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Journal American Rhododendron Society

Current Editor:
Dr. Glen Jamieson ars.editor@gmail.com


Volume 42, Number 3
Summer 1988

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Tips From Tom...Summer Dangers
Dr. Tom Mentum, DDT As told to Bob Minnich, Puyallup, Washington

Reprinted from the Tacoma Chapter Newsletter

        This article is devoted to advice concerning some of the lesser known hazards lurking in the garden. Two incidents that I shall relate have impressed upon me the importance of wearing goggles (some say I should be wearing a helmet) and the third event concerns the importance of socks.
        A portion of my garden is watered by a gravity-fed system in which the water collects from a spring in a barrel and travels by pipe downhill to the garden. Apparently one morning a slug fell, leapt or was pushed into the tank and sucked down the pipe. The end of his trip coincided with the moment I was moving an upright sprinkler. (I never bother to turn the hose off when I move sprinklers.) In milliseconds the twirling head of the micro-sprinkler had vaporized said slug and my mug was sprayed with Mother Nature's equivalent of teflon and WD-40 combined. Goggles could have saved my eyeballs from a lube job.
        Then there's Tom's mother. Tom's mother loves her weed eater. She seems to unleash her aggression with that machine, slaying all that lies before her. One day she spied a patch of untidy turf just begging to be laid low and in she waded. Unfortunately, Babette, the neighbor's Great Dane hybrid, had waded in sometime just before. Babette was no longer there but a reminder was. You should see what two tiny nylon threads, whirling at 60,000 rpm, can throw. Goggles, better yet a full face mask, could have averted some of the shock (and the language).
        Finally, a word about wearing open-toed slippers in the garden. Lettie Hathaway, a longtime member and former Book Chairman of our Chapter, stopped by to visit the other day. Lettie has pulled up stakes and moved to Lummi Island.
        Just after rising one morning she thought to check something in the pump house at the end of the garden path. She was still in her nightgown and wearing open-toed slippers. Not yet fully awake, she shuffled down the grassy path and snagged a garter snake between her piggy-that-went-to-market and the one that stayed home. Her immediate response to recoil in horror only caused her toes to clench the snake tighter. She couldn't bring herself to touch it, yet her toes were paralyzed in a clamped shut position as she attempted to kick it loose. The snake was thoroughly alarmed too, being suddenly set upon and strangled by two aliens, and was writhing and flipping about trying to escape, while Lettie whooped and kicked. Finally, as the war dance continued around the garden, the snake broke loose and flew off over the bean trellis.
        Lettie said that she had always wondered if, in a dire situation, she could scream, and she now has set those doubts aside. When she finally made it to the pump house she paused and realized she was still making little e-e-eeeking noises as she gasped.
        Them that snag snakes Tween their toes in their haste, Make terrible mistakes. Wear hose, 'oer your toes.


Volume 42, Number 3
Summer 1988

DLA Ejournal Home | JARS Home | Table of Contents for this issue | Search JARS and other ejournals