being male, I naturally welcome any occasion, outside of dinner parties, to fire up the old chainsaw. Now that I think about it, I haven’t seen the kids for a few days either, so I might as well kill two birds with one stone and hack my way through the jungle and try to find them.
Which brings me to the topic of today’s column, a phenomenon known as ‘Failing to Thrive’, or ‘Gardening’, as some people call it.
All weed evidence to the contrary, I find myself growing rather fond of this pastime.
I’m not at the stage where I know the Latin names for anything yet. The people who can do that, Obnoxius insufferabilia, have been known to snort pure, uncut Miracle-Gro up their noses, and since I’m not into that scene I’m forced to learn as I go.
Its fun and relaxing to plant stuff and tend to it, and by ‘tending’ I mean ‘squirting water onto its general area.’ For some delightful reason my wife believes watering constitutes yard work, and I am not about to disabuse her of this notion any time soon.
Watering is also good in that I get to practice my aerial gunnery on flying moths and other insects, who rarely know what hits them as I dive out of the sun, water gun blazing, engine shrieking, my Battle of Britain Squirtfire claiming yet another victory in aerial combat. Ha Ha! Curse you Red Baron!!
Ahem. Where was I? Ah yes. Gardening.
There have been other moments of joy scattered amongst my many hours of bewilderment out in the yard.
For example, the other day I was once again staring down at the Alien Infestation thing (Buttugli thinkitsaweedia) and noticed for the first time that it was actually kind of pretty. Don’t tell the guys I said that.
The Alien Infestation is an odd looking plant with tentacles and scales and it is really quite hideous. It looks like what might burst out of your chest in another Alien sequel.
Every time I approach it with malice aforethought, my wife intercepts me and assures me that it is, in fact, a plant and not some disgusting weed from outer space.
She then replaces my hat, which I have removed for a good scratch and ponder, steers me gently towards the overgrown yard, and watches me mutter my way towards that day’s weed harvest.
Then there are the seeds the kids planted. We bought some little envelopes of something or other (Prettypicturus neverlooklikethisia), actually read the instructions on the side, and did as we were told for a change.
The little pots were watered and watched daily for many, many, many weeks.
We finally decided nothing was going to happen, so we tilled the little cups of soil and seeds into the dirt beside one of the pathways. Where, of course, a bounty of flowering plants emerged, looking rather feisty, branches on hips, as if to say “Why didn’t you plant us here in the first place, Bozo?”
Lately, though, despite all of my attention to these plants, they are thriving. Which I find quite annoying since I haven’t a clue what I am doing to produce such a result.
Now that I think about it, this perpetual state of cluelessness and befuddlement could be good training for a government job.
Perhaps it’s time to weed through my old resume and add some more fertilizer to it.
Feature Image: Square Inch Gardening, Courtesy Melissa.