Saturday, June 25, 2011
The Bane of My Existence and a Song For Paco
To say that something or someone is "the bane of my existence" means
that the person or thing is a constant irritant or source of misery.
As a cliché, "bane of my existence" has lost its edge to a large
degree over the years, and today is most often applied to something
that may profoundly annoy us but is certainly bearable... "Bane of my
existence" is now almost always used in a semi-jocular, "what are you
gonna do?" sense.
But "bane" was once a very serious word. The Old English "bana" meant
literally "slayer" in the sense we now use "killer" or "murderer."
Early on, the English "bane" was also used in the more general sense
of "cause of death," and by the 14th century "bane" was used in the
specialized sense of "poison," a sense which lives on in the names of
various poisonous plants such as "henbane" and "wolfbane."
From this very literal "something that kills you" usage, "bane" by the
16th century had broadened into its modern meaning of "something that
makes life unpleasant, a curse." (Google)
Yea, verily, this is true. I have spent the last three hours digging henbane out of our "garden" (we loosely define garden here at Weed Nursery Acres as an enclosed place which starts out as mostly dirt and rocks and ends up as weeds and rocks). This henbane reared its ugly head last summer out in the then llama pasture. A little research told us it was an opium of sorts and would result in hallucinations if smoked. We refrained from smoking it, but we also refrained from doing anything else to it. My thinking (which is hazy at best) was that the henbane was the result of a very very very wet spring. Temporary. End of discussion. Enter Spring 2011. Wettest, coldest, L-O-N-G-E-S-T spring in the history of modern civilization. When spring finally arrived last WEEK for cotton pickin's sake!!!!!!!!!! the henbane had literally taken over our world!!!! I fully expected to find it growing out of Mugsy's ears!! Yesterday I put in an emergency call to the Brrrrrr Lake Weed Control Commission (whom I had heard rumored at my knitting group would prescribe treatment or better still make a house/farm call!!!). But as I am so wont to do, I got up at the crack this morning and took shovel in hand. Knowing full well that my morning's activity could very well land me in a body brace, I tackled the task nevertheless.
Yesterday I crawled over the fence into the alpaca pasture. Now, this is where the bane has pulled out ALL stops. It grows in sort of a swirl pattern--thick thick thick. But then it sends out runners (missionaries, if you will) to test the soil elsewhere--thus the garden infestation. I found one plant about the size of a fifth grader growing by the water trough. Oh, that I had a video of THAT effort...From what I could best deduce after 30 minutes of digging under the trough, the root on that BEAST is somewhere out in Bennington!!!!! I never did find it. All I could do was leave a mangled and aptly cursed fifth grader-sized plant lying on its side--root still entact. Henbane-10, Madhadder-0.
Oh, by the way Happy 13th Wedding Anniversary to Madhadder and Paco. Paco is keeping cool in Tempe's 110 HELLHOLE today writing lesson plans for pint-sized summer school captives, and I am cleaning the sty I call home and gearing up for girls' camp. Do you think they'd send me home from girls' camp if I brought along some henbane to try out???