I have waged a never ending battle against this foe for decades and know that I will never conquer it. Strangely enough I am not talking about my weight but rather the weeds in my life. I am not actually speaking metaphorically here. I am surrounded by weeds and have made peace with the fact that there is no “win” at the end of the day or season.
I grew up weeding the garden as it’s what farm kids do. I never gave much thought to how it shaped me at the time as I was just happy to be outside instead of stuck inside. If the weeds didn’t grow then the raspberries and the peas were good and we ate well which was a great reward. I never paid much attention to the details of the tools that my parents used to keep the weeds under control.
Fast forward many years to our city lot where we had a pretty decent yard. We did back a common area and so the number one issue was the dandelion and I spent man an hour digging them out. The garden area was actually quite well behaved as we kept it well mulched and the biggest issue was probably portalaca.
In retrospect those years seem easy now as we have an unestablished farm yard and the weeds lived here before us. For the first two years in the garden it was a non stop battle against wild oats. Once that round was won then we moved onward to Canada Thistle (ouch) and stinkweed (yuck) which wasn’t a fun couple of years. We have now moved onward to sow thistle and another weed that I have yet to identify in the garden area. The roadway has a solid growth of pineappleweed and the circular driveway has a hodge podge of dandelions and other nasties growing amongst the rocks and gravel.
Now before you think life is all negative for me I must share that something seen as a weed can still have beauty. The dandelions, being early bloomers, become fodder for the bees early in the season. The roadside weeds have a beauty in their irregular growth and textures. I have a young artist friend that has turned her eye for beauty into wonderful fibre creations as seen in this article below. You can find more of her work at the blog listed below and it’s worth the time as she is pretty darn amazing. My transfer of her photos (with her permission) from Facebook seem to have left them pale and almost out of focus although I am unsure why.
I can see all of this and truly appreciate the diversity when I am walking the prairie. I note that on the native grass lands the dandelion does not take over and the sow thistle only grows in the wet lands. The balance, for the most part, is kept in check. Where I take issue with it is in the areas that we are trying hard to grow specific things in such as the garden or shelter belts. When the weeds are competing for water, sun and soil nutrients with the vegetables I want to eat in the fall I take issue so I use what tools I have. Now at this point it is mostly a hoe and a small hand dandelion digger that I use. We till in the fall and spring so that’s a start but I have no small tiller for once we have seeded. We try to mulch as much as possible but the grass area in our yard is like a postcard and although we do haul grass clippings from the city it never goes far enough. I do have a rural farm friend who has tried landscape fabric and said it works well but it is very labour intensive to plant and costly. We only usual chemicals along the actual gravel part of the driveway and not very often. So it is an uphill battle and one I am constantly waging. I keep in perspective that as long as I give the desired plant a helping hand by getting rid of the weed for a few weeks I have at least done some good.
I have been hoping this summer to blog every Sunday about the 1918 Eaton’s Eager and the projects were are working on around here. The issue I always arrive at is though that I want to show the completed project and there is always some little outstanding item that isn’t 100% so I don’t want to do the “reveal” when it isn’t complete. I do know that the house blog followers wonder were the heck I go when I disappear. Now that I have switched sites I can actually tell that you do come and read it when I send out the email with the link so that’s nice to know that I haven’t bored you all to tears yet. Feel free to leave comments (it should be by the title area) or better yet come for a visit so I can stop weeding for a few minutes!