Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The satisfaction of pulling crabgrass August 5, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Our side yard, dug up during water line replacement and before it was overgrown with mostly invasive crabgrass. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo June 2021.

AS I WRITE THIS EARLY WEDNESDAY afternoon, the civil defense siren blares. There’s no emergency, just a monthly routine testing of the system.

This time of day, after lunch, my energy dips. The wail of the siren interrupted my dozing off in the recliner while reading a book. It’s not often I fall asleep during the day, which is revealing in itself. I am tired because I’m not sleeping well. Lots on my mind. I tend to overthink. To ruminate. Uncertainty stresses me.

We’re all different personalities, different in the ways we handle whatever life throws at us. And that’s OK. Some of us are early risers, work best in the morning people while others are evening/night people. Nothing right or wrong about either. I’m up early, focusing on mental tasks in the morning.

Shortly I’m heading outside to pull crabgrass, a job I started last evening and which I found incredibly satisfying, even if labor intensive and sometimes difficult. To dislodge those strong roots from the soil and then toss the clump empowered me. I felt like I was ridding our yard of an unwanted invader. And I was.

Since the digging of our yard and replacement of a water line in June, the crabgrass has had plenty of time to take hold. I was happy just to see green again rather than bare earth as we await the right time to sod or seed in this drought. Randy informed me that the crabgrass needs to go. He wants to use chemicals. I don’t. Thus I am willing to pull weeds, although, in the end, he may still need to apply a weedkiller.

This isn’t about who’s right and who’s wrong, but about eventually solving a problem. About different approaches. About trying and evaluating. And, for me, about satisfaction that comes from doing something with my hands. Touching the soil. Reconnecting with the land. Remembering all the summers I pulled weeds from the family garden and cockleburrs and thistles from my dad’s soybean fields. We didn’t use chemicals back then to eradicate weeds.

But farming has changed. The world has changed. Life has changed. Yet, the satisfaction of pulling weeds by hand has not changed. Not for me.

© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling