Days like this, said Doc, a guy has to get out and get his yard work done early, before it gets too hot.
“So when does it get too hot, Doc?”
“Oh, about three o’clock in the morning. Makes it a toss-up. Do you get up early without the benefit of coffee and conversation and go weed the petunias with a flashlight, or just stay up late and party, and weed them before going to bed?”
“Is this a multiple choice, Doc?” said Steve, ever the practical cowboy. “Was this a rhetorical question or can we pick for you?”
“Those must be powerfully important petunias,” said Dud.
“How do you feel about naps, Doc?”
There followed a general round of merriment among the august members of the Mule Barn truck stop’s philosophy counter and world dilemma think tank.
“You know,” Doc said, drawing on his philosophical voice, “I sometimes think it’s a better idea to just go Darwinian and revert to native plants. Survival of the fittest. Allow the kinds of things to grow in our yards that really want to grow in our yards. It would be holistic with a splash of organic and natural tossed in.
“And what would it hurt? There you’d have this yard full of plants that really wanted to be there. Big, strapping healthy plants. Plants well suited to our environment. Plants that wouldn’t have to be weeded and mollycoddled and fussed about. Plants that would stand up and tell the world ‘I’m here. I’m strong, and I belong here in Doc’s yard.’”
Dud looked at him. “Great idea, but how do you go about doing this?”
“Why Dudley ol’ bean,” Doc said, grinning, “that’s the very best part. You don’t do one simple darn thing. Nothing. No plowing, irrigating, fertilizing, planting, hoeing, pruning … nothing. I may have to write a book on it someday.”
Dud was still a bit perplexed. “But Doc, if you don’t weed these native plants, won’t the weeds take over?”
“Weeds? The only weed you might get is a stray rose bush, my friend. The weeds of yesteryear are the treasures of tomorrow!”
Dud started to smile. “I get it now.”
“And Dud?” added Steve, “Doc can get this magnificent yard of his while he’s asleep at three o’clock in the morning.”
The writer is a veteran newspaperman and outdoorsman who is a registered outfitter and guide. He has written novels and nonfiction books based on rural living and he has also been an award-winning columnist for the largest daily newspapers in Alaska and New Mexico. He lives in Albuquerque.
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