Monday, April 13, 2015

A Prickly Start

Should you happen, one day, to wake up feeling totally cross-ways with the world, tired, grouchy, dissatisfied, over-burdened, resentful, not liking your breakfast choices and filled with a strong desire to kick the cat, I'll tell you what to do.

Start with a garden walk-about. Start in front of the garage where the snow is only now (finally) melting. Darn it, just look at that flattened Timmie's cup... most annoying. Frown at it. Think a growly thought about Someone Else who left it there. Oh, wait, you did it yourself. You bought a coffee on the way home one snowy day in February and didn't much like it so you didn't finish it and then you couldn't throw it away when you got home so you left it in the truck and of course it froze solid so then you would have had to bring it in to throw it out and you didn't so you just tossed it into the snowbank and now, there it is, squashed flat and looking sordid. As I said, most annoying. You can feel vexed with the person who did it.

If you have a small garden, things like Timmie's artifacts won't be much of a problem. Just like work expands to fill the time available, so a mess will expand to fill the space available. In a small garden, when the snow melts, you might find a used gum wrapper and a 6" piece of red string. In a large garden, you'll need to get a garbage bag and make the rounds. Amazing what appears when the snow goes. One of those slips the oil truck prints and sticks in your door. Several Christmas napkins that must have escaped from the after-Christmas-party cleanup. Wet and squelchy, of course. (Interestingly, the red in the design has run but the green hasn't.) Plastic bags you don't want to look at too closely.... pull-tabs, a clump of orange yarn.... pieces of duct tape... it's no fun picking all these things up and you really don't feel like doing it and it's not your fault and why doesn't Someone Else do it and... grrrrrr.

Now what is this pile of somewhat dried-looking pine needles? Oh yes, it was snowing heavily the day you made the Christmas decorations so you piled the branches you weren't using beside the Studio. Fine, but now you have to carry away a large pile of prickly shedding branches and where to? Better throw them over there beside the driveway where you have been planning a bonfire for more than a year. Very irritating the way there never seems to be the perfect day for a bonfire. Either it's raining or it's windy or else it isn't but you don't feel like it or you're too busy or whatever but obviously it didn't get done and now there is a biggish pile and it looks awful. Dump the pine branches on top and snarl something about procrastinators. A nasty set of people, really should have been brought up better. No excuses...

Oh, look, the top of a dead balsam fir has fallen into one of the crabapple trees. Turns out crabapple trees are prickly. And they fight back and the equally prickly but also sticky balsam fir top is determined to stay in its lofty position. Ah, the rake is just long enough to snag it. Down it comes. Good. Now to get it out of your hair, ouch... Ah. Now to drag it down to the burning pile... preferably without scratching the truck.

You have actually already arranged with a tree service to come and remove the dead firs, but you haven't heard back from them for three weeks now. They agreed to do it before the snow melted, so where are they? Add snappy phone call to tomorrow's to-do list. You hate making those calls. Maybe they'll come tomorrow while you are out and it will be done when you get home. Sure. And pigs fly. No, only the tops of dead firs fly.

Pretty hard to get close to the bonfire pile. In fact, it's pretty hard to get to the bird feeders. The brambles have more or less taken over that whole area. Some of those blackberry canes are 10' long. And nothing is more prickly than a blackberry vine. The secateurs get a real workout and you pick up several nasty spines in your knuckles. Those rubbery gloves are all very well, but they don't work for thorny things. Which blackberry canes are the epitome of. Which is a split infinitive if ever I saw one but cutting vicious spiky things bring them on. Besides, who cares, you're cranky today.

Piling the cut canes on the bonfire heap doesn't work too well. They are very bushy and don't pack down and when you are done the pile is about 15' high. You can see through it, but it is that high. Six feet across and 15' high.

Not that it will burn. No amount of crumpled up newspaper (and you have lots because you forgot the re-cycling pickup last week, again) will start a blaze. An old cardboard box doesn't work either. Use your old trick, an old candle. Heh, heh, that's got it going.

Lots of branches to pick up in the woods garden. Actually you don't hate picking those up, it's sort of soothing and now that you have a good start on a burning pile you have a place to put them.

Look, the snowdrops are out.

Feeling better?


  1. Ah yes, cleaning up others people's messes. Tell me about it! Husband, son, dog,...
    Perhaps I like flowers because they stay put and, for the most part, do not make messes, or if they do, at least the mess stays where they are and doesn't crop up in some other unlikely spot.
    And snowdrops are lovely, all fresh and tidy :)

  2. What really riles me is people who drop cigarette butts on the driveway. Would they do that in their living rooms??? And butts never rot, you have to pick each one up. Grrr. Oh well, it's a good feeling once the tidy up is done! Enjoy spring, Jenny!