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Gardening with the boys

Freds Rivertown Alehouse
Published:2016-06-08 Column
Gardening with the boys    Print Snohomish Times    
Gardening with the boys

By: Jill Pertler

We spent most of the weekend gardening, and I’ve come to an important conclusion. Some people are born with green thumbs. Others, including the guys I live with, are simply all thumbs – and not a one of them is green.

I needed help with mulching. I consider it a heavy task and was hoping to put their muscles to work. They were more than happy to oblige and their attitudes were terrific. A few minutes after they started, mine was not.

They lugged the hefty bags with ease, but found it difficult to distribute the mulch without pouring it all over the top of my tender plantings. They were so effusive in their work they covered entire plants with the mulch, leaving me to dig for leaves so my plant friends could live to see another day.

When I admonished them about being careful around the plants, they gave me a serious look and then went about their business – of covering more plants with mulch.

And then it started to sprinkle. Sprinkle. An extremely light, barely tangible, you’d-hardly-notice it sprinkle. I was in the front yard – working. My hair was a bit damp, but the precipitation was miniscule. Refreshing, actually, if you were sweating. Which I was.

I finished my task and walked over to where the boys were supposed to be busy mulching. Not a one was in sight. I wasn’t buying the disappearing act and went in the house. There they were: on the couch in front of the TV. Without a smidgen of guilt, they announced they were on a “rain delay.” My jaw clenched and I expended much effort refraining from saying something I might later regret.

My attitude remained far from terrific.

I went outside to continue “our” work. On the way, I shut the door in a non-gentle fashion. I hoisted one of the mulch bags over my shoulder and placed it in position. I opened the bag and poured, pure adrenaline pulsing through my veins. By the time I grabbed a second bag, they had joined me in the backyard, obviously knowing their very own supper most likely hinged on their helping me in a loving manner.

I said nothing, but accepted their “help.”

My boys have big muscles, but they also have big feet, and this was never so obvious as when they attempted to tiptoe through a freshly planted bed whereby the plants themselves seemed to attract those monstrous feet like a magnet. Squish. Some of those unfortunate plants didn’t stand a chance under my son’s 12DD.

They displayed an absolute inability to discern a weed from a wanted plant. To their credit, this often takes people years of practice, but after they pulled up the fourth (blooming) pansy, I requested they withhold their “help” in this area. Not sure yet if the pansies will make it. My fingers are crossed.

To be honest, they do their best. And they are interested and engaged – in their own way. Last year we grew cayenne peppers – of the heatedly hot variety. My boys were keenly fascinated – in determining who could eat the most peppers without throwing up. I won’t divulge here who won, but it’s safe to say this will probably be an annual contest.

At least it will continue this year. The cayenne pepper plant is one of the few they didn’t stomp on or cover with mulch. True story.

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