The Weed Eater


What is it about men that they insist on proceeding with their new toys without reading or listening to the instructions? We used to live on Cheyenne Mt, up high in the Overlook Colony. The home sat on an acre of land that seemed to have never been cleared since it was now vastly overgrown and full of deadfall. The first week we were there, the utility man, coming to read the meter, screamed at me for a full five minutes about people who didn’t bother to clear a path to their gas meter and were single-handedly causing his union’s medical costs to skyrocket. I have no idea why he was so angry. Sure, he had slipped and slid halfway down the mountain, but the wild raspberry patch and nettle brush had neatly broken his fall.

Anyway, we were forced to ‘take steps’ so my husband bought a gas weed eater, with which he attempted to cut back some of the brush. The string, cheap stuff, broke constantly, so he procured some metal blades that he could secure to the weed eater to ‘enable’ his ‘clearing’ of the property. Our oldest son caught him trying to cut branches off the deadfall and helped him by securing the weed eater until they could move the larger trees and branches down to an area where our son could use a chainsaw to cut them up for firewood. Then he returned the weed eater and stood aside, rolling his eyes.

At this point I had to enter the hospital for some scheduled surgery and didn’t return home for two weeks. The next morning, my husband proudly showed me his work. Working only on days off, he had managed to neatly ‘clear’ every bit of growth from under the huge Ponderosa pines still standing. Grass, the wild mint, the raspberry patch, small saplings, some small junipers, medium deciduous and even a few ‘junior’ pines had been cleared from the property. As I stared in amazement, he smiled proudly and said, “Hey, pretty cool, huh? Looks like a park now, and I even found some old stone steps that had been covered up for years!” (did I say we lived on the steep sloping side of a mountain? a very Large mountain?)

Clouds were rolling in, lightning cracking loudly, raindrops began to fall and as I turned to hobble to the side door of our home, I saw the innocent homes below us, the giant mountain above us, and thought, terraces….we’re going to have to terrace the entire acre of our Southern slope in one weekend or flood out every home (including ours) now cringing in the new watershed. And we did at great expense…did I mention we had only rented the place?

The weed eater now graces the Goodwill and the owner hires gardeners. We moved to Sacramento.

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