Yanking My Way Through the Jungle

About three weeks ago my friend Fred came for a visit. I don’t know what you do with your friends but sometimes with mine we end up at Lowe’s. Among other useful things, we bought a three-pack of hot pink garden gloves (for me, not for Fred). The palm side is coated with a waterproof layer of some kind of plastic and the back-of-the-hand side is a stretchy cloth to breathe and flex with your movements. They were shiny and clean, but not for long. This is what they look like today. You can see I used one pair for painting the bench.


The same thing happens to me when I get rubber gloves for cleaning with detergent water. I end up blowing through the right fingertips. At this very moment there are at least three perfectly good left-hand rubber gloves in my cleaning supply cabinet.

I need gloves. My hands would be torn to pieces without them. Last week I found myself yanking my way through this jungle in the back corner of my garden. This is how it looked when I just got started.


In the very back corner there is a wooden box that my boys built years ago as a compost box. Trust me. Guess what I will find hiding next to it when I get there.


When you have a job like this in front of you, there is nothing for it but to Just Do It. Yank, yank, breathe. Yank, yank, breathe. I felt like Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner must have when they hacked their way through the Columbian jungle after (one of the times) they got away from the bad guys in Romancing the Stone. At least I’m fairly certain I will not come upon a downed airplane with a rotting corpse inside!


I’m aware it is the middle of July. Had I done this section sooner, it would not be so dense and high. But there was the chicken coop and the viewing deck and the strawberry patch and the bench with my uncle…


You just have to keep going. By this point the wheelbarrow was so full it would hardly hold more. But I was like Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel – he had quite forgotten to leave a way out, and I had quite forgotten to make one! There’s a door at the back of the garden. Go through that and you come to Weed Mountain. The size of this mountain stays remarkably the same over time no matter how many weeds you add to it. Rain and decomposition counterbalance the additions.


I had to make a path to the door. One side of the door anyway. One side would serve (best to be expedient here). Those are blackberry and raspberry bushes gone crazy on the left. I’ll get to them another day when I have way thicker gloves. The thorns in those off-shoots are nasty.


I used my (isn’t it beautiful?) newly created path to get to Weed Mountain, emptied my load, then turned my attention toward the compost box in the corner – look at the next picture and you see it now, don’t you? (I didn’t think so.) Surely though, you can see that I do not get every single weed. A few survive my yanking. I return for a second pass later, and will get most of the stragglers then. We all have a style and I have mine, thank you.


Yank, yank, breathe. Yank, yank, breathe. As I slowly revealed the box, I found a little fellow.


He had had the right idea, and I commend his choice of location along the right side as close to the deer fencing as he could get. No way, he had said to himself, no way is anyone going to find me way back here. Foiled!


That’s the box. I told you it was there. Almost done, just keep going…


The little fellow had been in the shady weeds before I came along, so I moved him into the shadow to the left of the box:


See him back there? It was a good idea I thought, but he didn’t like it. Either that or he was so traumatized by being found and then moved, he had to find a more private place, and of his own choosing. (Damn humans.) I got busy with the next section and didn’t see him again.

Finally the area was decent. I didn’t say perfect. Fred had to tell me several times when he was here that “Perfection is the enemy of good.” I wonder what prompted him to tell me that. It reminds me of a saying I got from Claudia when she was here from Germany in the fall: Zu viel nimmt weg von genug, literally Too much takes away from enough. I.e. leave it alone, it’s enough. When it comes to weeding, you have to know when enough is enough. This is enough, don’t you agree?


Someday I might plant something back here, but in the meantime I’m just going to mulch over it and forget about it.

You already knew that my gloves are shot. And for some reason my fingers are sore. But oh, the jungle is tamed! And you see I also pulled those beetle-eaten Brussels sprouts from the last planter box. It all looks much neater now. Almost civilized.

mulched 7.15.jpg

And did I mention the bench is finished?

finished bench 1.jpg


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