Thursday, September 13, 2018

Hammer Time!!!

This is a story ripped from the gritty front pages of 1989's most savage news!

If you have allergies, then you need to check your tampon more often than you think.

Now, don’t buy into the corporate bullshit.  You do not need five differently configured

 You do not need to open up a goddamn map of Europe and plan your every movement
for the next week using little colored flags and those pool cue things. Just carry extras,
and duck into every bathroom you come across one, and check the fuse.

Don’t wait until you sneeze.   

I was picking my daughter up from grade school.  At the time I was driving a 1963
Ford Falcon, full trim package.  It was Energy blue, with patches of grey primer, and the
word “WOW” spray-painted on the drivers side door.  Unmatched colorful chandelier
crystals hung all around the edge of the headliner.

I was wearing Hammer pants that day. Oh yes, I was; and they were a bright red-cerise
not found in nature and covered in minute, multicolored paisleys, because I didn’t stand
out enough.  
I looked AWESOME.  

The school was a pleasantly landscaped facility surrounded by blossoming chestnut

I stepped out of my car, took one breath and sneezed so hard my well-soaked tampon
blasted down my pantleg like a bullet.

I was not expecting this.  

A glance down told me that the only tell-tale was a somewhat darker area down near my
ankle, where the pants nipped in and clutched the lower leg. Remember those pants?
 From the knee down they were skin tight. But it had been one gut-busting hell of a sneeze.
 The only thing keeping the little darling off the sidewalk was the tight ankle of the pant and
the cuff of my sock.

It was very warm.

And I kept on sneezing as I stood there, per regulation, waiting for my little school girl to
come out.  With all the other mommies and daddies. Slowly soaking my vast, screaming
red pants in explosive blasts with every sneeze.

Not one single soul noticed.

Once she hopped into the car I was gone. I ran stoplights.  I split lanes. I made illegal turns,
passed cars, exceeded the speed limit and somehow, somehow, I was not stopped by
the police, who would have been mightily impressed by my whole thing going on, I’m sure,
particularly the 7 year old kid in back singing Madonnas “Like A Prayer”.

I don’t even remember parking, just running to the shower.  

Did I leave a trail?  Yes. Yes, I did.

And did the shower stall look like I’d slaughtered a pig in it ?  

Oh my goodness yes.  

And I kept sneezing. I’m rinsing and squeezing and rinsing my pants and socks and every
time I thought I had things under control, I’d sneeze again, so I was holding them at chest
height, which was awkward and unpleasant.

Pants and socks rinsed,  I grabbed a roll of toilet paper to stem the tide and a bath sheet to
wrap up in, dumped my clothes in the washer, got that under way and then duck-walked,
dripping wet and barefoot, wrapped in a huge towel, 409 in hand,  back through the house,
pushing a dishrag with one foot, mopping up the scene of the crime.

All the way out to the car.

Every time I sneezed, I could feel the toilet roll hanging on for dear life. I kept it in place by
invoking the kind of sheer emergency telekinetic power that mothers manifest when lifting
a freight car off an infant.

The only lasting answer was a drastic measure.  

And so once I was finished mopping up what looked like an axe murder, I rolled up a bath
towel, saddled up, then pulled a pair of my husbands underwear over the works, and threw
a big old hippie dress on top of it all.

Wherever you are, in whatever you do, God bless you, M.C. Hammer.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Wombat Facts You Should Know

There are many facts about the wombat. You should know these facts so that if you ever meet up with one in a dark bar you will be able to make intelligent conversation. Many of them are quite reserved at first, but once the ice is broken they make universally sought after partners in dance competitions (See Marquese Scott, Alfonso Ribiero, Soulja Boy) So sit back and enjoy this excursion into the wom-world!

1. Wombats will lie to you.
They will totally lie to you if they feel like you're an anthropologist or you have a cultural superiority-type attitude.  You have to go in pure of heart.  Many of the interviews that have been published in the past are full of wombat "in" jokes, or are pure fabrication on the part of the interviewee.

2. Most wombats like to live in holes.
Wombat holes vary in quality.  This is the reason that wombats have evolved a keratin helmet thing over their whole entire ass because it makes it so they can use their ass as an armored hole door.  Yes!

3.  Wombats have pride.
They turn their backs on their enemies.  Hence the helmet ass.  That's pretty hardcore.  Do not take a stick and rap on the wom-butt once he's down there guarding his wom-burrow, though.  It is in poor taste.

4. Wombats do not care.
If you have a problem, do not take it to a wombat.  Wombats have busy lives.  They do wombat things.  Your dumbass problems mean nothing to them, unless your problems are connected to an issue related to wombat preferences, activities, or lifestyles.

5. Some wombats are famous.
Liv Tyler is a wombat who had earned great international acclaim for her work both on and off the screen.   Ed Sheeran, pop artist, donates half his annual earnings to Wombat charities.  Kim Jong-il has dodged direct statements concerning his rumored wombat heritage, but candid photographs reveal that the tell-tale helmet butt formation is present.  Famous wombats in history include Pico Della Mirandola, Herbert Hoover, William Howard Taft and the reknowned American E-Sports Faze Clan members   FaZe Housecat (now renamed as Timid)  FaZe ClipZ and FaZe Resistance.

6.Wombats accidentally landed a plane in Israel in the early 1960s.  The matter gave rise to numerous conspiracy theories.

7.  A favorite vacation destination of wombats is Dubai, where some have elected to take up residence as replacements for the children traditionally used as jockeys in camel racing.

8.   Wombats.

9.  Wombats pass cube-shaped poos.  Great care is taken by Australians in the know not to mistake this substance for spilled bouillion cubes, although each year some 300-400 cases of square wombat poo ingestion are treated in hospitals.  The victims are usually elderly vegetarians.

9. Wombats are marsupials with a difference - an upside-down pouch!  As they spend the majority of their time on all fours this presents little difficulty for the young, and serves to prevent the pouch from being filled with lsd, opals, syringes, coal, peyote buttons and other elements found in the rugged Outback soil.  Wombat young complain most commonly about the "Dutch Oven" effect on their early childhood.

10. Wombats will whip up on you.  Broken legs and puncture wounds are most commonly reported by people hapless enough to disturb the "wisdom" or group of wombats during their nocturnal rituals.  No deaths have been reported, giving rise to numerous conspiracy theories.

11.  While the name "Wombat" would seem to refer to the animals relation to bats, the binomial name of at least one variant, Vombatus ursinus, translates roughly into "Wombatbear".  This terrifying interation of the species is thought to be extinct, although Amelia Earhart described a "heavy, digging animal with a motorized saw" in her last transmissions.  Most scientists dismiss her words as a psychological manifestation of altitude sickness, although her fractured account of "broad bat wings, huge things with horrible, pulsing, venous structures easily discerned due to the transparent nature of the encompassing tissue" and a "little head facing out its bottom, signalling as though in distress" is eagerly grasped by cryptozoologists as evidence that could point to the cause of her disappearance.

12. Many wombats are incapable of driving a car, flying a plane or operating a cuisinart successfully. Scientists attribute this to their widespread abuse of salvia divinorum, bath salts and detergent pods.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Aretha Franklin

I have always needed music.  It's the way I'm wired.  I can put up with a lot of grief and trouble, but if I don't have good music I can go to, things will get bad.

It's the usual bullshit...depression, ADHD, PTSD, a whole bunch of other things that come and go like special features.

I genuinely do want to live more than I want to die.  Sometimes, though, no reason, despair just sinks its claws into my head.  But if I can get to my music and play something, it'll give me a few moments of being out of myself and away from the shit.  I don't know why.  I can honestly say that I owe my life to certain songs.

 But this isn't about that.  This is about love.  This is about what another person would call grace, or spirit.  This is about Aretha Franklin

When I was seven years old I was shopping with my mother in a temporary Mexican imports store on 2nd Avenue, downtown Portland Oregon, the first time I ever heard 'Respect' sung by Aretha Franklin.

At that age I was a true blue Beatles fan, with Jethro Tull just over the horizon.  Just a little kid.  I never went though an Osmonds phase, or a David Cassidy stage, although I enjoyed a few years' happy relationship with the works of Messrs. Taupin and Dwight around puberty, for which I can be reasonably forgiven.

I remember standing there in the middle of the store, among the sheet plywood tables covered with pottery and lamps and dolls and ollas.  Large and open, the room was high ceilinged  to draw up the heat, so near the Willamette river that there was bar of granite across the threshold that you stepped up and then over and down into the store, being too close to the river not to use a precaution like that to block the floodwater in a town that posted the high water marks in bronze on the buildings.

The old transom-style row windows were open, lined overhead atop the storefront glass, and they let out the stale heat while the open doorway let in the deeply river rank, river-scented air, and the two front doors were held open with  cinder blocks.

My mother went methodically up and down the rows at a slow measured stroll, shopping and weighing and occasionally examining without breaking the saunter.  Somewhere in Heaven yet she is not paying retail, but taking a mental balance of the items on offer and placing them in strict order linked by a whole web of subsets, blissful and acquisitive.

Me, I was listening to the music. Uninterested in the objects, wandering.

It was the station that only reached as far as the rough  boundaries of the city of Roses, at an obscure place on the radio dial.  I don't remember the call numbers.  I do remember that the station always put out music that grabbed my ear.  You never heard it anywhere else, the really good music like this.  The station played all the music that was out there and new.  It was the only one that did, and that was a damned shame.   Us out in the woods only heard Casey Kasems' Top 40 Hits once a week.  Our only contemporary station was KISN.  "97.1 Good Guy Territory On Your Dial!"   Beatles and Beach Boys?  Sure.

 Blue Cheer? Humble Pie?

Listen.  Far away.  You can hear the crickets chirp.

But wait.  I am standing here and I am seven, listening to this music for the first time. Stock still.

I already liked the swoops and leaps of the gospel convention, all the improvised runs of inserted notes between the spaces of the melody, with the instruments, and the time signatures that were divided into precise fractions, but free like wings, that voice singing.

The radio station was playing. I drifted away.

This woman singing had a different voice than the other gospel singers I'd heard late or early on Sunday  t.v.  Their voices were rich and heartfelt, full of style and ornament and velvet, but they were singing about.

Not because.

What I was hearing in this moment was a declaration, not a story.

This was an adult woman, singing as an adult woman about being an adult woman.

The little Catholic girl stopped short.  I'm laughing thinking about that moment.

I recognized her voice; she'd already been on television.  I'd probably even heard the song before.  But minus distractions, I was hearing Aretha Franklin.  Full on.   And telling you.

 I knew it was like gospel, but with a wake-up slank beat walking toward you like a gunfighter.

 This stuff I was hearing now talked with the woman in me.

The song Ms. Franklin was singing was "Respect".

I starving needed this song like food in me.

That summer day all the stores near the waterfront had their doors open, the old glass storefronts, survivors of the earliest days, shining tall fronts made of sheet rolled glass and still intact, filling all the muntins, facing east and turning the interiors into ovens as the sun passed just above the buildings of the further side.  Rents were low on a east-facing storefront in Oregon.

I meandered up near the wide open doors.  It was one of those old fashioned inset doorways, so you could get a front and a side view of the items  being displayed before you entered, which I thought was kind of touching, like asking 'Are you sure? Take another look, now...' and then you might or might not put your hand on the door handle, cast in bronze or brass acanthus or kilned porcelain stamped with advertising.

I stepped juuuuust a bit outside.

All the stores were playing the same station and all the doors and windows were open.

Her voice was there.  All up and down 2nd Street nearly bare of other people because of the sun and the light, the same song was inside and outside on the still August air, in the humidity, one solid sound from College Hill, down along past the river and on through the wrecking yards and factories off Nickerson Avenue, going north.

Aretha was singing "Respect".  I glanced back at my mother - she was oblivious - and then looked right back away.  Ignore the kid, mom, keep shopping.

But I was blushing! I was blushing!  I had boy cousins!  And there were boys in the neighborhood, and I went to school in the blue collar/logger/stock car suburbs and I knew what this lady was singing about, and I'd never heard any one, any woman, say or think or -  hell no! - sing words like this!

I could not believe this was even on the radio! How on earth did this go out over those airways back then?

And it was catchy, and happy, and it had a laughing kind of confrontation in the tone like a protest song.  But not a grim shrill one.  It was a statement. Who I am, what I want, and what I expect.

And this woman wanted to be done right by.

At seven I already had a feel for the language and the ways it was used. I'd been reading fluently for three years.  I was fascinated by the many different meanings of one word, and I was already good friends with the Websters' Dictionary,  and how words could disguise meanings, and how lies could mean truth, and humor disguise rage, and aphorisms made of acceptable words display their rebel meaning right out in the open, flying like a huge flag, but in a way that the timid could hide behind.

Back in 1967, not very many people in Portland, Oregon, were going to admit to being anything but agreeable. But that was the same year back in Portland that all that bullshit  began to change for good, in flames.

I got all the 'code' and the euphemisms.  I mean please, let's be obvious.  Nothing in her tone said anything but what I heard.  She was using tried and true allusions I'd already heard in rock music and blues and even country music.  And oh, her amazing, laughing attitude was stripping away all doubt.

It was so excellent.  It was so cool!  I had to hide my reaction to it, though, and the fact that I was listening.

I mentioned earlier here that I'd seen her on the television.  I knew she was a pretty lady with big wigs and false eyelashes and sheath dresses with sequins who sang as a one-act on the variety shows my parents liked.  She was always dressed like a formal lady, with high heels and her hair and makeup done up to go to a party, like that, and she looked like all the moms I knew in their clothes style from the last decade there.

But that voice.
And those words.
And what she said.

There was no way I was going to glance at the owner and his buddy, way over at the cash register. I didn't want them to see me know what this song was about.

I know.  Here I'm telling you about my feelings and all the things I saw and felt and the sounds,  that all happened in the space of a 2:29 time frame back in 1967.

I stepped out just past the entry alcove and onto the sidewalk.  I  heard her voice all around me, that beautiful soaring swallows' dive and glide of notes around the melody, all that huge beautifulness filling the street on a hot afternoon in August, down near the river.  I could smell the hot pavement and the dank exhalations from the iron grids that vented the secret underground part of 2nd Avenue, the humidity like a full elevator, and Aretha Franklin was telling you that she would have respect.

She was telling a man what was going to happen.   When, how,  and what she meant when she said "respect".  Try me and you'll find out in no uncertain terms what 'Respect' means to me. Oh, it meant respect. But it was a word with lots of meanings;  not the kind of talk that nice people admitted they understood, and ever since,  people tried to keep that smashed in a box labelled 'Feminist Anthem' and 'Civil Rights'.

Oh yes indeed, it meant those things too, but it meant more. It stood on top of that stuff and stated the facts of the matter.

She tore open the skies, so unimaginably regal that nobody could see her or understand that she wasn't asking for a damn thing.

She was stating her due.

I didn't have any idea what I was hearing was called Soul.

Aretha Franklin told me what a grown woman was about.

I am not normal.  People don't like that. They sure in hell didn't like the way I did it or the fact that I was so little and little children are not mentally ill, they're being bad. It was like that in 1967.

You can be killed by an attitude.  You can be killed by an opinion.

When you were young and mentally ill and sickly with asthma like I was, well, your death is expected, or it was in those days, and I wasn't supposed to know that all the adult people around me were waiting for me to choke out while they denied to my face that anything was wrong with me but being spoiled and pretending to be sick.  I knew words and I could hear lies.  I learned real young who was afraid I was going to die, and who wanted me to get it over with so they could have their lives back.

But me.  I had this one strong, strong retort planted in me in 1967, on an afternoon with my mother, killing time until our bus came, wasting these two guys' time in this case-lot temporary store.

Aretha Franklin, I thought.  I wondered why is only this one lady singing like this?

It made me look for the answer.  I wanted to know the answer to this question, because it was so stark, you see?  That song was so in opposition to something that I didn't realize needed to be opposed until that nascent epiphany, out listening to her sing in the empty street and out up past the buildings in the sky.  I, said this song,  have a human life, and I am going to live a whole human life in full voice and ignore your approval  because I don't need it.

That couple of minutes and a few seconds changed me. The very first time that ever happened.  I didn't know how to contain it and I was quiet for hours afterward. 

 But I was pointed in the right direction. I looked for more music like that, and I had to stay up until 2:am to hear it, when the other stations went off the air.

Time went by and I started in and did what I wanted, what I was not supposed to do or be, and I drowned out your neglect and and dislike and antipathy and approval with my interests and the things I chose to read and hear and say that made me feel valuable and important and smart.  I was a hitch in your plan, I was a barrier to your will, I was a thorn in your side;  and you won't make me die  even though you will refuse to take me to the doctors and you will call me a stark liar despite the obvious, and I'll not only live, I'll make you feed me and house me and educate me and clothe me for the next eleven motherfucking years and you'll take it and like it or not, but you goddamn well will do it.

So many things are out there that can get inside you, overwhelming things that can turn you, words and sights that make you into different shapes when you are a little kid.  The whole world is vivid almost to the point of terror.  Often to the point of terror if I'm going to tell you the truth about my life, because of the way I am and the way I was.

 I had no way of not being influenced by something that strong.  It was the first time I'd ever heard a woman singing being an adult, and this was Aretha, and Aretha was an empress.  I had never, ever heard anything like this song, this woman, that way of thinking about yourself and being a woman.

There are not enough wonderful things I can offer you or try to say about you in a way that will look and read as magnificently and as miraculously and as deeply as the impression that your song and your voice had on me in that short time.  I am not anywhere near up to that task. I said this, though, and it's true.

I love you, Aretha.

Friday, August 17, 2018

How Not To Garden Like a Dumbshit 4


Everyone knows someone who claims to have the 411 on garden pests.  These people are, largely, dipshits trying to face.

Number ONE in our hit parade is the 'Cat Deterrent' folks.

People will tell you this total bullshit about sprinkling chili pepper all around on your garden.  It supposedly deters cats from digging because magic, or I don't know  What I do know is that this is utter horsehockey. I've tried it!  Cats dug!  They shit!  They laid down and had a snooze all up in the chili pepper I spent 7 bucks on!   Cats don't care, people!  You ever seen a cat lick it's own ass?  They don't care!

Number TWO:  capscasin oil and chili powder does not do a damn thing but lie there and be expensive and useless in the temperate zone garden (LOOK IT UP LUIGI.)  It doesn't repel pests and it doesn't kill anything.  It just costs you money.

HOWEVER:  Now if you live in Chili territory - USDA zones 8, 9 , 10 and Hell,  ground chili and capscasin could very well wipe out every pest it touches.  In that climate, on the pests adapted to those conditions?  Sure. I can see how that would make sense.  I don't know if it does.  The only thing I do know is that here in the PNW, it just doesn't work.  At all.

Number THREE:  Juices of garlic, onions, tomato leaves, that shit simply does nothing whatsoever.  It doesn't kill pests and doesn't repel deer, dogs, cats, Batman or armadillos.  Similarly eggshells (WTF?), Irish Spring soap and things like 'Deer B Gone'?   They don't work.

Number FOUR:  Deer proofing:  THERE IS NO SUCH THING.

Like Purgatory and the Cottingly Fairies, kids, it's all crap.  There is no deer-proof plant.  Or scent. Anywhere in the world.  Fawns and milking does do the majority of the damage in the springtime  - does, because they are desperate to make milk, and fawns, because they have to learn this shit for themselves.  They'll chew a plant down to the ground before they realize they hate the way  it tastes.

Now, deer wandering around at large among human habitations at night?   Those adorable Bambi critters that look so pretty and graceful? And chew up your garden (How to tell?  The leaves will look like they've been cut with pinking shears.)   Your visiting deer are smelling Buck B Bad and Doe B Ready.  Those deer have other things on their minds. They're going to do the deed in your back yard, at night, and if they want a snack they'll take a bite or six of whatever's on hand.


I am not here to lie to you.  I am here to dispel the bullshit.  If you have a belligerent Basset Hound, excellent.  If you have a Bernese Mountain Dog or an Irish Wolf Hound? You may also potentially have venison for dinner.  No shit.  Any dog that is super territorial and alpha will keep ruminants and other animals out of your garden, or at least take them on so they'll remember.  Even a chihuahua - those little shits will flat whip up on anything.  They don't care.  They're the hummingbirds of the dog world.  Too quick to catch, too mean to avoid!  Dogs are flat out awesome that way.  They work in every environment on every intruder.  Unless they hate you.

Number FIVE:  Now that having been said, I have heard reliable reports that concentrated scents -  Cougar, Coyote, Lynx, Wolf or Bear - will chase cats, dogs, various other critters, and deer.  You can buy it in any sporting good store.  And Wal Mart. And grocery stores.  In fact it's a little odd how easily you can come by Piss of Random Animal.  Some of the urines on offer will freak you out.  Turkey?  Raptor? Gator?  How in the name of Eleanor Roosevelt Winfrey do they collect that?

You're going to go through a few bottles of the stuff.  You put it on little pieces of fabric that you tie to a good 2 ft.tall stick and let flutter so that the wind blows it around.  You have to use a lot of these stick-and-fabric odor flags all over your property, and you have to keep renewing it from it's little squeeze bottle.  This does work, but be more aggressive with it than other sources might suggest.

If you live in suburban Los Angeles, go ahead.  Use actual 'Shits-in-the-woods' Bear whiz.  Any large, predator whiz.   No worries.

 If you live in a rural area, I'd think twice.  Nothing will ruin your day like a facefull of cougar when you totter out to get your newspaper in the morning.  Not to mention a wolf.  Wolves bring their friends to share in the fun.  That scenario will not end up pretty.  Coyote ditto.

I have heard that Zoo Doo, in particular Lion shit, will chase anything out there.  I tend to believe this.  You'll pay a premium for this if your local zoo even sells it., and you'll have to turn it into a slurry to activate it's stinky spell, but when your neighborhood tom cat catches scent of that action it will leave town.  I've seen dogs react to it like they were having a sudden seizure - leap twisting into the air and hit the ground running, straight out away.  It's kind of impressive.  Portland, Oregon rose gardeners swear by it.  It's used with abandon in the Portland Rose Test Gardens, in fact.  I've been there.  You don't smell lion pee.  You smell Heaven.  And all the plants are pristine, even though the Rose Test Gardens are way up near Forest Park, which is 5200 acres of WILD FUCKING WOODLAND IN THE MIDDLE OF DOWNTOWN PORTLAND. 

This isn't no managed bullshit like Central Park in New York.  This is wild-ass forest with a full foresty compliment of forest creatures, including woods-dwelling winos.  Black Bears live there, and they go down into town to raid dumpsters and eat homeless people down by the river. 

Portland has a resident downtown population of deer up into the hundreds.  No shit.  I lived there for 20 years.  I seen 'em.  I seen 'em walking straight down the goddamn middle of West Burnside, sniffing around for dumpsters and bedding plants.  It's a strange and beautiful sight at 3 in the morning, in the fog.  People will run out of their apartments or businesses and chase the deer out of the street so they don't get run over, so instead the deer wander into the residential side streets.

 Portland is basically the coolest town on the planet.

You have to remember, though, that animals have memories.  Eventually they'll realize that what they're smelling isn't living in the neighborhood, because they haven't smelled any kill sites.  Your pesty four-legged neighbors will eventually come back.  If your problem with dogs and cats is that bad, it's time to start live-trapping Fluffy or Fido and delivering them to their homes (or to the shelter.)  Drive them home, and knock on the door and hand the owner their animal and explain kindly and gently that their beloved pet is ruining your garden.  I have actually done this.  It works really well.  I only had one problem with a return dog, so I washed him really thoroughly and gave him a flea bath and brushed him out and got him all nice and clean and lovely, and then returned him home, which creeped out his owners so bad that they kept him in their yard from that moment on.

Ya do what you gotta do.

Number SIX:  If you live in an area where four-legged predators are common, don't use urines specific to your location because it will ATTRACT them.  Nobody wants a  goddamn bear in their back yard (Ursid, not hominid.) OK.  Bear whiz will chase lesser predators.  But it will attract OTHER BEARS.  You see what I'm getting at with this?  In my rural area, I would NOT use Bear whiz because Black Bear visit frequently and I don't want them at my door pretending to sell Girl Scout Cookies.  I would choose something exotic, and evil, and unknown.  If I could get Tyrannosaurus Piss, I'd go with that.  But sadly, I cannot obtain such an elixir.  Harry Potter could, but me, no. 

You know what works?  Butch Husband Piss.  Man, this stuff is so good it chases the JW's.  Dogs?  Get your Butch Biker Husband to piss waaaay up high on a nearby telephone pole, or tree.  Just soak it down.  Your problems are finished.  This is all due to something called pheromones.  This is an ingredient in male pee that says I WILL KILL YOUR ASS AND EAT YOUR YOUNG AND CLAIM YOUR MATE AS MY OWN.  The higher up it's applied, the bigger the inquisitive noses will assume the Butch Biker to be. Gone baby gone.

I am dead serious.  Human male pheromones are the bomb.  Your petunias are safe. If you do not have a Butch Biker Husband,  flag a passing biker down and explain your issue.  Buy him a six.  He'll be happy to oblige all your urine needs.

I have tried my own brand.  It doesn't seem to work.  Now, at a 1: 5 dilution at the root of your roses, you will have roses on roses on roses, happy, smiling, friendly, spotless and beautiful roses.  But human bitch piss doesn't seem to chase anything away, no matter how angry you are at the time of urination.  It's just the way it is.

How not to garden like a dumbfuck 5 - home brews that actually work and won't kill the Earth, and those that are utter bullshit.

Your little garden is doing wonderfully and you are so proud!  You are enjoying how these little lives interact with all the other elements of nature and give back beauty and interest, and oxygen too.  You are trippin' on how life really is a circle, and how utterly Zen a plant is, how in tune with it's surroundings, how in harmony with all of nature.  Small miracles, simple, elemental lives, giving and dying.

You're getting way into this.

And then it happens -  the neighbor, his dog, or his cat takes a piss - or a shit, (your neighbors might be weirder than you realize) - on your plants.

If piss or shit happens, as soon as you realize it, rinse it off with the hose, and no worries.  Your plants will appreciate the extra nitrogen and other elements contained in the dissolved pee and shit, but  ass products just left to lay on the leaves will burn them, because ass products are made to stick like a syrup, and plants don't like that.  Their leaves and other structures have little pores called stomata, which absorb water and air and nutrients, and straight up butt products act like an overdose, clog those pores, and will 'burn' the plant. This will appear as dead brown places on plants, or just plain deadass plants.  Large dogs and cats and human males have evil Satanic piss that will kill anything it touches.  So check your little garden every day, and if you smell or see evidence of a rude visitor, a rinse with the garden hose is all you need to fix this issue.  And maybe a change of friends.

This  having been mentioned, one of the best 'foods' for a hosta?  Is human puke. It's moderately acid and contains broken down carbon.  I am not lying, I am not saying this as a joke.  It works.

Don't ask me how I know this.  I just do.

If you have a party, find the guy that always pukes and party him out.  Then lead him over to your Hosta bed and let him cut loose.  Be kind.  Prop 'em up.  Hold his/her hair.  Lead them away when they are finished and let them plop on the lawn or in their car with their heads turned sideways.  Life is a cycle.  Imagine Keith Richards if nobody had seen fit to monitor his movements early on.  He'da joined the 27 club. Be mindful.  Your friend has just given you, and your hostas,  the gift of regurgitation.  Water it in  using the hose.  That's a cosmic debt you owe, my friend.

Here is a good, simple, organic way to keep dogs and human males from pissing on your plants:

Find a big rock.  Or take a big piece of irregular wood, or something interesting.  Put this object in front of the plants, or to one side.   The bolder and bigger this object is the better. I do not mean a wrecked car or an abandoned motor home, but like a big damn rock, OK?  A big funky piece of wood you found.  An old rototiller or a milk can? - that size.

Dogs always go for what they can piss high on.  They'll aim for the tall rock or old  milk can or what have you.

Human males, like dogs, always have to piss on something for whatever reason.  Pissing on your giant rusty anchor or big lump of rose quartz will tickle their fancy no end.  It's a true fact and it works.  Make sure to rinse this object occasionally, and your plants will thank you.  I'm not fucking with you.  This is the shit and it works like a charm.

 If your problem is with a human female squatting in your little garden plot to pass whatever falls out her hine, you are way into Oh My God Fucked Upville.  Call the police.  Get out your phone and take a movie so you can show it to the police when they get there so they won't think you're nuts.

 Or nail her with a bb gun.  No I am not kidding.

 I've had a straaaaaaaaaange life, kids.

Anyway, lets say your neighborhood is free of women who piss and shit on plants,  and problem dogs and cats and men.

Now look at what you have helped to create!  You have grown your first little garden bed and it looks great!  You even have an upright object of interest to one side, and all  your friends will say "That's really nice!"  And it will be nice!  You will take care of a small area that will teach you about what happens to plants and how they grow and the effects of the weather, insects, and other wildlife on them.

Now live with this for a year.  Watch what happens to the plants.  How they grow.  How the blossoms wither.  How new ones form, and where.  Watch how leaves form and what eats them - because they will get chewed on.  A few holes is fine.  A whole section ate down to the stem, though,  is the work of snails or slugs, or even rabbits or baby iguanas if you live in Florida!

 In the morning, glance over your little plant bed. Look around the base of your plants and quick just lift up and look underneath the leaves.  If you find slugs or any of the aforementioned, huck them into the street or into your neighbors yard.  Search for little white, pearly looking clusters of balls the size of beads, usually under rocks or pieces of rotted wood.  These are slug/snail eggs.  SMASH THEM MERCILESSLY.

If you find little tiny grey slugs that look kind of boogery, these are not baby slugs.  Don't cry for them, Argentina.  These are a separate breed of slug that loooooove eating pathways in leaves - particularly iris leaves - and will turn them from lovely blue-green fan-blades of structure and color into  freaky alien shapes, and kill them.

 The rule of thumb is:  If you find a slug or a snail, no matter how cute it is, kill it or throw it into your neighbors yard, and smash the eggs.

Slugs are long gross spotty or orangey brown wrinkly things, like alien scrotums with antennae.  Here in the PNW we also have a variety called the Banana Slug, which is as big as a bananna, is yellow with irregular black and brown spots, and altogether looks like a goddamn ambulatory rotten banana.  With antennae

How to take care of slugs?  Take a pair of garden shears, or dedicated Slug Scissors,  and cut them in twain.  Snap.  Ooooog.  Instant death.  Then toe them out into the yard, because...

 Live slugs will mate with dead slugs, successfully, because dead slugs don't know they're dead. Slugs are hermaphroditic.  Until they dry out, those parts still work.  I've cut a slug in two, and seen the head half eating a leaf while it's nether part lay several feet away.

How to tell the difference between a slug and a snail:
Snails have a shell on top and an oogy part out front, with antennae, and another, out back, with a butthole.  Their shell is rather a pretty, round, yellow and brown striped shell.

Ignore the glamour.  Here in the 4th Corner they will TAKE OVER FAST.  You take these little fuckers and huck them right out into the street. Stomp them if you can make yourself.  Smash them with a rock. Or if you're the merciful type, give every single one a flying lesson.   Or, if you're super murderous, drop them into a gallon bottle with about a 1/4 cut of bleach in  it.  Drop the snail or slug in, fasten the lid, and shake it around every so often.  When it gets too thick to shake, dump it in the road or in the middle of the driveway, anyplace that the bleach won't cause issues.  If you have a neighbor you don't like, a nocturnal baptism of their front stoop will provide a satisfying sense of justice having been done.

Slugs are gross.  Snails are a plague. They reproduce like a motherfucker and eat anything that won't eat them.


If you come out one morning and your plants are all dug up and thrown all over the place, you have four suspects, in order of likelihood -

1. Cats.  Cats love nice loose soil in garden beds.  They'd rather shit there than in a box, and they get all exuberant and roll around and dig and kick and shit and generally make a  big deal out of it.

Solution to cats:   not for the PETA members of my audience - turn away, faint hearts.

My mother used to keep a slingshot and a can of small round rocks next to the door.  If she saw a cat in the garden, she'd nail it, or get close enough to it that it that the cat would freak out and run.  Don't be sick and aim for their heads; just be disciplinarian. Got a persistent kitty?  Aim for it's side.  This does not kill the cat, but it does make it freak out.  My mom got to be a crack shot.  So accurate, in fact, that as  soon as that cat provided her with a.... *ahem*... target -  zang!   She'd laugh until tears ran down her face.  She was kind of a bitch.  But tell  you what; we would never see that cat again.  Hello Kitty?  Say Goodbye, Kitty, ya nasty little fuck.  Go shit in your own yard.

Suspect 2.  Dogs
A photoelectrically activated sprinkler system with a sudden blare of light will send those hounds running.
Similarly  Humans.  For whatever reason.  A sudden blast of cold water will send them coursing away into the night.

Suspect 3. Moles, Voles, Rats
Snap traps baited with peanut butter and bacon grease all mushed together into the little bait platen.

"Body of Christ?"


"Pax vobiscum."

Suspect 4:  People.
People will do all kinds of dumbass stuff.  Digging up your garden and flinging it all over the place is just one stitch in the crazy quilt.  With humans, you need a light activated monitor and a freaky siren.  I mean seriously.  If some nutty fucker is scrabbling around flinging your Wave Petunias or your German Iris, they need a dose of psychological hindbrain terror to deter them.  Lights, sound, Gary Numan, all in a sudden burst will send them dashing out into the nearest freeway. "BBBrrrrrrmmmmmmmSMACK!budump, budump, badump, dump, dump, sklishhhhhh.

Neem oil

This is the biggest boondoggle since Violet Wave Therapy.  Neem oil has no hidden miracle properties.  It works, yes, but only because IT IS AN OIL.  You can take food grade vegetable oil - the kind you cook with! - and it will do the same job cheaper and less stinkier than Neem will.  Pisses me off.  Fuckin' neem oil.

Safer Soap

The active ingredients in this are fat-based soap and rotenone.  The soap sticks it on.  The rotenone does the killing.  Is this worth 12.00 dollars a bottle?  No it is motherfucking not.  You can make your own bug killah and it will work better.  This is a home remedy that actually works, and my grandmother showed me how to make it, and it you want to dispute it then you take it up with her, and she will give you a crack across the shins with her cane because she took no shit alive and probably doesn't dead, either.

Go to the large department store.  They will have a product in the skin care/soap aisle called Pure Castille Soap. Grate, or chunk up half a bar of Castille soap into a half gallon of water and simmer it, while stirring occasionally.  Get all the soap pieces melted.

Castille Soap is weird stuff.  Sometimes this will set up like a gelatin.  Sometimes it will stay liquid.  It is a mystery.  But what you do, is you put it in a spray bottle (dilute it with water if you have go so it will be sprayable) and start hitting those aphids and japanese beetles and what have you like the raging fist of Thor.  Just this soap solution sprayed on the aphids will kill their aphidy asses dead. In difficult spots, just put on a glove and hold the afflicted plant part steady while you spray it, and the aphids will just drop off it.  Castille soap makes a waxy coating that suffocates the bugs, and doesn't hurt anything else.  At all.  Another bug could come along and eat that dead aphid and it would be fine.  Castille Soap is the shiznit of all home gardening remedies.  It works, and it's cheaper than shit!  I also have used Neutrogena to the same effect, but Neutrogena costs 5 bucks a bar and you can get ten bars of Castille for five bucks here - you do the math.  I was an English major.

People that say 'Oh, I just take the hose and blow all those aphids all off' are doofuses. Those things will return.  And you've just blown them all over your other plants, too, so you've made the situation worse!  And now that you've overwatered your plant, it will put out more soft tissue for the aphids to vampirize, and they will enthusiasticallly return in layers of 3.  Yes. ACTUAL LAYERS OF THREE APHIDS SUCKING THE LIFE OUT OF YOUR PLANTS.
Don't do this.

Some aphids fly. Some are placed by ants (look it up.  It's interesting.) Either one will succumb to Castille soap, and the ants will get discouraged and leave, because of the waxy feel on their little anty feet.

Another home remedy that works vs. another one that doesn't.  Early in the spring, take a half a teaspoon of some wettable sulphur, dilute it in water according to the directions, put it in a spray bottle and top it up with a little Castille soap mix.  Take and hit the lower stems, old cut surfaces and bud unions of your roses with this, and also the lower stems of your clematis.  First, though, rake out all the dead leaves and shit from under these plants and hit the surface of the soil all around the drip line, too.  Yes.  This will go a long way in preventing your roses from getting fungus diseases and preventing Clematis Wilt.  I've done it, it works.  Like magic.  LIKE MAGIC.

You can buy any number of antifungal products and drenches and what have you, and spend a good chunk of change on them too, and they may or may not work, or work about half-ass.  This simple mixture works 99% of the time.  Your roses will come up mostly clean,- which is the best you can expect from any rose, no matter how pampered, so don't buy in to the bullshit -  and your clematis will flourish.

Plain vegetable oil
Food grade vegetable oil, applied with a brush to the trunk and lower limbs of a tree in March on a dry day will prevent that tree from getting black mildew and scale insects.  And probably other things  too, but that's what I was dealing with.  Works like a charm.  It can also be applied directly to the scale insect,which smothers the little bastard and kills it.  Ha.

Tent Caterpillars
Look these up. They're creepy as hell. If you have these things, which are spread by scroungy birds feet, be a good neighbor and cut them out of your tree as soon as you spot them.  They spread like wildfire and will kill a healthy tree in one season. They will come back too, so keep checking the canopies of your broad leaved trees.  After you cut their nests down, either smash the nests or set them on fire.

 My dad was of the fire persuasion.

Tent caterpillers smell disturbingly like french fries as they cook and make a squeaking sound as well. Their brethren will book ass as fast as their little caterpillar legs will take them from the burn site, which one would expect, so our jobs as kids was to stomp all the escapees.
Good times, folks.  Good times.

And now comes the ultimate in home remedies, home made, 100% organic, good for the environment, and will stop - not kill, but stop - powdery mildew in it's tracks; as well as serve as a foliar or root-zone fertilizer. What is this miracle substance?  What is this secret of the ages?

Diluted Human Urine.

I use it in a watering can with a rose sprinkler at a dilution of one part whiz to 5-7 parts water. The older the whiz is, the better. No I don't know why.   As soon as you see powdery mildew, which will look like little dots of white on the leaves of a plant, sprinkle this mixture on it and it will stop it dead in it's tracks, and the plant will be able to continue to photosynthesize, plus get a little fertilizer in the bargain.

This is what you need to be using to water your seedlings with.  No more mildew, no more stem rot. Happy, happy seedlings.

This is a miracle on roses.  An absolute miracle.

It is also good on perennial asters and Bergamot.  Bergamot with a beginning case of powdery mildew responds like Venus Arising From The Sea in response to a comprehensive sprinkling of diluted human pee, which sounds so dirty, right? But it absolutely arrests the development of the mildew.

Honeysuckle will bless  you.

Tomato leaves, curcurbit leaves - boom, fungus stopped.  The leaf won't look any prettier, and will eventually yellow and get crackly, but until then it will still have functioning surfaces that will work for the good of the organism.  It is somewhat less effective on clematis, although it definitely slows the progress of powdery mildew.

In the hot, windless summer,  I give all my roses a weekly feed with this mixture on the leaves and at the root (In the early, cool morning), and my roses are taking over the world, clean leaved and repeat blossoming.  I had leaves and blossoms when the rest of the roses in Whatcom County give way to the summer heat.

Concerning powdery mildew:

It happens.  All it takes is one still, humid, warm day and its all over the place, particularly on cucurbitae, tomatoes, and other garden vegetables because powdery mildew hates the human race.

Now you need to nut up here.  Diluted human whiz isn't the worst thing you've ever smelled, and assuming it's yours, don't be all squicky.  It came out of you. If you get a little on you, you'll live.  It will not make your garden stinky.  At all.  It will not make your vegetables taste like pee, or your roses smell like pee. But filling that watering can will be an adventure in pork-scented armpit sweat ammonia.  And it will be foamy, too.  That is a good sign.  It  means that your whiz will stick.  Fill the watering can slowly, all the way to the top, and then go and bless the plant in question with your liquid spritz.  I am not even kidding.  I've put this mixture into spray bottles, and, standing in such a way  that the breeze will NOT blow it back on  me, sprinkled large vines and tall plants with this, and it simply arrests the progression of the fungus at the 'dots of fluffy white' stage.  Every. Single. Time.

I'll be honest with you here.  I take a number of prescribed psychoactive substances to control ADHD, OCD, PTSD and clinical depression.  I like to think that my plants are 35% saner and less likely to steal your car than other plants.

There is no downside.

Monday, August 13, 2018

How to not garden like a dumbshit 3

You have come to the best part of gardening.  Kick back.  Read this, get relaxed, sink in.  This is


I am going to assume that you did all the gardening things up to this point and ignored the Catholicism references.  And probably the Star Trek references.

That would be a mistake.  A space vegetable could crop up in your garden and if you weren't up on your TOS it could climb up your butthole and take over your mind.  Alien vegetables will do shit like that!  Be on the alert!  Nobody wants an alien plant rambling around in their brain!

Luckily 99.9999 of plants will be from Earth.

Your garden bed is ready. It is spring, April or May.  It has lain over the winter getting good.  It is waiting for plants. You have raked in some more finished* compost.  Now is the time to start thinking.

ANNUAL plants only live one year.  If you are a renter, you might want to go this route.  It can get pricey, so I am going to recommend a Frankenannual, a genetically manipulated ornamental garden plant that will give you untold bang for the buck:  The Wave Petunia.  Three of these will cover an area the size of a kiddie pool and keep on going until a hard freeze.  Yes.  The hippie plant freak likes Wave Petunias.  Bite me.  They're environmentally safe, they make oxygen, they're pretty.

But what kind of soil ph, sun exposure and climate does the Wave Petunia want?  How to make it show to it's best advantage?


And go to numerous sites, too.  Use search terms like 'what I hate about Wave Petunias' and 'Problems with Wave Petunias' and 'Best Way To Grow Wave Petunias'.  You will learn a lot more honest information about a plant if you look up it's downside first. 

Don't get out your monks robes and light a candle and sit up on a tall stool at a tall desk with a quill and ink and study this in isolation and celibacy for weeks; just skim.  You'll get the gist of it.  I can say that Wave Petunias like loose, high-humus soil in full sun with a little afternoon shade, and protection from the wind. You should also lift up the plant mat, every so often, like checking under the covers, and remove any slugs you might find there. Throw the slug into your neighbors yard.

How to plant:

Prepare the hole first. Dig it, dump in some water.

Next:  take off all the open blossoms. Just clip them off.

 Dump out the plant in a shady place and shake the root-ball gently.  Work your fingers gently through the potting soil and thin roots way to the center stem, being very gentle, trying not to tear the roots, spreading it all out.  A few will tear, but it won't matter if most of them are still attached to the plant.

When you make to to the stem:  If this area is all tangled around itself tightly like spaghetti, try and loosen it up by working at it gently with your fingers. If you can't get the roots to unwind, get a nail scissors and cut a couple of these big roots. Leave them there, don't try to untangle them, they won't hurt anything.  This will not hurt or kill the plant as long as you don't cut through the MAIN STEM.  Remember:  this is an annual.  It is DRIVEN TO LIVE.


Take this whole handful of mess and put it in the hole, spread out like a pie.  Put back the the dirt, covering all the roots, thoroughly and gently.  Pat it gently all around so the soil makes good contact with the roots. Don't wham on it or stomp it, just patty-pat it like you patty-pat a baby.

A Wave Petunia wants to be planted with the leaves right laying on the ground like a carpet, all spread out. Make it so. Then water it, all around the roots and on the leaves with a gentle spray, or better yet, with a watering can that has a sprinkler on the spout.  Get it nice and wet. Don't blast it with a hard stream, just let the water fall like rain.  The planting area will kind of sink in.  This is fine.  A good 5 or 6 seconds should do it.

That's it.

Walk away.  It will do the rest.  Ignore it.  Call it names.  It won't care.  It will just pump out blossoms across a large area, blithely unaware of your abuse and neglect.

Did you take my word for that?  Don't be a dipshit.  LOOK IT UP.  What kind of soil does the Wave Petunia like?  What Ph?  What sun/shade exposure?  How often do you water?  Does it want a little extra feeding around midsummer or so?


Now let's say you actually own a home.  Well done, Trump era survivor!

One of the easiest PERENNIAL PLANTS  to grow is the German Iris.  Also known as Grandmas' Iris and Fleur de Lis Iris.  This is the plant you've seen a million times, it's leaves starting straight up like short-bladed swords from the root, which lies like a creepy gnarled potato halfway above the soil.  The leaves are of a bluish cast and remain very bold and upright even after the blossom finishes.

This flower comes in a million different colors.  It's been bred for so many years by so many people that you can choose whatever crazy combination of beard, uprights, fall and uprights (look it up!) your heart desires. It's nuts!  People collect them!  They're incredibly easy and friendly lil' guys.

Now, you've been good and done your studying.  You know your soil type, you know what conditions the German Iris requires. Most importantly, you have looked at how German Irises grow, which is at a right angle to the root.

 Ok. Now.   Scratch a shallow area, making the soil in the declivity nice and loose.  Sprinkle some water in. Plop in the iris, with its soil and rootlets opened up and spread out - there will be smaller roots coming off the big main ones.  So. Plop goes the iris.  Sprinkle soil back over the iris.  Don't bury the thing all the way over the root.  NO. 

Just sprinkle some soil on, and then water, and then sprinkle a little more and cover a little more, until there is a little bit of the big root showing above ground and it will stand up by itself.  If it won't stand up by itself, prop it up with sticks.

 Another solution is to pile pea gravel on it to make it stand up.  The roots will eventually push their way above it, and in the meantime they'll be getting the air and light they seem to want.

Let's say you want to get all fancy.  This is your first garden bed, but you want to push the envelope!  Strive for greatness! Good for you!  That's the gardening spirit! (Or the Holy Spirit. I'm as lost as you are in the whole Catholicism analogy stuff.)

Pick out a German Iris and a Wave Petunia in complimentary colors, remembering that the leaves of the iris will outlast its blooms, and stand for the rest of the growing season to make a bold, bluish fan shape. 

Your iris will bloom in May.  Each single blossom will last for 2 or 3 days, but other buds will come out of sheathes on the stem and so you'll get blooms for about a month.  Keep the wilted blooms cleaned off - you just pick them off.  Why?  Because I fucking said so.  Enjoy watching the fat bumblebees wriggle and jiggle their way in to get at the nectar, and come out all dusty with pollen and fly off in a little cloud of gold dust.

And there you go. Around mid to late May your Wave Petunia will start ramping up and going nuts.  And there you have it:  A a nice little arrangement for next to the front door or wherever, and unless a human or a dog directly pees on it all, it will live with minimal care.

You have a garden!

*Finished compost? Huh?  LOOK IT UP ONLINE.



Friday, August 10, 2018

How not to garden like a dumbfuck 2

Well look at you, all back here and everything, bright eyed and bushy tailed, waiting for me to deliver unto you the esoteric knowledge of the ages, the complicated secrets of encouraging a plant from the soil into the light of day for whatever goddamn reason.

Remember how I told you there are two types of ornamental garden plants.  Now if you're TOS this may or may not apply to, say, Acamarian parthas or quadrotriticale, although if it did, then quadrotriticale would be an annual, and Acmarian parthas would be perennials.  Yes I am that good.  Let's assume that you're not growing fictional plants, though.

Things you will need to know if you want to grow ornamental plants.-
That's what this part is called.  Keep up.

1. You have to learn about your environment.

I don't know what country you are planting your plants in.  Or even what part of your country.  That shit's up to you to figure out.  Now I can oversimplify and tell  you 'Don't grow a saguaro cactus on the slopes of Mt. Everest because it's stupid.'  Cactuses grow in the desert, don't ask me how.  Lichens and moss grow waaaaay up near the top of Mt. Everest, though, with the fungal endophytes and tardigrades (not a plant, but a very, very tiny form of dugong.)  I'm sure other shit grows lower down, but once you get way up there on Mt. Everest, it's pretty much lichen and very very tiny dugongs.  Now lichen, being a diverse bunch of algae and fungus all intermingled in plantal harmony, that shit is adaptable.  It can grow pretty much anywhere, but saguaro cacti cannot.  They only grow in the desert.  That's just the way it is.

Every single plant has it's own particular likes and dislikes.

Muks Gardening Prime Directive:  Do your research.

1.  Your country probably has an agricultural bureau that will tell you what your elevation is, and what kind of soil you have, and when your first and last frost dates are.  They may also tell  you what agricultural zone you live in.  I don't know.  I haven't gone into this because I'm American and I don't have to know anything I don't want to; particularly if it has to do with geography.  But I'd be willing to bet that if you ask around the old people in town, you can find out these very important facts:

Your soil type - sandy, loamy, duff, clay, what have you.  This knowledge tells you about the ability for water, air and roots to move through your dirt.   You have to know this.

Now ask them, or look it up, or fire a flaming arrow with a message attached through the appropriate window, I don't give a fuck, just FIND OUT WHAT YOUR SOIL PH IS.

This is so important it's like the Virgin Mary of gardening knowledge.  That's a Catholic comparison - analogy thing there.*

So.  Know What Your Soil PH is.  What does PH mean?  Look it up.  This information is super vital information.  Soil ph determines what nutrients your plants can pull out of the soil.  It can also be altered without killing the environment as long as you keep your efforts small.

2.  Know what your climactic zone is. (The Holy Spirit of Gardening.  In case you forgot.)  Our standard of measure in the U.S.A  is called the USDA zone, and it's a suggestion at best given the rapidity of climate change. On paper, I rate a zone 7a.  Bullshit!  In actual fact, I'm a zone 6a.  That is a world of difference, although it sounds small.

Your Zone is an arbitrary number given to the information returned from climactic monitoring.   A Zone is an area that has a reliably stable date of first frost,  lowest winter temperature, and highest summer temperature.

That is your fucking USDA ZONE. 

Now, troops:  What is your zone?  All  together:  A Zone is an area that has a reliably stable date of first frost,  lowest winter temperature, and highest summer temperature.

Your version of the USDA is probably trying the best it can to keep up with shit, but they're probably also a government agency.  This is really important information and you need to get it right, so again, you go by the old people in your area, who will know this stuff all the way back to Tutankhamen. Ask.

3. (The Jesus rule.)  Ask your neighbors and keep records of your seasonal temps and weather.  This doesn't need to be anything more than a little notebook.  Don't rely on the USDA. 20 miles down the road from I live, in a small area that is not only protected by surrounding mountains but has a strong geothermal influence, Deming, WA.   It's a straight up zone 8b-7a.  The locals refer to it as 'The Banana Belt'.  Anyfucking thing will grow there, allowing for the natural acidity of the soil.  Acidity of the soil,  you ask?  Look back at SOIL PH, get that straight, and then get back to me. 

Remember Jesus, the friendly hippie dude?  Be like Jesus.  Be friendly.  Ask around.  You see somebody out in their yard with a shovel, stop and talk.  All gardeners are awesome.  Some are unreasonably violent at random moments, but in between those episodes they are very mellow, friendly people willing to help and give you plants and everything.  Until they chase you around with a machete.  They'll apologize afterward.

Muk gardening truism:  The nuttier the person, the better their garden grows.  

This is absolutely true. 100% all the way true.  Crazy fuckers grow incredible plants.  I've seen this so many times it's just stupid.  Take me for example.  I am crazy as a shithouse rat, and I have a garden that people ask for tours through.  Oh yes. Dead serious.

4. OK This is the God The Father level of your garden!!!  This is literally how it all begins.

In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was 

Would you like to make a nice flower bed? 

Then dig it up and prepare it in the fall before. 


Suggestion:  You could begin a compost heap. (We're still on God the Father, so sit still.  You want to go sit in the baby room with all the little wah wah babies?  No you don't. So quit acting up and be still and pay attention. I mean it.)

Anything made of plants goes into compost heap.  Anything made of meat does not. It's just a pile of old leaves, grass clippings, hedge cuttings, whatever is made out of a plant.  Salad.  Turnips.  Just heap it up and let it rot over winter.  Toss it around like spaghetti a bit with a pitchfork or a shovel a couple of times. Either way, it rots into lovely compost, which is made out of...guess.  No, guess.  OK fine.  Worm shit.  That's called humus.  But it's shit from worms. They do all the work!
And the best part?  It does not smell bad.  It smells sweet, like after it rains.

More Realistic Suggestion:  Get some bagged steer manure from your local big box home center.  Get a bunch.

4.  Now you begin.

Pick out a section of ground, grass and all, and using a garden hose or a rope, line out a nice shape.   Using a garden hose is best.  Make an outline that looks pretty,  and when you get something you like,  turn up turves to mark it -  and then roll up the garden hose and put it away, dump your COMPOST onto that outlined area and  rototill the piss out of it. Cut that organic matter in there!

Now what does this mean, exactly? Imagine a rotary beater working sideways, with knives instead of vanes. That's what a rototiller does, and you get to drive it!  It's cutting all that compost into the dirt and cutting up all the grass and roots and opening up the soil for air to get in, and mixing it all up.  Kickass, huh?  You are whuppin' up on this garden bed situation.

If you use a rototiller, do not wear sandals.  Only Jesus can get away with that.  The man wears a thorn garland, kids; he's cold steel.  You are not.

So. If you have a rototiller, fantastic.  If you can rent one, bitchin'.   If you don't, you can do this with a shovel, pray God you have sandy loam soil, because it's easy to dig.  I have blue clay overlaid with a six inch layer of ancient, pure decomposed plant material and duck crap - an ionic black sediment that is like crack for plants. For that matter, so is the blue clay substrate.  (I live on what was a shallow lake back in the late 1800s.)

Any way you can get that compost in there, and that sod broken up, and that soil aerated, you go for it.  And then?

Leave it lay there for the rest of the winter.     

Let it get rained on and frozen and snowed on and all that winter shit.  Let your soil get good.  It needs to mix around, like stew, wake up those fungus-mushroom-mychorhyzae and relationships and worms and microorganisms and oogy things going oog oog through your soil, and just let them play around and swap spit and poop and so forth all winter long inside that rototilled shape you made. Leave it alone.  All winter long.

5.  Next Spring.  Throw another load of compost on there and scuffle it in with a rake.  This is assuming you have nice loamy soft soil.

(Me?  Oh hell no.  I had to dig  4 ft. deep basins, deal?  Like shallow ponds!  In wet clay!  And I used tarps to pile up all the removed soil on.  I dug out the whole shape, not just a hole here and a hole there.  The whole fuckin' thing.  Multiple beds 4 feet deep, on four city lots.  My arms literally burst the seams of my t-shirts when I flex my biceps from doing this shit.  Am I bad?  I can change your tires without using a jack, baby.  Fear this.

Our awesome little town has it' own compost heap.  They even chip the vegetative debris, which made me skippity happy like a little girl. I went and asked could I raid the pile and they looked at me and fell down and kissed my feet and cried with joy, would I take some?  Take it ALL!  They really said that!  So I took that raw, uncomposted plant material home by the truckload and dumped all this undifferentiated new and old squack from the city compost heap - huge branches, leaves, grass clippings, anything that didn't have striped moon snails in it - into the bottom in an even layer, and then it was built back up in layers.  Soil, then squack, then more soil, then more squack, then more soil.

I was much, much younger then.  Would I do that today FUCK NO. But it worked like a charm.)

So, where were we?  Oh yes, standing outside in the early Springtime, getting rained on, scuffling some finished compost into the top layer of your bed-to-be.  You can buy this stuff, like I said, but I use something different.  I live in farm country. I add what  a farmer down the road supplies me with, for free...a magic substance, aged, composted, light as a feather, easy as pie to work with... called 'Lagoonage'.

Remember this word.  Dairy farmers have it. Cow farmers have it.  They are crying to find someone to take it away because it's a nuisance to them.  They will give it to you.  For FREE. It is...


It's the solids they skim off of liquefied cowshit and pile aside so they can use the plain nastyass shit liquid to spray on their fields and ruin your whole day, nasally.  Cows don't digest everything they eat, and those solids are just about the best thing going to put in your soil, and to put on top of your soil as well.  It has a neutral PH (oh Goddammit, there's that fuckin' scientific term again. Look it up. SUFFER.)   As it degrades over time, it releases a whole complex of different organisms, fungi, microbes and trace minerals into the soil whenever it rains, or you water, or life and time just happen.  It is magic from a cows butthole.

All this rotted  plant material helps to lighten - open up - the soil structure.  There is no soil that cannot benefit from this treatment.  You need to get some actual OXYGEN in there along with the old plant material so that the breakdown and decomp will  continue, and as it does all that decomposing and breaking down it is also releasing lots of different minerals and compounds into the soil, and that makes the little bugly organism wormy dudes happy, and they poop out humus.  Decomposition and breakdown works much better and faster with oxygen, though. It keeps your worms and bugly buddies happy, and the tardigrades rejoicing.  You use your shovel for this, or a rake even.  Just toss in a shovel of lagoonage and scuffle a shovel of dirt over it.  Very good exercise, light and pleasant, and it will give you the pecs of a young god.

There are other things you can use in place of lagoonage, of course.  Some places sell sewage solids, which is not as gross as it sounds although  it's supposed to be high in  heavy metals, like lead and shit.  I don't know.   You can use feedlot manure, chicken shit, maple leaves...good Lord; you're online!  Look up your region!  Go on Daves Garden.Com and look up what other people in your area are using for organic compost!  I'm not your mother!

So assuming you did all this, which is not as hard as it sounds given a rototiller and/or light soil structure...?


Get ready for this one.  Loosen up.  Do some stretches.  No more bourbon on your Captain Crunch.
Using a hand mirror, ensure that you have no catarrh nor any fantods.

I mean it.  This next part is metaphysical!  Gardening is sacred!  This  shit will blow you away if you aren't in tune with the Earth vibration!  NOW  comes the spiritual constituent!  This is where pure mind meets simple soil and the body of Christ digs up old tree roots and pieces of cement!


You got four heavenly important people going on in Catholicism:

a.The Virgin Mary.

 Everybody loves her. No matter what you've up to, She'll just shrug and say "You know what, you be you, baby."  She knows how bad you feel when you do wrong.  She'll give you a hug and a kiss and put a bandaid on your spiritual pain  The Virgin Mary is really, really nice and all kinds of happening.

b. The Holy Spirit.

This is some deep stuff going on.
Nobody quite knows what the Holy Spirit is, but it's important.  They usually show it as a lovely white dove all spread out with sometimes a halo or a circle of glowing rays coming from it.  It's...just important.  It's like what Godliness feels like inside you.  Now, I would have come up with a better analogy that a flying rat, but they did this in the old days.  It is meant to convey a butterfly feeling of joy and love and cosmic union with Universal Godhood and Goodness. 
I told you it was heavy.

c.  Jesus

Now see, even though he's supposed to be the Big Kahuna, the Word made Flesh, God in Man, this is where he lands on the scale of Catholic Importance.

 Here's how to tell if you've partied with Jesus:  He's a white guy, very friendly looking, with long brown hair, a well-kept beard and moustache, and he's wearing a long white nightgown kind of thing with a belt, and sandals.  Like Spock in Star Trek 4:  The Voyage Home. Spock wore a white headband.  But Jesus is Metal as All Get Out.  Jesus wears a wreath made of horrifying thorny vines that jam way into his head with blood coming down all on his face. 
If he's wearing any headgear at all, this is what he prefers. 
Also sometimes he's wearing his heart on the outside of his clothes!  Seriously!  And with fire spouting from the top of his heart, thorny vines all wrapped around his actual heart organ, poked into it and making it bleed.  And he always has this loving, gentle expression on his face while he indicates his bleeding, tore-up outside heart with flames shooting out of the top of it out on the front of his clothes, which you got to admit is quite notably Hardcore Metal As All Get Out.
 But think about it:   if Jesus is that hardcore, imagine how rad God the Father is!

d. God the Father

He is majestic.  He is mysterious.  He is The Capo di Tutti Capo.

You piss him off, he will smite you.
 That's what he does. 
You don't get a whap on the hind end. No.  Fire will rain out of the sky and blood will be all in the water and people will turn into salt. 

The guy simply does not mess around when he's doing some smiting. It's best not to piss him off. Now, that said, it takes a lot of bullshit going on for a long time before he gets to the point where he says 'That's it, I'm going to smite you" and floods the whole earth. 

He does cool things too, like make water flow out of bare rock, and create the whole Earth and planets and stars and the entire UNIVERSE.  He is so magnificent they don't even show him most of the time!  There'll be some glowing huge amazing cloud with angels and shit all around it, pretty winged youths,flying babies, flying babyheads, the whole schmeer, with rays coming out of the cloud all done in gold leaf.  I know Michelangelo painted him as an old , yet buff, flying guy in a nice lavender undershirt, but after that everyone figured 'That was Michelangelo!  Who's gonna follow that act?" so they went with the Glowing Cloud of Almighty God the Father and Assorted Winged Beings.  He is the guy who does all the heavy lifting behind the scenes, the Author of All.  And what was the first thing he did for mankind?

Gave us a garden to live in.

If your theology differs, I don't care. I'm an agnostic now.