There's just something about pulling weeds.
Some folks view it as a taxing chore, however for me there's a calm, relaxing and rewarding experience about reaching down, grabbing ahold of an invasive plant in my flower, herb or vegetable garden, holding tightly to the bottom of its stems at the base, giving it a firm twist to to break its hold, then pulling it up to see its massive root ball or long tap root that has been stealing nutrients and water from my beautiful garden plants.
The smile that comes across my face is of pure delight, as I gingerly toss it over to join the heap of other weeds I have claimed victory over. And an added benefit is these old weeds will be turned into rich compost to help feed my garden.
I have my grandmother and mother to thank for this rewarding task.
As a child, working with them in the vegetable garden on my grandmother's farm, they would make this chore into a wonderful challenging game to see who could pull out the biggest weed. Of course, a massive root ball would count as extra points.
Mother would smile at me after yanking a weed out of the warm earth, "Now look at the size of this one, bet you can't find one better than this." Then I would eagerly start scouting out my next challenge.
The winner, which most of the time would be me, would be rewarded with homemade ice cream, a new coloring book, or maybe a chance to use some of the adult gardening tools the next time we went pulling weeds in the garden.
They instilled upon me that with pure determination and sore muscles that hard work can pay off in more ways than one.
At 57, I'm still pulling weeds just like we did back then. Can't bend over like I used to and my hands get visited from ol "Author" every now and then, but I now a my preferred method of getting this rewarding task done.
When folks come looking for me out in any one of my gardens, they won't find me standing and bending over to tackle these invasive varmints, but scooting along the ground seating on top of an old, square life preserver, and my old chef's kitchen knife in my gloved hands with a determined smile, talking to my plants, letting them know that I'm here to help them grow. I know many folks think I'm bit on the eccentric side (border-line crazy) about pulling weeds but for me it's therapy.
I find it extremely satisfying to scoot along the ground in one my gardens after a cool summer's rain in the evening not only to rid my garden of weeds, but those that invade my world too.
It's not only the relaxation of it, or the reward of seeing a beautiful well kept garden, but also the physical and mental workout my soul deserves.
Physically, I use muscles I normally don't use since I spend most of my days sitting at my desk, staring at a computer screen, working on Back Porch Talkin'; updating the website, filling orders, doing accounting or posting another blog.
Mentally, I'm able to reduce stress and take out any frustrations on these poor defensive plants to make my life a more calm and beautiful place to live.
Spending time outdoors, away from the office, with Bleu, our Blue Heeler, and Gizzy, our faithful kitty by my side is just one of the simple pleasures about pulling weeds. I honestly don't know who enjoys playing in the dirt more, me or them.
Then there's the calming sounds of nature all around me; birds singing, frogs croaking on the pond, cows bellowing for their calves, Diamond neighing while sticking his head out of his stall door, the ducks quacking happily while splashing around in their pool, and the chickens cackling with excitement from another egg being laid.
And speaking of the chickens, perhaps the fun and funniest part of pulling weeds, for me is when our flock of 40 plus hens join me in the vegetable and herb gardens, preparing them for spring planting or cleaning them up in the fall.
As I scoot along the ground on my trusty life preserver, they are right beside me, searching and scratching for another bug. The simple joy I receive from watching them find a big juicy bug is unbelievable.
They yank it from the ground with a high pitch cackle, then take off running from the rest of the flock and that's where pure, fun entertainment begins.
We affectionately call it, "Chicken Football".
For just as the quarterback receives the snap, falls back to search for a wide receiver, only to be blindsided by a linebacker, so it is when a hen finds a grub.
It's hilarious watching the other hens chase and try to fly after the grub holder, as another one gains distance, swipes the bug from her beak then runs off in another direction, voicing loudly her claimed victory of the steal, only to be blindsided by another chicken when she has to stop to put the bug back on the ground to eat.
Not to mention the sights my eyes have a chance to experience; a mama deer bringing out from the protection of woods, her newborn, spotted twins into the field to graze on the grass, a bee busy buzzing around from flower to flower, pollinating them, and a ruby throated hummingbird flying pass me on his way to the feeder.
Another peace comes upon me with wonderous amazement when a striking blue and black Monarch butterfly lands on my dirt covered knee, collecting food. The pure thought of knowing that this beautiful "flying flower" was once a caterpillar crawling along the ground and now has wings to take flight is a wonder of nature to behold.
That's what pulling weeds for me is, a metamorphosis. I may be having an "OK" day, but once I finish my task at hand and look around at a job well done, my soul is lifted upon wings of pure satisfaction.
Emotionally, pulling weeds takes me back to those special happy memories with my grandmother and mother, watching them working the ground, sowing the seeds, and growing the food for our family.
They may have passed on, but those sweet times shall always remain in my heart.
I have a plaque in my flower garden that reads:
"One is closer to God's heart in the garden
more than anywhere else on earth."
For me this is so true. It is a partnership between God and me. Whether planting a flower bulb or sowing seed, with God's help of the rain and sunshine, my efforts will be rewarded with beautiful flowers and food for my family.
And yes, even those pesky weeds are a Godsend, for they help me become physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually stronger.
Yep, there sure is something pretty special for me about pulling weeds.