Banks County Opinions...

MAY 15, 2002


The Banks County News
May 15, 2002

Plenty to do in Banks County this weekend
Banks Countians shouldn’t have to travel far this weekend to find something to do.
An Armed Forces Day, an art show and a town festival are among the plans this weekend.
Armed Forces Day will be held in Homer Veterans Park at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 18. The event is being held to “celebrate those who are serving and those who have served,” according to leaders.
As Memorial Day approaches, it is very fitting that an Armed Forces Day be observed. We all need to continue to honor and remember those who serve our country.
An old-time country festival is always a good chance to bring a community together and an annual celebration is coming up.
The 26th annual Lula Railroad Days Festival will be held Friday and Saturday. This annual event is one that brings Lula townspeople and visitors from throughout the area together.
The weekend will end with an art show on Sunday at the Banks County Public Library. Many local artists from the Northeast Georgia area are represented.
Visitors will be able to meet the artists, see their work and learn what inspires them.


By: Shar Porier
he Banks County News
May 15, 2002

Getting to the root of the matter
As I surveyed the “garden,” now a vast patch of out-of-control-weeds, mint and the ground-cover “plant-from-hell” a friend gave me, I saw what would be a few hundred thousand burned calories.
I had just read an article that said one could burn up so-many calories by weeding. That sounded more fun than sit-ups, leg lifts and the other exercises I’d have to do for 30 minutes to burn 100 calories.
Hmmm… I could just weed the garden; plant veggies, herbs and flowers and have fresh food to eat and pretty blossoms to attract the butterflies and hummingbirds and have a constant source of exercise.
“Cool,” I thought. “How healthy.”
I had always had a garden since moving to Georgia. Three years ago, the garden was beautiful. Lovely herb and flower gardens, rose beds, bean plots, rows of corn, cukes, watermelons and cantaloupes. All the plots were neatly laid out. Landscape fabric covered with a backbreaking eight inches of wood chips on the walkways. Drip hoses lined the rows.
Then came the drought. Being on a well I decided to use water from the spring-fed pond to water the garden. Then the spring dried up. Then the pond.
Needless to say, that year was a disaster. I felt for the farmers.
When predictions for the continuation of the drought came the next year and the next, I decided to forego a garden.
Standing there I recalled the misery of watching the garden die. But, I thought, this year it’s not just the garden, it’s the exercise. The urge had hit me and taken root, so to speak.
In spite of the awesome task that lay before me, all I could think of was those calories. Besides, we were having a lot of rain. Maybe this would be a good year?
I planned my strategy of attack. Do so much every day - just a couple of hours. I prepared my supplies. I bought a new hoe, rake, shovel and gloves.
I started with the “plant-from-hell.” PFH for short. I don’t know what it is called. It’s actually rather pretty. Soft, long, sage green leaves on stalks that grow about a foot high. A friend had given me two plants a few years back. Those two plants had taken over a third of the garden. They were in the iris bed, in the tiger lilies, in the wood mulch. The landscape fabric did not stop it. It just grew through it with thin threads of roots.
Then I tackled the herb bed. I pulled up the fabric that was supposed to stop weeds and found the chips had turned into a wonderful compost. The ground ivy had spread across it in a thick mat of tiny roots, as had the PFH and the mint. I shook out all the dirt I could and began my “weed” pile.
I cleared about an eight-foot square.
Feeling pretty good about my accomplishment, I went ahead and transplanted garlic and chives and put in new sage, parsley, rosemary and basil.
Over the next few days, I planted a few marigolds, petunias and other things filling in the herb bed. It was looking good.
I decided against the hassle of the attractive wood chip paths and decided to leave paths tillable. Let the roto-tiller do it all. I could still burn those calories.
But now, however, burning calories didn’t mean as much as ridding my garden of that PFH.
It was war. Those darn roots went everywhere.
I cleared the iris bed and the tiger lilies. I left a few remaining PFH in a small area. I’ll just keep weeding them out as they spread.
Day after day I continued clearing. I’ve got to be burning them calories, I thought.
I had some artichokes to plant, so I started a new bed. Digging brought up more of those darn roots. Thread by thread I pulled them from the soil. The weed pile was growing.
The artichokes went in along with a cuke and more marigolds.
I dug a plot for snap beans, pulled up all those pesky tiny roots, and planted the seeds.
Moving on to another area that was more shaded, I wanted to clear a spot to move my hostas out from under the oak-leaf hydrangea that had spread magnificently.
While digging, I encountered this root. What kind of root it was I don’t know. I pulled and it started coming up. I pulled again, exposing a good six feet, but that wasn’t the end of it. I gave it another yank. A hard yank. It gave loose and I ended up flat on my back landing upon my garden trowel. “Owww!”
As I stood up, moaning, I looked at the course of the root. All my freshly planted bean seeds were now out of the ground and a new furrow had been made by the removal of this root. Somehow I had not tilled deep enough to pull this one up. I had planted the beans right on top of its path.
My curiosity was now aroused. It was now a good 15 feet and still going. Just how long was this thing? Where did it end? Over the next hour, I dug and pulled and dug and pulled. It continued the entire length of the garden and under the pile of wood chips. This should be worth a few hundred calories, I hoped.
It ended at the pond 55 feet away from the point of discovery. And there is where I learned what it was. It was not a pleasant revelation.
Eeeekkkk! It was poison ivy.
I tried to remember what parts of my body I had touched. Did I wipe my forehead? Did I swipe at a bug somewhere? My gloves were soaked from perspiration. Panic set in. Did the juice get me?
Fussing about the person who wrote the article about weeding and burning calories, I raced to the house and jumped in the tub. Nothing was worth an outbreak of poison ivy! I hate that stuff.
I looked for any signs of the spots that would mean it got me. Nothing on my legs or arms, nothing on my face. Just the bruise from landing on my shovel handle, which I began to notice was rather painful.
As night fell, I continued my vigil. Nothing. No itchy spots. Whew!
Somehow, I escaped the itchy wrath of the disturbed root. I was glad I had chosen not to chop the thing and pull it out in pieces.
It taught me that getting to the root of things may seem important, but it’s best to be prepared for what you may encounter at the end.
Shar Porier is a reporter for The Banks County News.

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