Going to the Garden or Gun Range

Reader Contribution by Renea Winchester
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Facebook friends and readers of Farming, Friends & Fried Bologna Sandwiches, and In The Garden With Billy, know that I have been on a quest for nigh on about six years. A chainsaw quest. I figure that I could achieve far more effectiveness, and open up more light in my garden, if I only had a chainsaw.

My daddy remembers a song titled “If I Had a Hammer,” and if you aren’t familiar with that song click this link and listen. Pete Seeger performs the song for Farm Aid at age 90+ years. Watch the video my friends, watch it and soak in the spirit of someone whose voice made a difference.

Here is an excerpt from the lyrics:

“If I had a hammer
I’d hammer in the morning
I’d hammer in the evening
All over this land

And I’d hammer out danger
I’d hammer out a warning
I’d hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land”

Now this post has nothing to do with hammers, not really. But hearing the “hammer” tune during most of my young days, I took creative license and have been singing “If I Had a Chainsaw” for a good long time.

Never heard of the song? Here are the lyrics (credit Renea Winchester):

“If I had a chainsaw
I’d lop limbs in the morning
I’d lop ‘em in the evening
All over my yard.

I’d steer clear of danger
I’d be extra careful
If I had a chainsaw,
Just for my yard.”

Now The Beloved is a wise man, because he knows that my gardening motto is “If I am not bleeding, sunburnt, or stung, then I am not having fun!” But he gets a little jittery each time I mention this chainsaw wish, and he lovingly changes the subject. This is why for years The Beloved has strictly forbidden the chainsaw I have so longed for; however, with my mother’s passing I received a sure-fire e‘leck-trick chainsaw limb lopper the likes I’d never seen.

I’ve lopped in the morning,
I’ve lopped in the evening,
All over my yard.
Without a single incident.

Take that, worrywart Beloved. I have become an expert lopper and this year poison ivy has been my only affliction.

Until July 4.

That particular day started out without incident. The e’leck-trick lopper and I worked as a team assembling a large pile of limbs. We were satisfied, both of us, having cleared the underbrush from the front yard. Toward the end of the day my lopping task was complete and I started the safe and easy duty of scattering pine straw.

All was going well until the holly leaf came out of nowhere and smacked me across the cornea.

I’m fine now, but then … well, then I was scared. I couldn’t see. My eye wouldn’t stay open. It was swollen (for days), it leaked fluid and there was no optometrist on duty. Not a single one in the whole wide world (not even the “emergency” number my own optometrist left on his machine).

See! The Beloved said worriedly as I laid on the couch with a washcloth on my eye.

(Umm, no, I cannot see, thank you very much).

This wouldn’t have happened if you’d been wearing safety goggles. The Beloved insisted.

Who wears safety goggles to scatter pine straw? (Obviously not me).

My readers know that The Beloved is big on safety goggles. He’d have me wearing them at the dinner table if I didn’t look ridiculous. So, after receiving the proper chastisement and two prescriptions my eye has healed enough that The Beloved has revoked my outdoor restriction, AND purchased safety goggles.

Only if I wear safety goggles, he insists, which I insist look ridiculous.

And since he’s cutting the grass while I’m doing my outside gardening fun, I thought it would be a good idea to “protect” my hearing while deadheading the daisies with dangerously sharp scissors. I partnered my goggles with the black earmuff thingies my children once used to listen to music in the car.

Stopping to notice my reflection in the mirror I had to ask myself, “Am I going to the garden, or the gun range?”

The answer is clear. The lopper and I are heading toward the holly bush.

Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of several e-book collections and three traditionally-published non-fiction books, including her latest: Farming, Friends and Fried Bologna Sandwiches from Mercer University Press. She is passionate about heritage seeds and saving daffodils. When she isn’t digging in the dirt she is hoarding canning jars and reading good books. She also posts on her blog, Bloggin’ Billy’s. Follow her on Twitter @ReneaWinchester.

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