Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Confessions of a weed-aholic

Lest any more people think I am really nicer than I am, I need to confess that I am a weed-aholic! THERE, I have stated the truth.

Each day I sweep the street to the corner and pluck up any new weeds as I pass the weed lot on my return. I get a little exercise and take in the early morning air. The bit of community connection has also been rather satisfying.

When I was growing up, my dad had a beautiful rose garden. I loved working outside  and weeding better than the ironing, darning socks, and baby sitting, and weeding was a great excuse.

When my kids were small and we lived in NJ, I used to go out to the yard with them when they played and rather than spread chemicals on the lawn, I pulled weeds. When they played with neighbors, I chatted with other mothers and pulled weeds ... even in their yards.

When Nikko came to live with us in Suginami, I took her to the park every morning to run with other dogs for 30 minutes or so ... and while she was playing, I looked at the weeds.

The park was along the Zempuku-ji river that often overflowed during typhoons. The city was buying out property along the river as people moved. They tore down the houses and leveled the ground, then planted sod like one might see on a golf course. Then, they fenced the area off and it all went to weeds. When the weeds got tall, they came in and mowed them off, leaving the cut grass rotting on top of the sod and killing what the weeds didn't take. I have to admit, it was very hard to watch.

Then, at one point they put a low rope instead of a fence and I began to step over and pull the weeds as they came up. What a difference that made! When the grass was mowed, I picked up the clippings, loaded them into my tricycle basket and took them for disposal with the garden debris.

Nikko played and I pulled weeds. People walking by were curious, wondering what I was doing .
The park belonged to the CITY so why was I pulling weeds? Well ... look at the part the city is taking care of... If you come for flower-viewing, where would you prefer to sit? We are the city and we will have the park we deserve. And ... believe it or not, from time to time some of those passing people would bend over and pull a weed.

Now six or seven years have passed since we moved away. Nikko and I visit the park once or twice a year while my car is undergoing inspection. The place she is sitting in the picture above is about the size of a basketball court. Last year it looked pretty good but now the weeds are beginning to come back. You can see where, I pulled a few in front, that the real grass is still alive but I doubt it can keep up with the weeds with no real help.

I did note on my way through the park, two workers pulling weeds along the river and loading them into a wheelbarrow.

Notice the grass in this picture is fairly well kept.

Meanwhile, I am living now in Nerima without my daily dose of weeding ... and being a true addict ... I have a difficult time just walking to the train station.

Several times a day I walk past this crabgrass growing in front of one family's gate.

I see that now it is in bloom and soon it will be tossing seeds to the wind. As an addict, it takes all my power to walk past and leave these weeds here. Maybe in the dark of night I will gather that bunch and give it a yank.

Here is another doorstep two houses down. These weeds are even harder to deal with because they send out roots as they spread.

The house across the street from this one is fighting weeds and finally spread a plastic sheet on the ground as a solution.

We also have several vine-type weeds that take over bushes and are getting ready to bloom. I can't stop walking past these weeds so I solve the problem by either reading while walking  ... or now that my chatelaine has progressed into usefulness, stitching blocks together...

Button holes was a better solution than grommets.

I used a knitting stitch holder to add the thread and a folded piece of felt for needles and a few pins.

The scissors are on a ribbon with a button. I thought I had a smaller pair of scissors but have not been able to locate them. Well, I found two smaller pairs but they were not as sharp as I like.

I don't use scissors very often while travelling and can switch these out with my "Clover" disc cutter ... much less dangerous looking and for cutting thread it is enough.

Today I took out my container of hot pads to see how large a pocket I might need to put at the neck. The small size is 9 cm. x 5.5 cm. so it should fit nicely. Even the larger size is 13.5 x 10 cm and a pocket that size might hold the whole piece. Well, this is a slowly evolving project and may even be enough to distract my attention from the passing weeds.

So, now you know the rest of the story!


  1. I'm not an addict ..but.. I would rather be outside in the garden than inside doing housework!! We have gates at both ends of the back entry behind our houses I make a point of keeping down weeds in my "area" and also for the house opposite ... I itch to do the others as they look such a mess .. but .. it is the neigbour's bit of land x some do clear the weeds and it looks great ,, but others! ah well! I suppose if they all cleared up there would be no seeds scattered to make new for me to pull up x good job we are not all the same xx

  2. keep pulling those weeds, I don't remember or didn't know you lived in NJ where?

  3. I enjoyed reading your weed story! It is good that you are caring.
    Lovely to see your progress on the chatelaine.

  4. Well said. We do get the city we deserve. I like pulling weeds but need to remember to bring gloves and a trash bag.

  5. I leave all the weeding to my sister-in-law! Your chatelaine is turning you into a non-weeding stitcher on the run!

  6. I so enjoyed your weed stories and your Chatelaine is fabulous.

  7. I hate using chemicals in my yard or garden and I do weed by hand, though they get the better of me, these days. I have a tool that I can slide back and forth in the dirt to get the weeds up so that helps, but I still have to get down to get the ones close to the plants.


  8. Do consider coming to my house every couple of weeks to pull weeds. I'm sure if you were with me I'd find the energy to join you! And what do you do about all the chiggers and mosquitoes that swarm in the minute they smell sweat? Even dousing myself in bug spray, they still get me! That's my excuse for not weeding and believe me we have a lot of weeds! Maybe you'd better not come after all... you'd begin to feel faint seeing all the yard work that needs to be done!

  9. I think that's a good addict to have, I or at least my friend would love if I had that addict, love your chatelaine

  10. I have lots of weeds you are welcome to pull. Since I don't grow plants well, I just leave the weeds, since they grow all by themselves.

  11. Hi Julie! I enjoyed your story and to see beautiful Nikko! We got today First rain after many months and weeds enjoy that! Greetings from GREECE! Teje