Garden chores

Without a doubt, my least favorite garden activity is weeding…which is why the vegetable and flower gardens managed to arrive at their sorry, weedy state.

Sunday was devoted to tackling the vegetable garden. Grasses, unidentified flowering plants, and lots of poison ivy had taken up permanent residence between the beds and in the flower borders (I uncovered a dahlia…just one wispy stalk trying to grow). Despite sweating all day in pants and a long sleeve shirt, I still managed to get poison ivy all over my legs and arms.

The highlight was the periodic assistance of the (former) mother hen. (She has completely renounced her role. She now ignores the two-month old chicks when she sees them, hanging out exclusively with the older flock. Happily for us, she has also resumed laying eggs.) She stood next to me, cocking one eye or the other, waiting for me to expose grubs, beetles or worms, and then she’d quickly grab them all. Chickens tend to be flighty when you toss something, even eagerly anticipated scraps. But I threw clumps of weeds and dirt right past her and she never flinched.

There is no glory in weeding because when you are done it simply looks as it should have looked before you let the weeds encroach. The saving grace to an exhausting day was a shower and then looking out at the garden in the ever-earlier twilight. Goldfinches weighed down echinacea and hyssop stems, pecking at the seeds, and two deer, one with new antlers, grazed on the far side of the garden fence unnoticed by the dogs. It was beautiful and peaceful, and made everything worthwhile.

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