Dandy Lions

6a00e554503eee8833011168eff51e970c-800wiTo say that my relationship with dandelions is fraught would be an understatement. On a glorious spring day in the early seventies I was assiduously collecting them and using them for tickets to go down the slide when all of the sudden I was scooped up by a wild-eyed teacher, who rushed me inside and called my parents. My eyes were swollen to slits and I was taken to the hospital and given a gigantic shot in the ass. I slept for seemingly ever – kinda like Snow White – and woke up with a tacit understanding that there were things in the world that could make me itch. As I grew, my list of itchy things grew: pollen, grasses, molds, dogs, cats, weeds, dust mites, etcetera. I pretty much stayed clear of dandelions for the rest of my childhood, ubiquitous as they were on every school playground.

Fast forward to early 2000. I’m a young mom, with a house on a creek and a whole hell of a lot of dandelions. In my youth, I spent the summers pretty much bathing in the chemical mist of the white Chem Lawn truck. Usually, my mother would shoo us inside, but I can remember plenty of times the guy would spray under us as my friend and I perched a top the swingset and watched, breathing in that stinging sweetish chemical smell. Doctor Dash and I couldn’t, in good conscience, spray our lawn, even though the Chem Lawn truck had changed the letters to spell Tru Green - not with a crawling baby, not with a creek down the hill. So we began to pluck them, one by one and with numerous fancy implements. On by one. By one. And here it is, nine years later. And I’m still plucking. It’s what I do when I’m outside. Nothing is more satisfying than digging in with the weeding fork and pulling out a big nasty root, all wrinkly and hairy – squeeeeee they scream. But it’s downright Sisyphean, this trying to keep the dandelions at bay the old fashion way. Every time I turn around, there’s an army of bright little heads, sprung out of nowhere, mocking me in the grass. The theory, as I understand it, is that if you keep plucking, each year you get less and less dandelions. Well, I’ve been plucking for nine years and . . .

Good God.

So imagine my delight when I saw this op ed piece in the NY Times. The author basically challenges the notion that green golf course lawns are more beautiful, hence more desirable than weedy, natural ones. Dandelions, after all, look just like flowers. Isn’t the difference between a weed and a flower in the eye of the beholder? I’d say so given my annual bickering with Dash over what he’s allowed to bushwhack in the yard. What I see as healthy ground cover, he sees as invasive and aggressive weedage. He wants space between the “legitimate” plants. I tend to be more inclusive in my definition of who gets to stay in the yard. But I digress. The author writes: “. . . my eco-friendly ethos dovetails suspiciously with my laziness.” I love that. It is so my m.o.

Now if I could just convince everyone else, I’d be in business.

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3 Responses to “Dandy Lions”

  • duddy Says:

    suz spent a large part of one Sat picking all the dandelion’s, cleaning them in our salad spinner and then making kick ass salads w/ the greens for the rest of the week. Awesome spring treat. try it. (after a solid hour or so of cleaning, I asked if it was worth it considering you can by a grocery bag full for a $1…I know how to take the “fun” out of things.)

  • peevish mama Says:

    You ARE a buzzkill! Believe me I think about it all the time. I love all greens, including the dandies. I’m just too afraid they’ve been sprayed! This being only our second summer in this house, I have no idea what the people before did. I didn’t know foraging was included among Saucy’s many talents!!! Just don’t let her start bringing in mushrooms. By the way, tell her I’ve got the seeds for those Sweets peppahs ready to go into my planter any day now!

  • seth Says:

    walter@addressed.tsunami” rel=”nofollow”>.…


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