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The Problem with Gardening

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Photo by Malchata (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Photo by Malchata (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

They are many and varied... if you're Jinxed

About two weeks ago, Stacey and I decided that the flower bed in front of my house needed some mega attention.  I know that doesn’t sound like a huge undertaking, but keep in mind I am only three weeks out of left knee replacement surgery. I was determined to get my strength back in it. My right knee surgery would be done in about 8 weeks. I am still using the blasted walker, so mostly all I do is sit and tell Stacey what should be done. Most of the time she pays attention, but sometimes I know she’s biting her tongue, thinking to herself, “She’s my mom, she’s my mom….”.  I admit, I take full advantage of her respect! 

It has been such a beautiful week in Clark Fork, it has been fun, sitting outside by my flower bed being nothing but bossy. There are, however, a few downfalls to working outside in the sunshine. Bugs. UGH! Insects. GROSS! Sweat. SICK!

Stacey and I are both level-headed gals, most of the time. However, if you throw a busy, buzzing bug in the mix, chances are we will make a quick retreat to safety. Well, at least Stacey can make a quick retreat. I have to stand up and balance myself on my walker before I can take off at a speed barely exceeded by snails. My grip on my walker is still a bit tenuous. I can’t decide which leg to put my best food forward on yet. I still try to get my gimp out of the way of the danger, though. 

I have never understood why insects are so important to ecology. I am just not a big fan of bugs. They are always so angry! I know that wasps probably eat other small bugs and spiders probably eat wasps, and so on, but my foot squashing all bugs balances the ecosystem perfectly as far as I am concerned. A perfect world would be a bug free world. Except for maybe ladybugs... they might be okay, as long as they don’t land on me or anything.

Stacey sits on her knees in the garden, and she can actually move pretty fast when we hear the oncoming buzz of an attack insect nearing. Since I have such trouble moving fast, we have invented our own little protection device. It is called a towel. Yes, a towel can be a lethal weapon, when wielded over your head like a helicopter totally out of control. A towel is a pretty amazing tool, actually. It is effective on several different levels, too. On one hand, as soon as I hear the approach of the buzz, I begin to swing. I think this discourages the nasty critters from getting any closer. If a person got too close to me during this freak out mode, my weapon could very well put an eye out, because when I say SWING the towel around my head, I mean I am seriously using the towel like a mighty Viking battle axe!

Evidently, my flower bed is a virtual ant farm, the likes no elementary student has ever beheld. After watching movies like “Ant Bully,”  “It’s a Bug’s Life,” or even “The Bee Movie,” one would think Stacey and I would understand the disgusting brutes, but we don’t. Those people who tell you that it doesn’t hurt when they sting you are big, fat liars! I have been stung. It hurts like heck ! It is like getting unexpectedly electrified! 

Stacey, being more tenderhearted, has tried to re-home the ants, and the ants are taking to it none too kindly. It is a little sad to watch them retrieve their little eggs and crawl off to the neighboring rocks. They have probably been living there for years; at least their little ant condos look to be well maintained. They are bugs though, therefore, they must go. 

Our entire street must be the Wasp Headquarters for Clark Fork wasps. I know for fact that little wasp meetings are held on my front porch every day as soon as the sun starts to shine. That is when an all day long battle starts. 

When the sun quits shining, you would think it would be perfect gardening weather, but then the mosquito resistance begin their attack. Again, the towel becomes a mighty sword. During this strike is when most of the blood is shed. Though the bees and wasps may not hurt me, they startle me into hurting myself. The mosquitoes however... those little bastards are like winged sharks.

One fine afternoon of the war on weeds and bugs, a particularly persistent wasp refused to quit dive bombing us. He was a mean little bugger, (I say HE because I feel like a female wasp would be way too ladylike to bother herself with an attack like that!), Stacey jumped up screaming, “Run, Mom! It’s coming after you! Wow… RUN? I haven’t even conquered walking fast yet. Of course, maybe in the heat of the moment she thought my cool walker had been refurbished by Inspector Gadget or at the very least Banjo had gone all American Chopper on it. Nope, I must resort to the new towel invention.

Stacey and I haven’t given in yet though. After all, it has only been about two days of work so far. It’s just that the little varmints are quite intimidating for be so small. 

If you are out and about, stop by and see our handiwork in the yard. If you see one of us sprinting across the lawn, or launching our towel around our heads like an absurd looking marionette, just ignore us. It’s called gardening!

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Author info

Jinx Beshears Jinx Beshears is a southern transplant to North Idaho, and shares her confusion with the Pacific Northwest Lifestyle in her column, Jinxed. When not writing, or living, her outlandish stories, she's generally lost somewhere in the mountains with her dog, Aspen.

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gardening, bugs, insects, Jinxed

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