by Steve Bivans
You know what tastes like shit?
Dog shit does. Go figure. Who knew?
“But how do you know this?” you ask. Let me tell you a story…
When I was younger, about 25 odd years ago, I used to co-own a landscaping, lawn care company in New Bern, NC., called Dreamscapes. Yeah it was a catchy name, I know. Our biggest account was with the city, mowing and trimming the grass and shrubs in Cedar Grove Cemetery.
Cedar Grove is an old place.
The oldest graves go back to just after the founding of the city, about 1720 or so (the city was founded in 1710. It’s so old that it was recently used as a setting in the TV show, Sleepy Hollow. In fact, I’ve walked over and trimmed the grass in the very spot, many times.
It’s a quintessential colonial cemetery, complete with ancient Cedar trees—hence the name—hanging Spanish moss, and a limestone wall, capped off with an arched limestone gate, that’s known as the weeping gate. Legend has it that if you walk under it, and water drips on you—as it will from limestone (just walk down into my basement)—then you will be the next to die and be interred in the cold, cold earth of Cedar Grove.
I could tell many stories about Cedar Grove, but today I’m gonna talk to you about weed control, and the wonders of spinning, plastic string. And dog shit.
For some reason, my Dreamscape business partner, Ken, always ended up driving the riding mower. He was a about 10 or 15 years my senior, but it wasn’t his geriatric age that designated him as the one who got to sit on his ass on the mower all day; it was his ‘used car’ salesmanship. He could talk the pants off a nun, and sell the Pope a waterbed and some condoms. Somehow he managed to sell me on the idea that the riding mower was the toughest job. So in an act of self sacrifice, he would fall on the sword, and not subject me to that particular torture. Thanks Ken. If you’re thinking Tom Sawyer and whitewashin’ fences, you’re on the right track. But Ken’s bullshit wasn’t the only excrement in Cedar Grove…
One hot-assed summer day, and I do mean steamy hot—this is the South people—I was once again relegated to the weed whipper. Now this is not one of those battery powered units like I have now, or electric cord thingys, like my father drags around his enormous yard. This was a pro version, with plenty of torque to cut through the toughest of weeds. In fact, if the heavy duty plastic string wouldn’t cut it, we could put a saw blade on it and cut through small trees, up to about an inch or two in diameter. So this was no wimpy-assed Weed Eater; it was a destroyer of all things green, a proverbial Shiva of lawn trimming.
Anyway, so I was trimming the weeds around the perimeter of the cemetery this hot summer day—and I could probably walk you right to the spot today (that’s how impressed upon my memory the moment was)—when I hit it. A large pile of steamy, wet, dog shit. Now, this would have been nasty enough, if—like everyone else who’s had the pleasure of weed whipping dog crap—I still had the plastic, debris guard on the end of the weed whipper shaft. But I didn’t.
You see, if you’re a professionALE weed whipper—like me—you don’t need no stinking debris guard. In fact, it gets in the way of doing your job, because instead of standing in one place and trimming around the small foot stones in the cemetery, you would have to walk all the way around every damned one of them, and that is a lot of fuckin’ walkin’, trust me on that one.
So, you take off the debris guard. Now there’s only one problem with not having a debris guard, and you’ve probably figured that out already: debris will fly back at you, when you hit it. Most of the time, this was just things like sticks, or worse, a patch of dried sand-spurs. Sand-spurs suck ass. They are like little round, spiny balls of pain. They’re little porcupiney balls, with spines sticking out in all directions, designed to stick to any and all animals who come into contact with them, so they will be transferred somewhere else to spawn more sand-spurs. They suck, and they hurt like hell, especially when they become dried up, and hard in the relentless Southern, summer heat, and you step on one with no shoes on.
If you hit a patch of those bastards with a weed whipper, an industrial strength weed whipper that is, and you don’t have a debris guard, you get a shotgun blast of them all over your body and sometimes in the face. The least painful is if they manage to hit your shoes. Then all you have to worry about is peeling them off of your shoestrings at the end of the day. But they also hit you in places where you’d rather not be hit, say, your crotch, or worse, right under your nose on that little ridge above your lip that separates your nostrils. #$%^&*()!! That fuckin hurts man.
Especially if the little tines stick there, because you will automatically race your hand upward to wipe the painful thing away, but it won’t be swatted away like you swat a ‘skeeter or fly. Hell no. It’s STUCK there buddy. You have to pull that thing out by hand, which means it will probably stick to your fingers, or gloves in the process. Your eyes will be watering, and you’ll be cussing in a long string of obscenities, like some sailor-pirate headed for the gangplank, while gingerly trying to pry this little sticky bastard from the end of your nose. It’s fun, let me tell ya.
But it wasn’t dried up sand-spurs that I hit that morning, on the perimeter of Cedar Grove Cemetery. It was a pile of dog shit. So instead of a crotch full of little prickly things, or a nostril-hanging, porcupine, I got a face full of steamy dog excrement. Now granted, that would have been bad enough, all by its lonesome. But the problem was, that a tiny, tiny fragment of this pile of dog shit, landed on my lower lip, on the right side, just at the corner of my mouth.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Just wipe that crap OFF man! Don’t DO IT!!!” But you see, that assumes that I had time to think, which I didn’t. All of this happened in 1/100th of a second. Now I want you to try an experiment. Take a tiny piece of food—I mean tiny—and stick it to the bottom corner of your lip. What is your first instinct? Yeah, it’s mine too.
But you had time to think about it.
So if I ever tell you something tastes like shit. Trust me, it does.
But there’s something else that tastes like shit, besides dog excrement, and that’s RoundUp weed killer.
For many years I used RoundUp as a substitute for weed whipping. Why? Actually there were two reasons I used it: first, I don’t like the taste of dog crap, and second, I was trying to save the planet. The first reason is self explanatory. The second is because I had read that the exhaust from weed whippers was particularly pollutant to the environment, so I was looking for a way to avoid trimming around all the borders in my yard. The solution? RoundUp! Just spray it around the borders and Voila! No more grass to trim! I found out later, that the planet would have been better off—myself included— if I had continued whipping dog feces into my face, and refrained from spraying RoundUp all over my yard.
The problem with RoundUp, is that it works pretty darned well. Too darned well. It kills weeds, and grass, and as it turns out, humans, birds, and all other manner of living things. If that weren’t bad enough, it has for many years been sprayed on our food supply, especially the new genetically engineered strains of corn and soybeans, to mention just two. Thanks to high fructose corn syrup, which is in almost all processed foods these days, we have all been consuming RoundUp on a daily basis. You might be right now, if you’re drinking a soft drink, like Coca-Cola, or Pepsi, unless it’s a ‘Mexican’ Coke, and states that it has real sugar in it. More and more of those are being made with corn syrup too, because it’s cheaper than sugar.
RoundUp is so ubiquitous that researchers have found trace amounts of it in the blood of pretty much every human they have tested, all over the Earth. They even found it in the blood of a guy way up in Canada on one of those lakes that you can only get to via one of those water planes that land on the lake. RoundUp has been found in human breast milk. Yes, our new mothers are feeding it to their children, who already have it in their blood anyway, thanks to the umbilical cord.
RoundUp is linked to all kinds of nasty side effects, not the least of which are cancerous tumors. It might just be the most dangerous, poisonous chemical on the planet, thanks to the fact that it is EVERYWHERE. Stop buying it, and spraying it! Please, please, please! You are killing the planet, your children, and yourself, not to mention all the animals, and poisoning the rivers, lakes and oceans. I’m not blaming you. I used to use it myself. Mostly I’m flogging myself.
But what do we do about weeds, if we don’t have RoundUp? Good question, and the reason I’m telling you about weed whipping and dog shit. If you want to stop eating RoundUp—and I”m assuming you do—then you need to find an alternative. The great thing is, there is a perfectly Earth-friendly alternative, and you probably have the ingredients to make it, very cheaply, in your pantry right now.
You can find the recipe elsewhere on the internet, but I call it Gamgee’s Grass-Slayer, after Sam Gamgee, the famous hobbit of the Third Age, renowned for his gardening prowess. If you’re a hobbit, like me, and want to Save the Earth, then you need to whip up a batch of this stuff and start using IT in your yard, instead of that orcish, crap, RoundUp, made by Sauron and Monsanto (the evilest corporation on Earth). This mixture does work, as the photo to the right demonstrates. The killing power is in the vinegar and salt. The vinegar is the initial killer, and the salt helps to keep killing, at least until the next big rainfall. The detergent is just to help it adhere to the grass and weeds.
Gamgee’s Grass-Slayer Juice, an Alternative for RoundUp
- 1 gallon of white distilled vinegar
- 1 cup of salt
- 1 tablespoon liquid dish detergent (try to get something that doesn’t have a bunch of chemicals in it)
Mix all these ingredients either in a jug, or in a pump, garden sprayer, and spray it where you have pesky weeds you want to get rid of. As for garden sprayers, I went to the store resigned to the fact that I would have to buy a plastic one (I hate orcish plastic), but was surprised to find that Stanley still makes a steel one! Yeah, imagine that. So if you can find it, buy it instead of the plastic. It will last way longer. It does have a few plastic parts, which they should work on eliminating, but the canister is all steel.
Will Gamgee’s Grass-Slayer kill as fast as RoundUp? Nope, and it won’t last as long. It also won’t give you, your children and your grandchildren cancer either. It’s a trade off. But hey, if you get some in your mouth, it won’t taste like dog shit.