The Great Outdoors by Deb Eileen

I like the idea of gardening. I imagine myself (in a sort of Disney princess style) singing to animated woodland creatures while collecting a bounty of fresh veggies and flowers.

Reality is a bit different. First of all, for those of you who may not know, earth is made of dirt.  Dirt which often contains things like worms and those bugs that have been exposed to nuclear radiation because they have a freakish amount of legs and seemingly no head. And the woodland creatures? Not nearly as cute as Disney would have you believe.

Today I went to the garage to pull out the patio furniture. There was a RAT in the garage. A rat. It was not singing. It was not wearing a jaunty cap while helping me to whistle while I work. It was skittering around on the rafters waiting to drop onto my head ninja style and do God knows what. Despite this horror, I pressed on and began to assemble the furniture outside. I came this close (squeeze your thumb and index finger together so they are separated by mere atoms) to sticking my hand into a nest of baby spiders. 

Those who know me know how I feel about spiders. Unlike puppies, kittens and  human offspring, spider babies are not cute. They looked very hostile to me. One waved its tiny front legs at me in a threatening manner.

I left the furniture and went to another area of the yard and pulled a few weeds. I could tell they were weeds because they appeared to be attached to the earth by more than mere gravity and roots. If these had been valuable plants they would have ripped free of the ground without even needing a strong breeze. I yanked, I pulled, I worked up a proper sweat and finally the weed came free and with it, a worm which fell onto my foot. I gave a squeal and a kick and that worm caught some serious air, landing a few houses down from ours.

This was enough for me and I’ve come inside. I think I am done gardening until next year. Clearly I am the kind of woman destined to live in the city far from any kind of open space.

Do you like to garden?

12 Replies to “The Great Outdoors by Deb Eileen”

  1. So funny…

    Yes, I love gardening and have no fear of any of God’s creatures. Spiders? They eat other bugs — so they are good. They get rescued and relocated if they’re in my way. Worms? Also good – they loosen the dirt and poop compost. In fact, I bought a pile of them last year for my garden and they’ve grown to the size of small snakes. Speaking of which, snakes are very cool. My DD loves to catch the garter snakes that populate our woods — though I’ve had to remind her that she’s not Crocodile Hunter and should grab them behind the head, NOT by the tail (she’s been bitten, so I hope she’s learned).

    Poor Eileen… can I come help you?

  2. Spiders, snakes, worms — all good, useful creatures. Rats? One in my garage? Like David Sedaris and flies, I could not have rested until I hunted down the thing and destroyed its nest. Of course I would have needed a CDC approved mask and suit — Bubonic plague and all. Yuck!

  3. Oh, good Lord, Eileen, I’m right there with you. I can handle worms when I’m gardening (which I do like, by the way), but I always let out a little shriek when I see one which makes my kids laugh. The rat? I would have probably decided to burn the garage down to get rid of it and the spiders. And don’t even mention snakes–I’m utterly terrified of them. Don’t give me the old line that they’re more scared of me than I am of them. That’s impossible.

  4. So timely as my wonderful neighbor who GARDENS just came over to present me with a beautiful bouquet of peonies she grew herself. I told her I love her garden because *I* can see it beautifully from my kitchen. She, however, in order to view her very own garden she has worked so hard for, must go outside, climb onto her deck, peer over some huge arborvites (sp?) to see her home-grown flowers, while I meerly look out my window. This is when I love gardening.

    I did buy two beautiful flowering pots of cascading petunias which I am desperately trying to keep alive, but fear I am failing miserably at the task.

    I have kept a cactus alive for about 12 years now though. That’s an accomplishment.

    Here’s what I left at your comments on your own blog, Eileen: I loathe the outdoors. In my house, there are about 5 days a year I can go without air or heat and let the windows stay open.

    I also went to my in-laws this weekend, and it was pleasant enough to be outside, weather-wise, even with the creepy-crawly cicadas. I thought, “Oh, I can handle this. Now I am scratching about 16 bug bites that snuck up on me when I was trying to be outdoorsy.

    As my parents say, and I’ll agree–roughing it for me is having the ice machine on a different floor of the hotel room!

    So there’s my take on gardening, dirt, bugs, etc. Hate IT!

  5. I love being outside. We moved our bed onto our covered (not screened) porch about six weeks ago and plan to sleep out there every night until we move in the fall. We bought a mosquito net for when we need it. I spend most of the day out on the porch too. And I walk and hike. I, however, don’t garden. Here’s how we decided to handle the non-curb appeal of our house. We’re hiring a landscaper! I love it. She’ll be dropping by next week with the plans.

    As for spiders, I usually either leave them or catch them and put them outside. When I lived in England, a spider laid a whole bunch of eggs in that angle where the wall meets the ceiling in my bedroom. I couldn’t make myself vacuum them up and boy, was I sorry! Once they hatched I had baby spiders cascading all over the place and I did have to vacuum them then. It would’ve been easier if I’d done it before they hatched and I could see their tiny cute little faces. Okay, I couldn’t see their faces, but they were awfully cute. Much cuter than big spideys.

  6. If the book is the success we all think it is going to be, I assume that you will soon be advertising for a gardener that you can supervise and let him/her pick up the worms, relocate the spiders, and do whatever you do with rats.

  7. I believe I actually injured my tonsils laughing at this post, because my mouth was closed and I wasn’t expecting it.

    You need to come to my yard, where cute baby bunnies are eating dandelion stems and doing cute little twisty jumps in mid-air. There are some cute baby birds, too. We’ll just hide the spiders for your visit.

  8. Ha! My husband and I once came home late at night, hit the garage door opener, and watched a RAT run down the palm tree in our neighbor’s yard and directly into our garage. Need I tell you what we had to do? We stayed up until the wee hours of the morning pulling EVERYTHING out of our garage and onto our driveway until we finally chased the gross, greasy, horrible thing out.


    I’ll take spiders and worms any day, Eileen!

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