The weather here is definitely not spring-like today. It seems that nature is playing games with us. Spring. Not Spring. Spring. Oh wait, now Winter! The weather is not going according to game plan. But if there is one constant in this Spring Or Not season, it is my nemesis…the Wild Cucumber. The Wild Cucumber is all to happy to play along with the game plan much to my chagrin.
It may rain, it may drop down to the 40s, it may even slightly snow (which it did by the way) and the Wild Cucumber will still send up its sprouts in spades. And I have to pluck those puppies out one at a time before they grow into healthy, flowering, budding and seeding vines that smother the trees and render small creatures helpless. That last part is a slight exaggeration because I have yet to see the vines entangle any of our barn cats. But it could happen if the cats stood still long enough. Say 5 seconds. Wild Cucumber is that aggressive and fast growing. Which is why I’m out there plucking the darn things for an hour each day for about 2 or 3 weeks.
Yum. Don’t they look mighty tasty? Like something you’d add to your salad? Nope. Don’t do it. I’m so angry at them that I have other nefarious plans for them. Plus, I don’t know about them in the sprout stage, but when they become vines they do smell delicious but will give you a good old-fashioned tummy ache. My plans do not involve that. So what I’ve been doing these past two weeks is walking through the hot spots and plucking them out which often times means flattening myself down and doing a belly crawl through the treeline bordering our property to catch each and every one of those sneaky little buggers. The interesting thing about belly-crawling through the treeline is that I’m seeing how quite pretty it is in there. There’s a lovely carpet of green low-lying foliage that I’ve never noticed before, and little bunny trails quietly winding their way through the woods. The other day, when I was once again eye-level with the ground, I noticed a unique group of foliage poking up from the pine needles, all bent in the wind with precision. I wondered what they were and how they managed to bend in such perfect conformity.
I spent a few seconds belly-pondering this unusual foliage when I finally got a clue. The wind isn’t blowing. So why are they bending? They look a little too uniform. Now I’m suspicious. So I reached out and found that the foliage was actually…
…a perfectly disguised vintage hand garden cultivator! I guess it’s been there so long that it has taken on one of nature’s attributes, that of disguising itself within its environment to avoid detection. It worked pretty well. So I dug it out. And marveled at its organic design. Here is where form + function + art meet up to produce a fully working tool. It’s a thing of functional beauty.
I just love how the tines curve up and blossom into a lovely leaf shape.
I wonder how much the designer of this tool took that into consideration. I believe a true craftsman would. Back in the day, before tools were mass-produced in a hurry to fill shelves, I can imagine someone sitting at his or her draft table, and carefully sketching out a functional tool while incorporating an organically beautiful design. It is a subtle nod to the Art Deco movement pared down and successfully translated into a basic garden tool design.
Or perhaps the artist in me is reading too much into it. But it’s undeniably a thing of beauty. If you like rusty, old things. Which I do. And begs the question, what do I do with it now? A coat rack would be obvious. But I think I may want to simply let it hang on its own merit, and let its floral delicacy shine. Any ideas?
Meanwhile, perhaps you’re wondering what happened to that Wild Cucumber that I’ve been spending so much time plucking and picking. Like I said, I had nefarious plans. And it involves the young steers. In an hour and I can pluck a bucket. And rather than toss them, they make for a nice, healthy snack for the young’uns.
Eat up little guys, there’s more coming.
Yeah, they like it. And so do I. It’s called sweet Wild Cucumber revenge. Spring on.