In the garden of weedin’

Our dead end street holds 14 of 72 homes in our condominium community. I know half the residents by name. One of them won’t speak to me even though we used to be friendly. I think it’s because she overhead me talking to another neighbour during which I thickly larded the conversation with the f-bomb.

Day lily
Day lilies – the dandelions of the garden.

Yesterday, I was busting up a patch of flowers impacted in an impenetrable layer of grass roots. It was impossible to pull out the frisky spikes poking through the mass so I was hatcheting it with my spade like I was chopping up a carcass. It felt great. With every chop into the matted mess, a puff of chlorophyll and earth musk hit me and I was getting stoned with the exploding scents. Endorphins added to the mix making me giddy with the joy of digging.

What with a dicky knee, hip bursitis, and an unstable sacroiliac joint it has been two years since I gardened. The flower beds struggled like poor, starving waifs, all limbs and joints sticking out of raggedy clothes.  And because I wasn’t outside much, I didn’t notice that my neighbour wasn’t talking to me until this spring. I waved on several occasions. I attempted eye contact. I smiled pleasantly. I even said hello but I was spurned. Ripping weeds, culling day lilies, rearranging rocks, killing ants, I was having a great time in the garden when she strolled outside, put the garbage at the curb, looked straight at me and walked back inside without a word.

To be planted.

You know when you’re happy despite every muscle in your body hurting because you’ve woken them up with a triple alarm activity? When you’re so damn happy that you don’t even notice you’re sore?  Then someone looks at you the wrong way, and the joy turns into a sharp pain in your butt and you stand there frozen because all the hurts suddenly register?  I resumed hacking with extra zest. Damn the neighbours and damn the hurts.

Four doors up the street, there’s a single older woman who, over 20 years, has never said hello when I greeted her, so I stopped. Yesterday morning she smiled at me as I was watching the back of my other neighbour disappear inside her front door. I said good morning.

Three doors up is a family with two enormous dogs that my small wooly critter despises and yaps at like he’s going to tear their nostrils apart. Now they ignore me as though it is me who carries on when the dogs pass by. Apparently, I am my dog.

Back in the garden, I snip and trim the edge of the grass and lop dead twigs from the shrubs.  Tending the garden is much easier than tending to relations on the street.

Meanwhile, in the cherry tree, the wildlife neighbours have invaded uninvited, hungry Visigoths plundering the fruit while I watch from the back deck, murder in my heart. My water pistol is useless against their numbers and persistence. The baby squirrels sit in the adjacent maple, cha-cha-chattering, chuk, chuk chuking, fuk, fuk, fuk-youing, ssssspittting pits to the ground where the starlings peck merrily away on the cherry bones.

Squirrel in cherries
Garden Visigoth

Last year the wild gangs ransacked the tree in under a week. This year the little Caligulas are spreading their gorging over a longer time, torturing me with their oblivious pleasure.

I’ve managed to rescue about 4 cups of the jewels – enough to make a cheesecake. Maybe I’ll share it with my grumpy neighbours.

Two herries
Fast food

22 thoughts on “In the garden of weedin’

  1. derrickjknight July 4, 2015 / 11:08 am

    Entertaining text and excellent photos. Very pleased you are able to garden again


    • redosue July 4, 2015 / 12:26 pm

      Thanks, Derrick. I’m terribly stiff today and popping pain killers like peanuts but it was worth it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. dawnkinster July 4, 2015 / 11:28 am

    I was weeding this morning too. Though I don’t have a cherry tree like you. 4 C and you could make a cherry pie, a favorite in our family. Or freeze 4 C and make a pie at Thanksgiving. I wouldn’t waste them on the neighbors! 🙂


    • redosue July 4, 2015 / 12:27 pm

      I don’t think I will share the bounty with the neighbours and i’ll squirrel the treasure in the freezer for the fall or winter as you suggest. It will remind me of summer.


  3. Cynthia Jobin July 4, 2015 / 12:09 pm

    chuk, chuk, chuk…fuk, fuk, fuk… those oblivious visigoths!

    (Maybe they sit up at night plotting how they can exercise the lady misanthrope of the condominium)


    • redosue July 4, 2015 / 12:28 pm

      I swear on a stack of bibles, I’d wring their necks if I could catch them!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Shelley Page July 4, 2015 / 1:27 pm

    I’m left wondering why your neighbour who never said hi before, suddenly did and what that means. I have one of those and after 20 years, she still looks right through me. Do I need to plant better flowers?


    • redosue July 4, 2015 / 5:37 pm

      I’m still working on why the grumpy neighbour suddenly decided to offer a smile, too, Shelley. Maybe it’s like with infants – it wasn’t really a smile, it was gas. I understand not everyone wants to be bosom buddies on the street and people like their privacy, maybe more so in a tightly packed community like ours but I’m just talking about basic pleasantries not being BFFs.


  5. Bruce Goodman July 4, 2015 / 1:53 pm

    That neighbour’s not a neighbour, she’s a neigh-burr – i.e. a prickly horse. I’m not very familiar with squirrels, but loud punk music with lots of f-bombs played just outside the neigh-burr’s door and pointed towards the cherry tree might drive both sorts of vermin off. 🙂 So glad you got to do some gardening. Long may it continue!

    Liked by 1 person

    • redosue July 4, 2015 / 5:33 pm

      You are one heckuva creative thinker, Bruce. Punk music as pest repellent is a brilliant idea!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bruce Goodman July 4, 2015 / 6:05 pm

        Thanks – and the beauty of punk is that if the snooty hag from next door doesn’t up and leave, you can always jab her with a safety pin.


  6. I of July July 6, 2015 / 9:48 am

    beautiful narration, it was fun reading… love your clever use of language and the cherry tree is just gorgeous 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ellen Morris Prewitt July 7, 2015 / 12:02 pm

    I have neighbors who don’t like me because they don’t like my yard–not for inattention (it takes a lot of work to get that natural look) but because it’s not patterned correctly.Thanks to these blasted hips, I haven’t been able to work in it for two years and others have carried the load, but watch out now–titanium gardner!


    • redosue July 7, 2015 / 12:18 pm

      Patterned correctly? Are you supposed to have a mini-Versailles? Go-Titanium-Gardner!


      • Ellen Morris Prewitt July 7, 2015 / 12:31 pm

        You are definitely supposed to have a very discernible organization, a neatly laid out yard. I like a look that leaves the impression plants simply sprang up. Honestly, I do have patterns but they are in the backbone, holding up what would otherwise be experienced as chaos. Hmmmm, sounds like my life. 🙂


  8. Luanne July 8, 2015 / 7:21 pm

    Your photos picked me up today!


    • redosue July 9, 2015 / 7:43 am

      Was it the squirrel stealing the cherries? Glad I made you smile, Luanne. The cherries are almost all gone now. This morning I caught a chickadee pecking away on a captured cherry, drops of juice falling to the ground like blood. Little murderer!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Luanne July 9, 2015 / 9:26 am

        Haha. So cute. Every time I glance out through my front window there is a tiny bunny nibbling on hubby’s plants. I watch him eat ;).


  9. Rosanna July 9, 2015 / 9:26 am

    I’ve missed reading some posts in this blog, Sue – my loss. You always make me laugh…and envious…mostly of your writing…but this time, of the cherries that the squirrels are able to eat so much of…they cost a fortune here! Lucky squirrels! And those are lovely flowers! As for your not so nice neighbors, who knows, maybe they’re just as envious of the lovely flowers in your garden…or of the cherries…:-)


    • redosue July 11, 2015 / 9:33 am

      I hate those damn squirrels! Last year we pruned the tree so that the flower beds underneath would get more sun. Now there’s no low-hanging fruit and we need a footstool or ladder to reach the treasure that the squirrels and birds so easily grab. On the other hand, the flowers beneath the tree look great this year!


  10. Andrea Stephenson July 11, 2015 / 3:12 pm

    Glad you had such fun gardening and I hope the neighbours don’t get you down too much 🙂


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