Weed Reflecting

I have written in the past about weed control, and although it is not a personal issue with me any longer I am still interested in the subject. I’m also tired of hearing about law firms trying to cash in on the glyphosate / cancer thing. Herbicides have been a touchy subject for years,and that is only going to become more contentious. I believe we can all agree on that, a least.


Given that invasive plants are going to continue to thrive where people don’t want them, and that keeping them at bay involves either herbicides of some sort, or mechanical control. Less controversial spray concoctions have been used, such as vinegar or corn gluten, and if you keep them mowed down or mulch with something weeds won’t grow in the theory is that they will eventually die out.


But I’m not writing about weed control in edible crops – that’s a different aspect. Invasive plants in ornamental areas, or even roadsides and rights-of-way, allow the applicator to use more aggressive formulations. If the customer is willing to pay for it, contractors are happy to increase their physical control – herbicides exist to avoid labor costs.


What I’m wondering is, what sort of cosmetic concessions is the public willing to consider? Safety issues aside, are people willing to view crack weeds around parks and libraries, shopping mall curbs and parking lot beds, on your fairways and putting greens? The businesses and municipalities pay for weed control because believe me, they hear about it. Labor shortages and environmental concerns will be ongoing, so I’m sure the answers will become apparent.



Is This Meshuga Or What?

One of the most baffling things I was required to do while managing the landscaping at a local sewerage agency was weed control in the many rain gardens on their facilities. I suppose I should explain just what the hell a rain garden is I guess – basically they are artificial swamps, providing a place for water to run off and be filtered by plants before absorption into the soil profile.


It’s a sound and worthwhile concept, utilizing nature’s own bio-mass to soak up and synthesize all the nasty detritus washing off of asphalt surfaces, building roofs, the manicured areas of the landscape. The rushes, sedges, moisture loving trees and shrubs also provide small islands of habitat for critters within the surrounding civilization.


But essentially, we’re talking about swamps.


And I was called upon to wade into these overgrown drainage ditches, hefting a four gallon backpack sprayer, to dispatch weeds with a wetlands friendly herbicide. Never mind that much of the stuff I was after was similar to the desirable plants, but it’s not like vegetation is disposed to respect boundaries. Try spraying just the right plant with chiggers flying up your nose and you will know my plight.


Seriously I understand the need – crap like birdsfoot trefoil and himalayan blackberry need to be controlled, or the money spent on carefully designed rain gardens is wasted. There is a matter of degrees, however, and this particular customer had what I considered unrealistic expectations regarding weeds throughout, not just in the artificial swamps.


If anyone reading knows the meaning of a Q.R.F. and government set-asides, you may also recognize an inherent resentment by those forced to submit, and it’s easy to take that out on the non-profit contractor’s staff, human nature being what it is.

H2-B Still

The landscape industry is having trouble finding workers, an issue I’ve seen coming for years.  When I began my career in 1980 I encountered few hispanic workers, and as I moved up the ladder and had to hire my crew it was my lot to comb through  American – born applicants.

Even in the early 1980’s it was difficult to find motivated young men willing to perform the arduous landscape labor, and turnover was high.  We worked four ten-hour days and my crews had to pull Saturdays, so I had to deal with many hangover-related issues.

I spent the last five years working for a non-profit that employed disabled people, so not only did I have the usual headaches of finding willing staff, but they had to possess a level of disability in order to be eligible.


Online Dating 4

It occurs that not everyone reading this knows a lot about dating sites, so here’s a primer: upon signing up, the user is prompted to create a profile. One is encouraged to add recent pictures and create a thorough biography, including hobbies, musical preferences, goals in life. After screwing with this for over four years I can tell you it is not easy. I love writing, but not about myself, and frankly if not for my looks I may have never seen a response.



Many of these sites also offer tedious psychological profiles to complete, ostensibly to engage algorithms which provide compatible matches for the user’s review.  I have zero interest in the recesses of my mind. If there’s one thing my vapid ex illustrated, being a good person means exactly dick in maintaining a relationship.  At times in a profile I have referenced the fact that these presentations are not accurate simply by virtue of being written, and that they should be as succinct and generic as possible, and that the respondents should let physical attraction determine whether to meet in person.



As I scroll through the tales some of these babes put out it becomes evident that many disagree – some of their profiles are virtual articles and seem heavily influenced by cheap romance novels or cheesy greeting cards. As a denizen of the pacific northwest, I can also expect a percentage who want nothing to do with dissimilar viewpoints. That’s just as well, because although I am faithful to my beliefs it doesn’t define me, but it is depressing that it has come to this point.



Of course, since I’m discouraged beyond the point of actively dating anymore, this issue is a moot point to me, but I do enjoy the academic exercise. It’s foreign to me to experience that level of vitriol – when the democrats were in power it never occurred to make opposition to him a deal breaker towards a relationship. Interesting times.

Lawns Are Doomed

40 years ago I began my landscape career as a mow jockey, eight hours a day pushing a 21″ Snapper mower. The more seasoned workers got to use the triple reel ride-on Toros on the larger turf areas, leaving the rookies to mow the smaller panels adjacent to office  and apartment buildings.

It was never fun, but I was a young man beginning a new career and went home each day tired but content. I took pride in creating straight lines and not leaving clippings on the hardscapes, weeds pulled and trash picked up.

In the 1980’s there was still small concern in the Pacific Northwest regarding irrigation and the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides – the goal was green grass without weeds, and contractors provided it, or lost the job to someone else. It was a competitive market in a strong economy.

Somewhere along the line the environmental movement started to zero in on golf courses, and soon all turfgrass became an issue due to the resources needed to keep it green and beautiful. The fact is, in my region the use of cool-season turf means fighting the natural habit of the plants to grow dormant during the summer with ample irrigation and fertilizer application. At the same time, I was growing weary of the effort required in my job and became sympathetic to eradicating turfgrass as a landscape staple.

I read that the EPA estimates that Americans use one third of our water to irrigate their lawns, and although I don’t necessarily buy that statistic, one thing that does offend me is seeing sprinklers running along and water streaming down the sidewalk, due to poor timing or adjustment.


Online Dating Part 3

So I read my last couple of posts on this subject and realize how uncomfortable the reader may be because of my disclosures. I apologize for that, but my purpose  was to establish legitimacy. After all, if a guy is willing to admit his feeble ability in this regard he is apt to be honest throughout, don’t you think? Darn right.  


I’m keeping my hand in just for shits and grins – every other week or so I tweak my meager profile on the one site I retain. To quote the world’s greatest rock ‘n roll song, ”can’t you see I’m on…a losing streak?” My purpose has devolved to observer only.


I wonder what kind of insight there is to be gleaned from the women on the site, without having to actually meet and waste more money on gas and overpriced coffee?  Obviously my policy of not messaging isn’t going to be useful, but I must tread carefully.

Please stay tuned.