Notes from Three of Earth Farm: Buttercup

I don’t know why I resent the change of season that forces me outside to work. When I get out there I love it. The intoxicating woodsy smell, the warmth in the air, the budding, well, everything. I come alive.

Until I start the work part. Then it’s hot. I’m sweaty. I’m quickly overwhelmed by all that needs to be done. I want to crawl back into the deep winter cave.

So I do some, enough to feel the satisfaction of accomplishment, then stop. Today my goal was to finally get the meadow cleared of winter blow down so my friend who mows for me can get the job done. When it dries out enough. He doesn’t like to wait until it gets as long as it is now. We’ve had so much rain the past couple of weeks, the grass has gone crazy. But he couldn’t mow because there has been so much rain the past couple of weeks.

I quickly abandoned my three-years-running idea to mow a labyrinth in one corner of the meadow. Nearly impossible with my non-motorized mower. I don’t need one more hard thing to keep up with. But I did finally give it a shot instead of just thinking about it.

After I unloaded three heaping barrows full of branches, including some from the edges that weren’t in the way of the mower but that would soon be covered with the creeping blackberry vines I did not pull out pinning the branches to the ground, I moved on to my garden. It needs way too much for the time and interest I had today. Focus, I told myself. Do one thing.

I got the buttercup out of the strawberry bed. I hate buttercup so, so, so much. Yeah, cheerful little yellow flowers (later), makes you want to bust into song. Right. Not so much. It takes over wherever it goes, which is everywhere. It is impossible to pull out. It grows too tall to just let it be ground cover. Did I mention I hate it?

It comes up wherever there is a crack. Such a bloody opportunist. Note my peas coming on!

Fortunately, it came out of the fertile soil in the strawberry patch amazingly easily. I didn’t even try to get it out of the native soil flower bed or the cracks around the raised beds. Another day. Last time I took a hoe to a bed of weeds, I tore my trapezius muscle and was out of commission for a month, which didn’t really break my heart. Summer before last I put black plastic over a whole strip to kill the buttercup, where I wanted to continue the brick walk above ground in a bed of wood chips. Then last summer the moles destroyed much of the walk that is already in the garden and I’m feeling defeated.

I don’t really hate that chives are coming up in my tiny patio. But there’s the buttercup too. I took a shortcut and didn’t put plastic under the bricks. Now I have to take them all out and put down plastic. There are no wise shortcuts in the garden.
And what is this stuff anyway? I pulled it out of the root vegetable bed (there beyond the one where carrots, beets, and parsnips have poked through), but have still to pull it out for the green beans. Fortunately it comes up easily.
Rhubarb. And I’ve just remembered you aren’t supposed to let it flower. Oh well. Whatever.

I pulled a few more weeds, then called it a day and spent the next 30 minutes wandering the property and reminding myself why I love it here. Seems like the smart way to finish off any period of work. Like meditating: note what is going through your mind (so much to do), then dismiss it. Or to quote Scarlett: Tomorrow is another day.

The rhodies are coming. And the one I feared wouldn’t survive the tree limbs that fell into it is full of bud.


My apple trees, that once again didn’t get pruned this year.
My mother’s old-fashioned bleeding heart.
The lilac is about to burst.
Euphorbia. I just let it have its way. It’s all that will grow in the crappy soil and it doesn’t care if it gets no sun or bakes.


My home on the hill.

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