Sunday, May 30, 2010

Reality...It's not always what you think it is.....

Matt's little daughter Sita is still young enough to think that if her mother is not in sight, it is because she is sleeping. She uses sign language to express that factoid to her Dad.  

I think my clients think of me the same way.  If I am not working for them at the moment I must be doing nothing, therefore I can stop what ever I am doing and take care of their needs.  This means that I can be called and emailed on weekends...( I usually work on weekends too....) and be asked to do just a few things that are feeling urgent to them.  I suppose I have allowed them to think this, because I always respond, and get the job done. This energy peaks for Memorial Day weekend.  It's really pretty funny.  I am in recovery all got done, it's beautiful, and for one weekend people can relax in their beautiful gardens, enjoy their families and leave me alone to gather my strength for two days. Not three....a client called yesterday to make sure I was showing up on Monday for her.

On Friday, I had to get one of my favorite gardens ready for a family to move in after the holiday.  Normally, I do the mulching and such before all the foliage emerges. This year, the client didn't want me to do that, so I took on other projects to fill the void.  When she gets into town and realized how behind things are she goes into a panic. She is surprised that my schedule is so full. Like, I can hold her spot, and not need groceries.

A large area where an old aphid infested hemlocks once stood had sprouted a carpet of jewel weed.  She asked me to spray it with round up.  Under pressure I said OK, but that I hadn't used that product but maybe 3 times in the last 30 years, and this is why I won't use this product or others like it. She called me a 'bleeding heart liberal'.  Now, I have to say, I love this woman, and in context, we have had a few discussions on politics, and I knew she was saying it with affection and humor. But, I do get tired of being called a tree hugger and such, for just using my own common sense.  The choice to not use harmful toxic chemicals in a garden is not an ideology.  It is sane and practical.

So, two weeks pass, due to huge rainstorms the Friday before, that kept me from her job, and the jewel weed had grown to be a foot high. I stared at that roughly 600 sq ft patch of the remedy for poison ivy, and calculated the cost of the round up, the time it would take me to drive to the hardware store, buy the stuff, and a new plastic sprayer, that can never be used for anything else,  and considered that I would have to store or dispose of that product after only needing a few tablespoons of the herbicide, at my home, or hers, etc....  

I also thought about my own health, and my dogs's as he lay in that cool green patch in the shade.  His father died of lymphoma when he was the same age Finn is now.  

At the age of 5, I watched my grandmother spray her roses with Ortho Rose Spray, and then she would eat the petals, happily telling me they were good for your skin. I didn't eat the petals...I still vividly remember the Ortho label on her sprayer and the chemical smell. She died of cancer when I was 12.  

                                 Eating  rose Petals  Painting by John Singer Sargent, 1885/1886

I also thought of the time it would take to watch the Jewel weed turn brown and die, how it would look all brown and ugly as she drove up her driveway, and that I would still have to remove the brown dead growth anyway. We would then have to wait two weeks before anything could be planted in that spot. 

Bottom line, these people will not pay for my chemo if needed and they do not pay me enough money to poison myself or others. In truth, no one could pay me enough money to spray poison on the earth.  That's why I never got my pesticide license., I weeded it.  It took less than an hour and I pruned the hydrangea's along the drive at the same time. Job done.  Cost, $35.00, less than the cost of the round up, sprayer and mess clean up.  I still had plenty of time to get the rest of her garden into shape. 

It is a typical misconception people have who don't weed for a living, that it is easier, faster and cheaper to spray.

I can almost bet, she will never notice, because her garden is so beautiful.  

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