Dang it, life, stop finding a way

Last year, in hopeful anticipation of a contractor finally getting around to giving us new siding, we hacked away all the brush and shrubbery and saplings sprouting all around our house. We were disappointed: he didn’t get around to us that summer (life in a small town: limited supply of available contractors, high demand).

So this year, he has promised! We gave him a giant bucket of money! He ordered all the supplies! So we took another look at the vegetation around our house.

It had all grown back.

So this morning we’ve been out with pruning shears and weed-eater, trying to destroy the jungle. I think I need a machete and a chainsaw. Or a flamethrower. Or to call in an airstrike. Thinking about exotic plant poisons, or hiring a herd of elephants.

See, this is why I was trained as a zoologist. Plants are apparently my nemesis.


  1. blf says

    Typical Saturday morning in the States. This is why hair furor was elected… everyone was too focused on the Triffids and peas. </snark>

  2. kesci says

    When you finish weeding, you should reward yourself with a Swimming Octopus Key Rack from wildlifewonders.com. (I’m in no way affiliated with this place).

  3. says

    The plants are winning. I had to take a break — a hot, tired, dirty, sweaty break — while the jungle is just laughing at me.

  4. robro says

    I live in San Francisco. Lots of contractors. Try to find one available to do anything. hahahaha

    PZ, I’ll share with you what a friend told me last year after helping me clear a couple thousands pounds of crap out of a storage locker: we’re at the age where we need to find younger people to do this kind of work.

    I’ll endorse what Pierce, et al. are saying. In fact, don’t move or go anywhere in the South. I never understood Yankees going to Florida for the weather. Geez, it’s miserable. And I know, snow/sleet/freezing is miserable too, but why drive so many hours to be in a different hell.

  5. whheydt says

    What you need to do is hire a few goats. That’s what we did some years ago to clear a lot of wild blackberry vines, and what the town we lived in at the time did on an annual basis to clear the brush on the side of a hill as a fire prevention measure. It was cheaper and had a far lower risk of injuries than a gang of men with weedeaters. They even went so far as to change the local animal control ordinance to make in legal to hire enough goats to do the job in a reasonable amount of time.

  6. magistramarla says

    It’s so hot and dry here in South Texas that most of the vegetation in our yard has died except for where my husband has installed a drip hose. We’ve had a nine day stretch of 100 degrees and it’s supposed to continue for a few more days. He just had to destroy a bush this morning to get rid of a nest of yellow jackets that had taken up residence right next to the front door. I suffered a sting a couple of weeks ago, and I’m disabled, so getting out of the way of angry yellow jackets is a bit difficult for me. He’s going to start a drip hose in the big bare spot and hope that the bush grows back. Otherwise, we’ll wait until cooler weather to replant one there.

  7. anbheal says

    Heh heh, I spend roughly half the year in MetroWest Denver, where my daughter’s mother has tried her damndest to rid the view of the Rockies of some scraggly little non-deciduous pines and junipers. They’re in an abutting meadow, about five feet past the property line. So we can’t really cut them down, without making it obvious who did it. We have done several really mean things to them, however. But they just won’t die. I mean, they start to die for a while, but then they don’t. After a rainy couple of weeks, they’re back. The fuckers. (I actually think they add to the ambience of the view, but the ex has a very specific image of what she wants her cookouts to look like — Nature does not kiss her ass nearly as much as I do.)

  8. says

    Sympathy and understanding here. I hit the English ivy around my house with Roundup three times and only got rid of about half of it. Just bought some nastier stuff to try on the rest.

    People in India and Africa probably felt the same way about the English now that I think about it

  9. MattP (must mock his crappy brain) says

    We planted some species of prickly pear cactus maybe 6 years ago and it has been 5+ feet tall (~5 feet wide and ~2 feet deep) for at least half of that time with no maintenance required. Almost no spines, pretty yellow flowers in spring, and extremely hardy. It has lost sections to severe cold, grazing deer, and overgrowth+wind, but every piece that has fallen off so far has grown into a new plant just by sticking it in some garden soil. There was one piece that dropped off due to cold that was simply thrown on the mulch by a shaded brush pile that managed to root and has since been moved elsewhere.

  10. kantalope says

    @6 reminds me, I was down South and was told “You can’t use that door.” I asked why and was told I couldn’t go past the GATOR. I told them not to worry about that. But I gave that door wide berth.

  11. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    Nuke it from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.

  12. Larry says

    Get that chainsaw. Plants laugh at the gardener who tries to keep them in check with just pruning shears. But show them that Stihl with the 20″ bar. Then, they will fear you.

  13. unclefrogy says

    I can second the suggestion of goats as a very good way to control plant growth.
    After you get them cut down to ground level you might consider some geese they will eat most of it and are aggressive in defense and wont hesitate to make a lot of racket and keep many of the varmints at bay including the 2 legged ones.
    uncle frogy

  14. says

    This is the real reason people become vegans, you know.

    I have ten different species of plant which are trying to take over my backyard, all but two of which are things you might actually plant on purpose, growing out of control. (Five of them are partially edible — the black raspberries are so delicious it almost makes up for them taking over roughly 60 square feet around the garage.)

    And then in my front flower beds, I can’t even get native flowers to grow. It’s like they’re on two different planets.

  15. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Only one year’s growth PZ? It’s been five since the Redhead’s stroke. I figure two years to clean out my small lot.

  16. spitzmutt says

    The botanical items will remain for another year.

    The replacement of the siding will occur only once in this lifetime and need to be done correctly.

    I would insist that anyone undertaking such a task have the contractor wrap the house with double bubble foil insulation.

    I covered my 130 yr. house with the 1/8 in. double bubble foil insulation which stopped any air infiltration from the cold invasions of winter. The curtains flying and drafts around my neck disappeared.

    Summertime radiant heat infiltration on the western side of the building has stopped and aided the window air conditioner in keeping the house cool with little activity.

    I don’t recall the extra cost but what ever it is it is more than worth it.

    I had the contractor pour dry boric acid powder behind the double bubble foil insulation as an insect barrier. More on that if requested.

  17. frog says

    I had the gardeners grind out a pernicious weed tree under the azalea bush last year, and gorram it, it’s back again.

    The front flower beds are just masses of weeds with morning glories and Russian sage fighting with each other for dominance above them.