Law vs Land – On the Weed Again

Missouri is one of the only states in the nation – if not the only – without a law on the books prohibiting humans from copulating with farm animals. While the absence of certain laws on the books can be forgiven as presumable oversight and presumed default to common sense, the existence of certain other laws on the books which also subvert common sense and weight of scientific authority are less forgivable.

Epoch Weekend recently reported that a fine in Chicago for city dwellers with weeds on their property jumped in 2010 from $100 to $600, and it’s being enforced with full force and absurd effect. The winner of a first-place prize in the Mayor’s Landscape Awards Program for her native landscaped yard was slapped last year by the city with a $600 fine for the very same prize-winning yard. Kathy Cummings fought the fine, along with letters of support (while the Epoch Times didn’t specify, one would hope they included scientific evidence debunking the erroneous bases for the law, including that weeds attract rodents).

The judge in Cummings’ case apparently disregarded the letters and instead applied his/her own presumptions and (il)logic, stating “In my experience, those are weeds,” in reference to milkweed, which is needed by monarch butterflies who won’t lay their eggs on any other plant.

Not only was the judge’s comment based on questionable grounds (since when is it okay for a judge to replace scientific evidence with their “own experience” and what precisely is their experience – is it as a gardener or farmer or as a judge spending more time on the bench than learning about the earth?), but it also suggests there is a dangerous dearth of education among the general public (and especially those in positions of power and authority) regarding the environmental damage overly processed lawns wreak, the current bee and butterfly crisis, and the value of simply getting back on the weed.

Yesterday’s Statistics Today

Happened to come across these yesterday, and they stood out to me, so I thought I’d share them here.  I’m a little late, up a little late, and so yesterday’s statistics, it turns out, are today’s:

– In 1964, just 4% of footwear in the United States was imported.  Today, 98% is.

And, in unrelated stats….

– North America sends 106 billion pounds of organic waste to landfill each year; that’s the equivalent of 200,000 garbage trucks creating 37 billion pounds of greenhouse gases each.

– As of July 1, 2015, NYC will require hotels with 100 or more sleeping rooms and large-service businesses such as arenas, caterers, and food wholesalers to dispose of food waste through composting or another means that keeps this organic matter out of landfills.

Rock on, NYC.  What do you think — will it be enough, or too little too late?  Go ahead, gimme the dirt!

Sometimes It Snows in April

But I still can’t believe I’m seeing snow and ice outside. The buds on my peach tree had just begun to bloom. I want to go out there, dark and cold as it is right now, and wrap myself around her like a big warm late spring blanket like it should be. *sigh* glad the only planting I’ve gotten around to are four egg cartons with various herb, tomato, and flower seeds.

How about all of you? I hope no one suffers any setback from this late temperature drop – not sure if it’s enough to really count as a frost.

Go ahead … gimme the dirt.

Believe You, Me, Macy’s?

Macy’s said it was a magical garden they’d erected behind the glass wall that separates the corporate fiefdom from the peasantry passing by. The same glass operates as a kind of carefully constructed capitalist sticky fly tape to catch the multitude of tourists snapping their pics and clutching their bags of conspicuous consumerism.

I was on my way to a meeting when I saw the bountiful blooms. I read the description that described these as magical gardens and suggesting one wait and watch to see if they might catch some plants swaying on their own. I waited a moment and didn’t see it so I figured these were displays still under construction and eventually there’d be some high tech gadgetry designed to enhance an already sufficiently impressive landscape.

So I snapped a shot and moved on. What I saw when I looked at it later surprised me. I don’t know if this odd fellow – whom I didn’t see at the time – appearing to peer out from the blooms is a reflection of a person on the street or some carefully planted Macy’s “magic.”


One More Walk

Thankfully yesterday was sunny. She can’t see it, but the sun I think provides a sense of safety and comfort to my newly blind animal companion. If you recall, she has been my cohort on many late nights checking out recent developments in neighboring gardens and yards. She happily kept me company while I snapped shots to share here of the evidence of the best and worst of the surrounding humanity.

I’ve been her alpha human friend since our other cohort was put down after a short, valiant, and intense bout with bone cancer four years ago. He was from a local breeder, and she was a “rescue” dog we added to their pack (a pack of two) four years after I got Jay. So I had ten years with Jay and, assuming things proceed as I believe likely this week, it will be ten years with Abs.

My favorite times were when we were together in the garden. I remember Jay used to get wildly excited when I would dig a hole in the dirt. He’d start hopping around – all 110 lbs. of him – and whimpering like he would implode if I didn’t let him help too. Then Abs – all 60 lbs. of her – would join in the excitement until they were both in full frenzy mode as I dug my little trenches. Sometimes they would get so excited about me digging in the ground I would have to banish them until I was watering plants (and they would jump to catch and lap up the water mid-air) or doing some other task less exciting than digging in the ground. Who knows? Maybe they thought I was going for their buried treasure. Multiple times, bones I thought were long-gone goners would resurrect after several years.

Later, when it was just Abs, she would be happy sitting silently in the sun as I quietly worked the ground around me in the front yard. She was the exception to my general rule of abiding the solitary nature of a gardener’s work. Then again, she was the exception to so many things.

When I brought her home she had all kinds of behavior problems. I didn’t know if it was going to work out to keep her, with another dog already and a very demanding job. But then I learned that she had been turned away and returned to the shelter before. She had a history that remains a mystery to me, including puppies (which I found out only after taking her to the vet for what turned out to be a false pregnancy) and something that caused her to growl whenever a certain spot on her neck was touched. I don’t know the genesis of these things but I do know they made her a more complex creature and sometimes harder to love but always worth the effort. She taught me patience and a certain compassion I never expected to know.

Since Abs had never really had a home before, I couldn’t justify letting her go. I let her stay, and we were worked through many challenges between us. I always thought I was closer to Jay, having gotten him as a young puppy. But as was the case with Abs, the harder won relationships can surprise you with the deepness of appreciation they foster between two beings. I’m sure that’s at least some of the reason it’s so hard now to say good-bye. I don’t want to abandon her in the end as she was at the beginning. On the other hand, I don’t want her to be sad or suffering either. Intellectually I know that one consideration is more me and the other more her, but intellect doesn’t reign supreme when tough decisions dominate the path.

It’s in these times I try to take it day by day and now hour to hour. Yesterday probably was the last walk. I stay grateful for the little things: the moment she needed to rest and we turned with our faces to the sun. I knelt beside her, my arm around the back of her neck. We stayed like that, quiet, for close to five minutes, just breathing and being on the path. We stayed quiet, soaking in the essence of one more day, one more hour, one more moment, one more walk.

I knew things were bad last week when I shook her chain and she barely rallied to get outside. Normally it’s like being on the back end of a bulldozer when she knows we’re getting ready to go out. As much of a rush as she’s in to get out, she’s always been patient with me whipping out my camera to take pictures I post here. In this way we’ve all been on these walks together. I think Abs would thank you for coming along on what’s been quite a ride.


This Just In

Spotted today, springfully apropos! Brought in some soil – oh how I loathe purchasing dirt but what’s a gardener to do before the first turning of all that’s in the compost bin. Any suggestions for an alternative to buying soil and/or recommendations for your faves (going generally for organic here – though I’m open – and preferably w/out artificial stimulants and other such mishigas). Go ahead … Gimme the dirt!