Wednesday, July 04, 2012 • 6:41 PM Comments ()

Life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

posted by Caleb Rounds

In these officially if not philosophically united (adj) states (n, not proper), we have several “founding documents.” Amongst these, the two most often quoted are the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. To your average Joe (six-pack, plumber or both), the difference is somewhat academic. That is to say, not worth knowing. To Scalia and his ill-k, the Constitution as written and intended is what really matters. It goes without saying, that he knows what was intended and you probably don’t (at least if you disagree with him).
Yet the line I’ve quoted above resonates with all of us and we pretty much know what it means. For many it typifies what we do to celebrate the day the declaration was nominally signed.
Some neighbors played in the pool (loudly). It sounded lovely and cool.
Some gathered around the blue glow of their living room entertainment system in air-conditioned comfort.
The boss and one of our boarders (indigent) went shopping, took a long nap then went swimming.
Many cooked on grills and drank beer (lucky).
All of these represent good ways to pursue happiness.
Some folks had to work. I would wager that for most of the people who had to work on the fourth of July, this was no pursuit of happiness.
I weeded and it was great. It sounds like work, but it’s not so bad. True, I had a bout of near heat exhaustion, but after plenty of water I headed back for more. I take many measures to hold weeds at bay. First I plant in four foot wide raised beds. This allows for closer planting spaces so that when the plants are big enough I don’t have as much trouble. Second, I mulch like the dickens. This helps a lot, but mulch breaks down and weeds persist. Third, I hit weeds early when I can take them out with a sharp shooter hoe.
Today, I took the day off and girded my loins as if for war (apparently, gird your loins means to tie up loose garments that might trip you). There are a few especially nasty weeds that have designs on my garden.
Bindweed and ground ivy
The ground ivy is more of a nuisance really, because once plants are established it really doesn’t bother them. The bindweed though is a horrific blight upon the land. It crawls up my fence, strangles my raspberries, binds my onions and laughs at the mulch. Worse still, it has spread a great deal since I have moved in.
I have to admit that the flowers are awfully pretty. Once it sets seeds though, you’ll have a wretched time getting rid of it. I do everything I can to prevent that, but bindweed is a Convolvulaceae just like morning glory and makes lots of flowers. My main goal in this war is preventing it from flowering. The seeds can remain dormant for thirty years. It can also easily sprout from even the tiniest fragment of root. I’m going to be fighting this for awhile.
But I was originally talking about happiness. Weeding the garden gives me some measure of control over something. I may or may not have inherited some controlling tendencies, but those around me refuse to do what I tell them, so killing weeds is what I’ve got. It makes me happy. So to celebrate independence, I killed weeds.

In these officially if not philosophically united (adj) states (n, not proper), we have several “founding documents.” Amongst these, the two most often quoted are the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. To your average Joe (six-pack, plumber, or both), the difference is somewhat academic. That is to say, not worth knowing. To Scalia and his ill-k, the Constitution as written and intended is what really matters. It goes without saying, that he knows what was intended and you probably don’t (at least if you disagree with him).

Yet the line I’ve used as today's title resonates with all of us and we pretty much know what it means. For many it typifies what we do to celebrate the day the declaration was nominally signed.

Some neighbors played in the pool (loudly). It sounded lovely and cool.

Some gathered around the blue glow of their living room entertainment system in air-conditioned comfort.

The boss and one of our boarders (indigent) went shopping, took a long nap then went swimming.

Many cooked on grills and drank beer (lucky).

All of these represent good ways to pursue happiness.

Some folks had to work. I would wager that for most of the people who had to work on the fourth of July, this was no pursuit of happiness.

I weeded and it was great. It sounds like work, but it’s not so bad. True, I had a bout of near heat exhaustion, but after plenty of water I headed back for more. I take many measures to hold weeds at bay. First I plant in four foot wide raised beds. This allows for closer planting spaces so that when the plants are big enough I don’t have as much trouble. Second, I mulch like the dickens. This helps a lot, but mulch breaks down and weeds persist. Third, I hit weeds early when I can take them out with a sharp-shooter hoe.

Today, I took the day off and girded my loins as if for war (apparently, "gird your loins" means to tie up loose garments that might trip you). There are a few especially nasty weeds that have designs on my garden: bindweed and ground ivy.

(picuture from UMass extension of ground ivy)

The ground ivy is more of a nuisance really, because once plants are established it really doesn’t bother them. The bindweed though is a horrific blight upon the land. It crawls up my fence, strangles my raspberries, binds my onions and laughs at the mulch. Worse still, it has spread a great deal since I have moved in.

(again picture from UMass extension)

I have to admit that the flowers are awfully pretty -it is after all closely related to morning glory. Once it sets seeds though, you’ll have a wretched time getting rid of it. I do everything I can to prevent that, but bindweed is a Convolvulaceae just like morning glory and makes lots of flowers. My main goal in this war is preventing it from flowering. The seeds can remain dormant for thirty years. It can also easily sprout from even the tiniest fragment of root. I’m going to be fighting this for awhile.

But I was originally talking about happiness. Weeding the garden gives me some measure of control over something. I may or may not have inherited some controlling tendencies, but those around me refuse to do what I tell them, so killing weeds is what I’ve got. It makes me happy. So to celebrate independence, I killed weeds and it felt good.

good website: http://extension.umass.edu/vegetable/weeds/bindweed-field

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