Haircuts and Transplants

Oh, Glory of glories! The spider condos are gone! Removed by my own hand! (and CLH’s). Carmelized then pulverized in the outdoor fire pit. Sigh.

And i thought MOWING the lawn was satisfying. Bah!

Seriously now. I don’t know what the name of those suckers were (the plant books are still in boxes, and I’m not smart enough to figure out to search for a plant picture online without any good criteria), but there were COVERED in cobwebs. It was a low growing bush (when not housing a spider population) sporting tiny waxy leaves and bright orange berries. This one, however, was hardly green anymore because it was so covered in webs. The trunk was gnarled and withered. The spiders had long ago abandoned their 14 story house of filth, but their webs had all manner of decay still hanging around in them. The plant was grey, for god’s sakes. Dis. Gus. Ting. Who knows if it was even alive? All I know is that the thing was creepy, it was half dead/half growing on the side of the house and it looked like hell. So, we cut it down, in the rain, and then we burned the thing.

We had the fire going for several hours. We’d rented a chainsaw earlier in the day and CLH cut up the old Christmas tree and the who-knows-what-other-kinds-of-tree stumps we found in the many “refuse” piles in the yard. (By the way, lawn chairs don’t compost, so don’t fucking add to the piles of organic stuff, mkay?) We had a pretty sizable pile of junk wood going- weirdly shaped roots and dried out thin crispy boughs and stuff, so we got a burn pile going and lit it up. We’d burned most of the blackberries we’d wanted gone (they’re noxious, but delicious, weeds here), and we were just relaxing after a long day’s work, looking around the yard for other stuff to burn (the lawn chair almost made it in) when CLH remembered the spider condos. We both got a gleam in our eyes, grabbed the saw and shovel, and practically ran to the front of the house. By this time the rain was coming pretty steadily. Nothing too heavy- just enough to make all the dirt stick to our clothes. We looked like chocolate bunnies when we were done, but we didn’t care. The spider condos were on their way to a fiery grave. I didn’t leave the fire until every last inch of them had turned to ash.

There was something indescribably wonderful about burning all the crap that wouldn’t stack in the pile. It was one part necessity, and one part ceremony. We, without adding to already stuffed compost bin we’d built, or the bulging yard waste container, got rid of the yuck, AND we rid our house of yet one more reminder of the rampant neglect that shows up everywhere here. Even plants can use a funeral pyre. Sure, we could have shoved the things into a wood chipper- but that would have seemed overly brutal and mechanical. The slow burn approach seemed a bit more … noble (even if i WAS doing it with a little bit of sadistic glee in my heart). CLH and I transplanted some lavender and sage plants from the backyard (where they were also looking gnarled and spindly from not being trimmed) to the spot the spider condos had been. The rain came down harder later that night, so we didn’t even have to water them. Now, instead of having our ankles raked by the tendrils of a dying old bush as we walk by, we will be greeted by the soothing (dare I say, therapeutic?) smells of lavender and sage. Ahhhhhh…. I feel calmer already.