I had some dreams ... they were klowns in my koffee.

(With apologies to Carly Simon)

This is my journey through job transition from a toxic environment to a better life. Join me for a few thoughts and a few laughs along the way.
What are "klowns in my koffee"? They are the factors large and small that make you less than you are. A "klown" can be a grossly incompetent boss,
a short-sighted policy or a moronic coworker. They won't kill you, at least not immediately, but they abrade the soul
as you scrape past them to get through the day. Sometimes it's best to dump them out of the cup.


Day 41 - Weed n' Feed? Indeed!

This plaque appears in a display at the Arboretum. Let's applaud the Behrens, whomever they might be. It takes a certain whimsy to sponsor an exhibit of weeds in an Arboretum. It's like bringing your lima beans to Dairy Queen.

At the Arboretum, the weeds are planted in plastic enclosures to keep them from spreading their unrevealed virtues throughout the cultivated beds.

Attributing the quote to Anonymous (a guy who gets credit for a whole lot of quotes!) seems to give short shrift to Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said, "What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered." Maybe they were concerned about a mob of unruly Emerson descendants demanding royalties.

So, weediness is a subjective perception. I suspect my neighbor, Mrs. Clean, the neighborhood informant, may not be enthused by the natural prairie rain garden that I designed on the front lawn last year.

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. ~ A. A. Milne

A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows. ~Doug Larson

A weed is but an unloved flower. ~Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I went to a class this evening entitled Garlic Mustard, A North American Noxious Weed. In 1.5 hours, I learned so much about the reproductive cycle of garlic mustard that I felt more like a voyeur than a gardener. The attendees, consisting of 25 mostly elderly people and me, had signed up for this free city-sponsored class in order to know the enemy and kill it. The instructor is deeply and perhaps almost pathologically involved in the battle of city against weed and admits to losing sleep in the springtime, tossing and turning while agonizing over the specter of uncontrolled weed propagation. (As previously mentioned, I don't, and couldn't, make this stuff up.)

I didn't take on this task of volunteer vegetation killer lightly or without forethought. My backyard is full of the stuff. If you haven't seen it before, this is a view almost anywhere in my backyard:
Garlic mustard was brought to this continent from Europe in the 1800's as a garden plant for its tangy leaves. Belatedly, it was noticed that this plant has no natural enemies in North America, with the possible exception of the woman who teaches this class. By the year 2000, this plant had been demoted from garden plant to weed and had spread throughout most of the US north of the Mason-Dixon line.

In Minnesota, it's technically a listed prohibited noxious weed with consequences for having it growing on your property. With the millions upon millions of the plants in Minnesota, the prohibition is more a subtle head-shaking, so don't expect a midnight knock on the door from the Noxious Weed Police.

So I signed up for this community service class. It was a cold, gray, blustery day and my enthusiasm for trying out my job hunting 'elevator speech' on innocent strangers had fallen with the dropping Fahrenheit. I went to the class with the preconception that the way to get rid of the weeds was probably to pull them out before they have seeds or spray Round-up on them. One and one-half hours later, I left with the knowledge that the way to get rid of the weeds is to pull them out before they have seeds (preferred) or spray Round-up on them (for any lazy environmental slackers out there).

One participant was thinking wonderfully outside the box when she suggested that we should just eat the plants and kill two birds with one stone. Perhaps more people would attend a public seminar entitled, "Free Food in Your Backyard" than one detailing the apparently demonic growth cycle of a weed. The state could give out cookbooks.

If your yard has been infested and you want to get the bite on the invader, you could try these recipes:

Garlic mustard is strongly flavored. Most recipes use it to add a savory note mixed with a larger quantity of a milder ingredient. Like cassava roots, apple seeds and almonds, it also contains trace amounts of cyanide -- a little special zinger that I generally want to avoid in my consumables. So, another reason not tuck into a giant bowl of it by yourself. Perhaps a gift for someone you don't like very well? "I made you something special. Here, have a dish of cyanide-laced lawn clippings ..."

If you do get an urge to de-mustardize your domain, this presentation describes exactly what to do at which points in the plant's biennial life span:

Struggling to find something meaningful to send for Mother's Day? Check out tomorrow's post.


Corsair, The Mostly Harmless said...

I'm leery of recipies that use weeds for igredients. Seems sneaky, somehow (Dill.. I'm looking at YOU).

Oh, and for the record, regardless the publicity garnered from countless High School plays, Dandilion Wine is truly aweful stuff. Makes even that other High School perennial, Boones Farm taste well by comparison, and from what I remember Boones Farm tasted of shame and regret.

Burning Khrome said...

I feel the same way about any portions of meat that originally had functions other than perambulation. If it can be removed as a separate piece from the plastic model, I don't want it on a bed of rice.

There's an old story in my family that my mother made dandelion wine shortly after moving out of her mother's house. The bottles exploded mid-process. My mother went to great lengths to avoid explaining the alcohol smell that permeated her new place (a small house on my grandmother's property) to her mother, a judgmental teetotaler.

Post a Comment