Guest Rant by Wendy Kiang-Spray
It was a casual and calm Sunday afternoon. My husband had just finished mowing the lawn and taking the trash out. He had a particularly energetic afternoon and if I recall, he’d taken some fallen branches to the curb too. He came in, fixed himself something to eat, and as he began downstairs to watch some TV, he happened to mention, “Oh, I left you a little surprise in your garden.” What? What’s the surprise? He explained, “I found a dead chipmunk and put it in your garden.” WHAT??? I’ll admit, I went ballistic.
Is this sheer laziness? Why wouldn’t he dispose of it properly? Why throw it in my garden of all places? Doesn’t he know I work there? That I put my hands in there? I mean, I get down on my knees. I pull weeds with my hands. Did he want me to go about my gardening in my Zen-like way and then come face to face with a dead chipmunk and have a heart attack? Was that the surprise he had in mind for me?
A big blowout ensued. In the end, I had to suspend my disbelief and trust that as he professed, he was only trying to help. You see, he was thinking that this animal will decompose, and decomposition is like compost, and I like compost, so therefore I would like a dead chipmunk in my garden. It was all too innocuous to be sheer laziness, which was what I originally suspected. In the end, he took care of the chipmunk, and I let the issue go. When I was calm, I did explain the concept of greens and browns in the compost and gave him several examples of what should NOT go in the compost bin, and what should definitely not go directly in the garden.
I remember a friend telling me a funny story about the time she was getting ready to plant garlic. She had a whole basket full of garlic bulbs separated by variety and ready for planting the next morning. Her adult son arrived home after she’d gone to bed and he decided to “help” by peeling all the papery skins off each clove. She nearly had the same kind of “surprise” heart attack that I would have had facing the dead chipmunk. This makes me wonder, are there other gardeners who have had thoughtful loved ones “help” in a way that was not really helpful?
Wendy Kiang-Spray is a freelance garden writer working on her first book about growing and cooking Chinese vegetables. She gardens in Rockville, Maryland and volunteers with the DC Master Gardeners. Follow her garden happenings at Greenish Thumb or on Facebook.