Saturday, July 16, 2011

Battle of the Weeds...

Every summer out here in the chaparral resurrects the battle of the weeds, wherein all the homeowners break out the power tools and weapons-grade chemicals to knock down the evil weeds.  This isn't only an aesthetic issue – the weeds are dangerous fuel in the fire season, which has just started.  From now through about October, we'll all be unnaturally sensitive to the smell or sight of smoke...

This year is different than previous years around our place, for several reasons.  Firstly, I've had great success encouraging a native plant (that I've yet to identify!); it's now occupying about a third of our cleared yard area with some vigor and density.  This is good for multiple reasons: it inhibits mustard and filaree (the two weeds we hate the most), it's easy to mow, it's a pleasant sage green even through the dry season, and it attracts birds.  Win!  Another difference this year is that we had a very wet winter, and consequently all our native plants had a growth spurt – including the danged weeds.  Finally, I have a new mower this year and it is by far the best tool I've yet had for knocking the weeds down.  This mower is unitimidated by even the toughest “tree mustard”, it's light and easy to maneuver, and it's powered drive works very well indeed on our yard's steep slopes.  Win! 

Today I managed to mow the entire front part of our yard, making two passes to get it all.  My legs are tired.

Debbie and I went down the hill this afternoon to our favorite local sushi (Yuki Sushi in Rancho San Diego) and stuffed ourselves with great sushi.  The salmon and the albacore nigiri sushi was particularly good today.  Then I got a haircut while Debbie went grocery shopping.  While I was getting my hair cut, a guy who looked to be about 50 years old walked in, a little hesitantly.  One look at this guy and you knew he was military.  Sam, the barbershop owner, is very soft-spoken.  He went over to this guy, said hello, and asked him if he wanted a haircut.  The guy (named Joe) nodded yes, and Sam told him there was a line about an hour long.  But then Sam asked Joe if he was military, and Joe, a little puzzled, answered yes.  Sam said “Then there is no wait for you, Joe – step over to my chair and I'll take care of you right now.”  After Joe's haircut was done (before my barber finished with mine!), Joe tried to pay for it and Sam refused, saying that military never paid in his shop.  Joe then tried to give Sam a tip, and Sam refused – and took $20 out of the register and told Joe to have a drink with his friends, on Sam.  Joe was a little embarrassed by all this, but then he and Sam talked for a little while and it became obvious why Sam (an Iraqi Chaldean refugee) was so thankful of the U.S. military.  We also discovered that Joe was a Master Sargeant in EOD (he disarms bombs), and had been on two tours in Iraq and was about to leave for his third in Afghanistan.  Joe walked out with a spiffy new haircut, an extra $20 in his pocket, and a big smile on his face. 

Incidents like this always make me happy, and at the same time bring back some damned unpleasant memories of my treatment as a U.S. sailor by civilians in the '70s.  A free haircut?  It was far more likely I'd have been refused service (and in fact, I used military barbers during that period).  Several of us in the barbershop said something positive to Joe, thanking him for his service or some such thing.  This never happened to me when I was in the military, not even once.  The opposite sort of thing happened so often that I got good at avoiding situations were it might occur, and got quite hardened to it.  Somehow that experience of mine makes it even more meaningful to see incidents like this at Sam's place today...

1 comment:

  1. Interested in the native ground cover that chokes out the weeds. Do you have a picture. Weeds are killing me.