There’s one thing I know for sure about gardening in Louisiana—don’t use water that you’ve used to boil crawfish on your tomato plants.
I’ve always known this, or at least I believe I did. Crawfish water has lots of salt in it; you’d do better giving your garden a steady diet of margaritas. That goes for roses and geraniums as well as tomatoes, but unfortunately, it doesn’t hold true for Bubbagrass. That’s the name I use for that pervasive weed that rises up out of the drainage ditch, the one so tall and thick that it could eat an LSU lineman for breakfast. You can’t get anything that would kill that stuff without arousing the attention of Homeland Security.
So then, why would I ever suggest to my wife that she pour the vile red liquid into her freshly planted vegetable garden? I have wrestled with this question for over a week now, and I think that I’ve finally figured it out. In short, the devil made me do it.
It was about a month ago when she attended a garden show. She came home all glassy-eyed, having succumbed to the spell of the Giant Hogweed. I could hear her chanting to no one in particular. “I must have a vegetable garden…I must have a vegetable garden.”
At first, I thought I was in the clear. The yard was so wet from the spring rains that I doubted even rice could grow there. But then, miraculously, the sun came out for two straight weeks, and suddenly I could navigate my property without a pirogue. No longer did I have an excuse. I was about to become a gentleman farmer. (Okay, the gentleman part might be a stretch.)
It’s scary to think about. The Giant Hogweed not only controls my wife; it also holds sway over the weather. It’s out to get me. It’s revenge over the intense chemical warfare I’ve waged on the battleground that is my lawn.
It ruined a perfectly beautiful Saturday afternoon, one tailor-made for watching some Texas Hold-‘em on the big screen with a six-pack at my side, the sun peeking through the window and tickling my cheek. That would have been just enough dissolve any guilt of wasting a perfectly fine day indoors.
But it was not to be. My wife and the Hogweed would not allow me that luxury. Instead, my fate was to slave away the balmy afternoon with hammer, saw and shovel; piecing together a raised bed with scrap lumber and filling it with soil for the benefit of the Hogweed’s minions.
I worked like a dog, oblivious to the beckoning of ESPN and the tall cool ones in the fridge. I, too, had fallen under a spell. At first, I wondered if the Hogweed had claimed me as well. But then, while taking a quick pant between shovels, I ventured a glance towards the pool, and right then I knew the force that controlled me. It was something more powerful than the strongest electromagnet. It is called marriage.
There I saw her, lounging in the floating recliner that I’d bought her last Christmas. The foam is so light that it floats several inches above the water. She had an apple martini in one hand and a paperback in the other. But her eyes were not on that book; they were glancing toward me, and they were accompanied by that familiar, authoritative smile. And to think that the money that lounge cost me would have bought a fine set of mud flaps for my F-150 pickup. You know the ones—fine rubber, complete with the outline of a sexy babe.
That’s the power of marriage. There ain’t no psychic Hogweed that could ever make me go for those mud flaps over her pool lounge.
But still, it seems, the married man possesses deep within himself an innate force that strikes back when his manliness is threatened. And this, I think, is what took control when I suggested that she douse her precious seedlings with the poisonous brine. Deep down, I always knew she was gullible. I knew that from the day she agreed to marry me.
That’s my theory, anyway. My wife’s take on it is different—something or other about the beer talking. Well, she can believe what she wants to believe. I still like to think there was a higher power at work.
I’m counting on it working again. I’m dying to see what it’s going to do now that she suddenly has this new plan to double the garden’s size.
Anybody want to trade some mud flaps for a pool lounge?