Outdoors

Bamboozled

The joy of winter gardening

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

It was getting toward noon on the first Saturday after Christmas, and I didn’t quite know what to do with myself.

Pondering an imminent departure from deep within the luxurious embrace of our sun-drenched kitchen nook, I was bemused to observe an unruly mob of spirited crows that had converged in the crowns of some prominent fir trees behind the alley.

Switching expeditiously out of my slippers into a pair of operative yard shoes, I popped out our back door with binoculars and headed toward the most advantageous bird-watching position at the south-facing prow of our raised cedar deck.  

Although I failed to identify any discernable impetus for the corvid kerfuffle, it only took a few perilous slips and slides across our algae-coated floorboards to jumpstart me into a rigorous course of labor-intensive maintenance activities.

With garden hose at the ready, a jug full of environmentally safe cleansing agent at my side and a heavy-duty bristle brush fused to my right hand, I spent the lion’s share of the next couple hours scouring and swabbing until the lion’s share of our living space was sufficiently denuded of chloroplasts and rendered suitable for extended wet-weather conditions.

On a typical Saturday, an unassisted de-mossing of this caliber would have sufficed as a worthy enough accomplishment on its own. 

However, this time, instead of retreating back inside for a nice, long nap, I was compelled to take utmost advantage of the latest rare sun break and bring my most prized Christmas present of the season outside for a field test before the dark clouds returned and started dumping buckets again.

Performing variable branch-cutting experiments with shiny new hand pruners—featuring a contoured rolling handle and a modified cam mechanism—might not be every nature lover’s idea of an afternoon well spent. But once you become locked in a ferocious tit-for-tat struggle to prevent a small army of aggressive woody plants from perpetually overgrowing their allotted bed space and seizing control of your yard, as they tend to do through all four seasons around here, it feels like a hedge trimmer’s paradise.  

Within a couple minutes, I was tits-deep in a burgeoning clump of unruly bamboo, gleefully wielding steel blades to eliminate droopy limbs and extraneous canes by the score. 

Stimulated by the responsiveness of my versatile new tool, I soon found myself engaged in a progressive flurry of calculated gymnastic-like movements that allowed me to unleash enhanced pruning power upon the deepest interior portions of each successive shaggy green beast I tackled.

Dusky light was fading and a cold drizzle was falling when the Lady of the House cracked the door open and reminded me to secure the chicken coop for the night.

“What happened?” she asked as I came limping in damp and blistered to the dinner table an hour later.

“I won the battle,” I said. “But the bamboo ate my pruners. So that means anywhere between our forsythia bush and the limelight hydrangea is still contested country.”

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A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Wild Things

9:30am|Lake Padden Park

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Books and Bites

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Winter Herbal Tonics Class

5:30pm|Chuckanut Center

Family Story Night

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Paddling With Spirits

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Stand in the Corner

7:00pm|Bow Corner Pub

Beauty and the Beast

7:00pm|BAAY Theater

Tanya Tomkins and Tamara Friedman

7:00pm|Croatian Cultural Center

The Curious Savage

7:00pm|Alger Community Church

Contest of Crowns

7:30pm|ACT Annex

Sweet Honey in the Rock

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Singing truth to power

7:30pm

Space Trek

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

The Revolutionists

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Tomorrow
A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Paddling With Spirits

6:00pm

Beauty and the Beast

7:00pm|BAAY Theater

The Curious Savage

7:00pm|Alger Community Church

Contest of Crowns

7:30pm|ACT Annex

The Revolutionists

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Space Trek

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

Martin Luther King, Jr. Human Rights Conference

8:30am|Whatcom Community College

WNPS Field Trip

9:00am|Larrabee Park

Winter Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Gluten- and Dairy-Free Cooking

10:00am|Blaine Library

Skagit Eagle Festival

10:00am

Your Life is a Story Writers Group

10:30am|South Whatcom Library

Propagating Perennials

11:00am|Christianson's Nursery

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Womxn's March

11:00am|Bellingham City Hall

Seed Swap, Barter Fair and Skillshare

12:00pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Camera Unobscura Workshop

1:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

Bird Smarts

2:00pm|Everson Library

Discovering Sherry Tasting

2:00pm| Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants

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2:00pm

Rising Above the Pain

4:00pm|Village Books

Sunrise Night of Music

6:00pm|Maple Hall

Blue Abode Comedy Showcase

7:00pm|Blue Abode Bar

Whatcom Wind Ensemble Winter Concert

7:00pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

Patsy Cline Tribute Concert

7:00pm|Magnolia Grill Hall

Hot Club of Troy

7:00pm|Walton Theatre

Space Trek

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Salsa Night

9:30pm|Cafe Rumba

Sunday
A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

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7:00pm|Alger Community Church

Beauty and the Beast

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Deep Forest Experience

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7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Sedro-Woolley Community Breakfast

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