GEEZER TRIBE: When Weeds Make Your Day

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Linda Shaffer is becoming the “bionic woman” (again.) So we are digging into the Geezer Tribe archives to give you this classic from June 19, 2019. Send Linda some healing thoughts as she is getting a new shoulder. Computer work is most difficult “one-armed” so we’ll be treating you’all to some classics. This one seemed perfect for goings-on and after our heat-wave, it seems that the only thing really thriving in my yard are the weeds. And then there’s all the other weeds …

By Linda Shaffer (first published June 19, 2019 – reprinted with permission.)

Since learning that old adage, “Everything has a purpose,” I’ve questioned it many times. In fact, there have been some years during my life that were full of things about which I could find NO purpose.
Those were years filled with weeds. Call them what you will, but they represented a whole lot of trouble. I believe the term, “bad seed” is a great starting point. From them come the weeds who can take any form. I doubt there are any of us who haven’t met a living thing who could be described as a weed. The good news is that we lived through them and what they left behind. The better news is that we learned from them and in time our lives were better for it. Maybe it was a long time… but we healed.

Over the years I think most of us have worked through those earlier conflicts. We’ve found better lives with each year we spend here and have learned to let all those old troubles go because there is no reward in them. To live a happy life, we have to leave room for new experiences. These can be great or small, but so long as they bring joy, they count.

Yes, we face some obstacles now that we didn’t in our younger years. The older I get it seems more of my body parts refuse or complain about working. This is troubling when I sit down at the computer on this day. My hands are not at their best because I cleaned toilets yesterday. Before you ask, the answer is, “yes,” I scrub toilets with my hands. Just so you’ll know I’m not a total weirdo and you should know that I started wearing gloves some years back for my own protection. If you have an issue with this method you should talk with my Mom. No, don’t. That’ll really get me in trouble.

OK, let’s just call the danged toilets part of the weed family. Right now my whole life is focused on the green kind of weeds growing in our yard. Few things bug me as much as these weeds do. Few things bring me more joy than pulling the little (or big) buggers out and giving my plants a chance at life.

Yup, there is some kind of strange oxymoron here. Death to weeds. Life to my plants. Do I truly care? Nope. That’s one of the benefits of being old. You can stop arguments with yourself about subjects which will never have a definitive answer.

These weeds of mine know I’m coming. Slugs know it, too. I think I can feel their “fight or flight” response before I arrive. How do I know this? Strength. They have gained what I have lost. When I go in to pull a clump of weeds it is rare that I get lucky. Most of the time I have to get help in the form of Mr. S or one of the variety of weed wrestling devices we own. Either way, a victory will make my day.

Victory? That’s when you get the weed and the root. Otherwise you are just inviting yourself back to a bigger patch of weeds on the next turn of the yard. Defeat is not a good thing for old folks. First, we get crabby when we go into battle and the other side wins. Second, most of us are wimps. We don’t have the hand strength of a salamander and we think we do. Hand shovel? Nope.

Other weed destruction tools involve shovels which require legs and feet. I tried this a couple of times this year. Results were pathetic and embarrassing. This chore was turned over to the ever-willing Mr. S. Even with a new knee he can out-garden me any day of the week. In total, I have the strength of a woman twenty years older than myself.

Given this set of circumstances, we have designed a garden we can actually take care of. It turns out that pulling weeds in soft, moist soil is my greatest gardening skill. I am able to do this for hours and have the skill of picking out one tiny, itsy, bitsy weed root at a time.

I’m a Woman Weed Hawk.

If you are a weed in my neighborhood, it would be good for you to be very, very careful. The WWH is upon you.