Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Giant Ferns and Other Ferocious Beasts

I've been hobbling around here for two days like a person who's about to have her 134th birthday instead of her 34th.  The culprit?  Ferns.  Our driveway is lined with giant ferns.  Handsome devils until they get overgrown and start getting feisty.  I vowed to get them under control after an incident last weekend in which one of the mid-sized ferns Miata-slapped the truck, "Whataya lookin at, tough guy?  I catch your headlights pointin my direction again you're gonna get a frond you'll never forget!".  Bullies have no place in my yard, so I gathered up a few sharp implements and went to work.  10 hours later I returned.  Sweaty.  Bloody.  Dirty.  The pile of fronds I had taken from the ferns was massive.  Ten feet in diameter, three feet deep.  That's a lot of fern matter.  Even after I ran it through the chipper, it took several wheelbarrow trips to clear it out.  Two days later, I'm still feeling the pain.  You'd think that if your yard is essentially the woods, yard work would be virtually nonexistent.  You'd be wrong.  Yard work is alive and well.  Yard work here is a contact sport. 

Getting my ass handed to me by a bunch of ferns?  "Jeez, sister, join a gym, mix in a protein shake."  But truthfully, I'm stronger now than I've ever been.  I move large rocks.  I can body slam my german shorthair.  I can lift solid core doors into place.  I pack around my own 80 pond bags of concrete, thank you very much.  I have the occasional superhuman bout of strength.  When I picked up our stove, two Sears guys loaded it into the back of the truck.  At a loading dock.  When I got it home, I unloaded it by myself and got it to the kitchen without a dent or the use of a ramp.  And then I hooked it up.  Last year for Dee's birthday, I got him this mid-century sleeper sofa he spotted at a shop on Hawthorne.  I single-handedly wrestled it from the store to the truck and from the truck to the house.  Since then, Dee and I moved it once and declared it too heavy and wily to be moved again.  Ever.  Our backs and our relationship would simply not be able to stand the strain.

When I turn on the tube, the diy network is the first thing I flip to.  If you ever watch it, you're sure to be familiar with Amy Matthews.  She's my favorite.  She's always wearing those cap sleeves, showing off her guns.  Guns I envied until early last summer when I donned a tank and saw the arms I'd kept hidden beneath a Filson all winter.  Good grief.  My lot in life as a stuff-mover was starting to show.  Proud member of the armed forces.  Still, the ferns were a bear.

About 17 months ago, on the very same day we took possession of this place, I heard the unmistakable crack of a tree trunk.  I came to the window just in time to see a hundred foot tall fir tree from our yard topple over, decimating the fence and crashing into the neighbor's house.  That was the first indication that yard work was going to be a little rough 'round these parts.

I added a chainsaw to our assortment of lawn and garden tools.  One day I drove spikes into an old pair of Pumas to assist in my woodswoman activities.  I picked up a safety harness, the kind used by actual woodsmen, construction workers, and skyscraper window washers.  I don it to clear view-blocking brush off the cliff.  There isn't much that grows under these big ol' trees, but what does grow is savage.

As it stands, I could spend 40 hours a week doing "yard work" and have job security for ages.  Unfortunately, the gig doesn't pay worth a damn.  I shutter to think what kind of jungle I'll be dealing with when I get an actual job.  One that does not afford me the freedom to spend my days battling the sporiferous nation.  Maybe by then the yard work will have become more maintenance than full-on combat.  A girl can always hope.  Until then I'll sharpen my shears, strap on my armor, and fight the good fight.


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