The weeds in my new flowerbeds are multi-legged monsters with weak stems and claw-like roots. I have never seen this particular weed before, but it spread in large cancerous masses over a two week period. This is what happens when you work all day for two weeks straight – cancer beds.

While hoeing and yanking my way through the flowerbeds (which have no flowers yet, by the way), Lydia let out the loudest, scariest scream I have ever heard. I thought for sure whatever just happened involved a finger separated from the hand, or a leg bent backwards – something equally terrifying. “Blood curtling” doesn’t even come close to the level of this scream. My pulse jumped about a hundred beats as I spun around, nasty weed in hand and hoe falling from my other grip, to see my beautiful, smiling Lydia perched in the window of her playhouse, laughing.

Scream does not equal squeal.

“You DO NOT scream like that, Lydia, unless something really bad has happened or some scary person tries to take you or you get hurt, do you understand me?” I yelled. She fingered the plastic windowsill. “We do NOT scream like that. Don’t do that ever again. Unless you…” blah blah blah blah blah. She’s two. Get over it.

And in the opposite corner, my new toddler is picking clover blossoms and eating them. I guess it is better than pebbles, or grass, or dirt, right? My cousins and I experimented with clover blossoms ourselves. We pulled the delicate petals out to suck the sweet nectar from them – a country girl’s glue-sniffing experience. Why feel guilt about clover blossoms? I do the finger swipe through his mouth and he gags, as usual, but the now quite soggy blossom is dislodged from potential choke-dom.

All of this while I hoe away at a flowerbed that has no flowers, won’t have any flowers until next year, had two lovely holly bushes that were taken down by the dog’s tie and died a slow, dehydrated death; beds whose plentiful weeds will bounce back with the next rain because they are not only infested with a masterful root system but also lack ground cover or mulch of any kind. No weed prevention here, baby. Just plain old dirt. Fortunately for me, one corner of the bed won’t need to be weeded because my 75-pound redbone coonhound keeps digging his own dirt mattress every time the sun comes out, flinging soil onto the concrete patio that we never sit on anyway so why not throw dirt all over it?

I bagged up about thirty pounds of weeds this afternoon. You can actually see my blue star junipers and the Stella d’Oro day lilies again! It’s a miracle! AND, mixed in with this amazing weedbed are some things that look like they might be wildflowers. Out of the weeds just might come something worth saving.

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

2 thoughts on “Weeding

  1. Good for you, for getting out there! If you need some help next time, give me a holler. Perhaps it’s a little sick, but I enjoy a good weeding session.


  2. I don’t know why I even attempt to garden. Everything ends up dying anyways, or just not growing. I now have baby trees growing in my vegetable garden, and no actual vegetables.Happy birthday to the little guy, I can’t believe he is one already, yikes I’m getting old.


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