Monday, April 26, 2010

Pampas catharsis; an epic in 60 minutes

(biobabbler's log: Saturday, April 24th)

Today I tasked myself with getting rid of 3 pampas grass plants.

If you are not familiar with these creatures, they are a noxious, invasive non-native plant that I developed a distaste for when in so Cal, hearing nightmares about peers getting ripped up by pampas grass blades when trying to remove them. They can grow to well over your head.

Ours had been burned a few times (oops), but kept returning. Decided at last that the all mighty shovel was in order.

So, I go out there mit visor, sunscreen, gloves, and my favorite and well-used shovel in hand.

Begin digging out offender #1. Instantly flash back to my resource management days (e.g. GS-4, if you know what that means) when non-native plants and I were mortal enemies.

Dig, dig, dig. Sweat. Work around the (3-foot) root ball in a circle. Hit rock, squat, dig by hand, dislodge and chuck rock, return to shovel work. Repeat. Hit tough spot and jump with both feet onto shovel. Make more progress.

It's almost creepy how satisfying it is to hear the crunch of the shovel connecting with and severing roots. Sweet.

Finally it gets to where I can finally shove the root ball over and use the shovel and my hands to disconnect the last critical roots. I haul it out of the pit and lay it down, roots up, so it has no chance of survival.

Veni vidi vici.

So, that's the 1st. Do pretty much the same for the 2nd. Sweaty, having fun, can see clot of dirt in hair, which is wild and flopping every which way.

The 3rd one is different.

It's next to another pampas plant, and seems to be connected to it, 'cause right where they are closest, I cannot get the shovel in at ALL. Not a centimeter. Hard as a rock.

Turns out it's a THICK root.

Fine. Using my reliable test-taking-technique of doing all the easy parts first, I dig everywhere else. Undermining and weakening the enemy.

At last, I'm at the tipping-the-ball-over phase.

Of course it is stuck at that same spot.

I look at it.

I think.

I look at it some more.

And think about which are my strongest muscles. And formulate a plan; primitive, but promising.

I squat down very close to it, on the (slightly) uphill side.

Then I proceed to kick the snot out of it.

I mix it up: 1st right leg, then left, now both.

I kick and kick and kick. Grimly determined. I will not lose.

And it gives a little.

Heartened, I kick faster; it loses more ground.

Finally, it disconnects--and is out! Face down, roots up, in humiliating and utter defeat.

Covered in mud, I laugh out loud, and say "You LOSE, sucker!" and feel fanTAStic. Huge grin.

The gray squirrel in the Pondorosa over my head flits from branch to branch, unconcerned. I laugh maniacally.

God, I love resource management.

=) the biobabbler


  1. Too bad there's not a Youtube version of the last part.

  2. I have one large Pampas Grass plant in my yard that is're welcome anytime to come down and go to town on it!


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