Sunday, September 14, 2008
The Mosquitos! Oh God, The Mosquitos!
This weekend I helped my pals Ella and Pete weed their new garden. After five years of living in a boxy little place with many tiny rooms and no sunlight they moved to farther afield pastures, a place equipped with a back yard.
I'd heard about it, I'd seen pictures but I still wasn't mentally prepared for the horror show. While I was fantasizing about going with Ella to pick out chickens and a pygmy goat I ignored the reality of how much work rehabilitating an overrun garden would be. I'll say right now I didn't contribute much to the process. Mostly I drank beer, swatted mosquitoes and identified the one plant they didn't want to rip out of the ground. Hibiscus. Someone who lived there long ago loved hibiscus and it's sprouted up in tall shrubby trees everywhere. What a fun kind of archeology to look back and see what meant something to someone who existed there, what made their heart sing to see blooming on a bright summer morning. Coincedentally, I found a used condom next to it's wrapper. It was a Magnum.
There are three levels of hell to this yard and it's only in the back where the ivy has completely taken over that you can really appreciate the extent of the neglect. The fence tappers off except for where its remnants are bound together by an old hospital bed frame and rusty rake head. The back is where we also found the source of the mosquitoes. Seriously, I know it's fall and that's when they like to have their last hurrah but it was like a plague. All day into the evening they swarmed and followed us around from one room to the next. Killing them and measuring the blood streak was a crowd pleaser. The breeding was going on in an abandoned dog crate filled with water and larvae and fear. Around the crate were a few toys, a bowl and a broken chain. It's only a matter of time before they find the dog.
But you know what? I'm jealous. I have my lovely little yard but I've had to build most of my garden boxes. There's no helpful ground to throw compost on, just our alarmingly full bucket. As 'we' raked over the earth iridescent worms squirmed hysterically back into the soil. There's life there, potential for growth and lots of nutrients from all the buried dog carcasses. One day, if they can maintain their current crusade, Ella and Pete are going to have someplace beautiful to grow tomatoes and herbs and a pygmy goat. Of course, Ella's mom came down with hives from something that may or may not be poison ivy out there and Pete treed himself sawing dead branches so who knows? Growing stuff is hard work. And I'm sure as hell not gonna help.
Just kidding. That whole 'tend your own garden' thing is really not such great advice. We should all tend each other's gardens. If we all do a little the world will be a bit greener, more beautiful and soon everyone will know a hibiscus just by looking at it. And poor unsuspecting people who were wearing work gloves praise Christ wont be finding deteriorating condoms under very leaf. Or if they do, they'll know who left them and that person will be held accountable by God!!
Also I need some weeding assistance myself. They owe me for cleaning out all those beer bottles.