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2012-04-25 / Loose Ends

Loose Ends

It’s a Kodak moment
Susan Nienow

I love to work in the yard. I am no sissy when it comes to squashing bugs or picking inchworms off my shirt. Snakes are OK unless they startle me. I have stared down a bunny in a face-to-face confrontation in the garden, and it was a standoff. In other words there is not much in the garden that intimidates me.

Except for those pesky (I am being tactful here) gnats. They usually come out in May but since April is the new May, they are out now. And they are out to get me. Let me start at the beginning. When I get ready to work in the yard, I use SPF 450 and then cover that with bug spray. Then I put on my fashion forward gardening hat with the string that hangs under my chin and the flap across the back of my neck. It flattens my hair, leaves a mark across my forehead but protects my face from the sun.

What it doesn’t do is protect me from the gnats. They love me. They bite me, and I get a nasty reaction. They follow me all over the yard and find a way to crawl up my pant leg or sleeve or down my shirt. Maybe they fly, but however they do it, they find the tender spots that I missed with the bug spray.

Last time I worked in the yard, they got my ears and my neck. Today I was prepared and protected myself. I even put a towel over my head – enhancing my fashionable choice of accessories. Something worked and my ears were safe, except those gnats went up my sleeves and got the unexposed parts of my arms. I didn’t spray the parts that were covered up, but apparently now I have to count on those little gnats being smarter than the average insect and very hungry.

While I was out impressing the wildlife with my trendy attire, I was also attacking the chickweed. It definitely has been taking advantage of the warm weather the past several months and has taken over my beds, obliterating all of my hard work (maybe it was my other half’s hard work) edging them last spring.

I think we have a tractor-trailer load of chickweed and other undesirables. My other half uses a hoe, and I do the fine-tuning by pulling up the rest of the weeds with the fingers on my left hand. Now I am typing right-handed since my left thumb is inoperable. I swear I heard it say, “I quit!”

I figure my thumb will be healed about the same time my bites quit itching, but the chickweed will be gone. Then it will be planting time. I have a lot of baby shrubs to dig up and put in the nursery and a fair number of things that need transplanting. Then my back will hurt, but maybe I can go to one of those spray-tanning booths and have them coat me with bug spray instead.

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