Friday, August 7, 2009

Battle of the Crabgrass


Well, all in all life is good. I was not feeling too good several weeks ago, and I have to blame it on one of Mother Nature's peskier weeds.

I've never had an encounter with asthma until recently, and I feel really sorry for anyone who has to deal with it on a regular basis. Not being able to breathe well is awful...

Anyone who reads this blog knows I like to bicycle, in fact I like to bicycle a lot. And breathing hard when needed is certainly a part of that. I don't let myself get too scared about many things, but the asthma episode scared me. I have good lungs, and don't normally worry much about paint fumes and other types of fumes. I know they aren't good for you, but I figure I can deal with them if necessary.

Anyway, for the last six years I've hired a reputable company to kill the weeds in our lawn, and they did a good job on everything except the crabgrass, which was the reason I hired them. I can kill most weeds myself. I have no problem using a lawn spreader. It's not a big job, nor is it particularly expensive. I just can't seem to kill the crabgrass. I've tried the pre-emergents, but never had much luck. I even sprayed the crabgrass with total weed and grass killer, didn't faze it, just left visibly brown patches with little green shoots poking through. One year when I was really mad, crazy mad, I picked every blade of it out of the front lawn. Took me all day and made my back hurt. It was gone for a while, but returned the next year. I'm told it's an annual weed, so where did the new seedlings come from? It never got a chance to seed that year.

I've tried ignoring it, but I swear it laughs at me. It grows for the most part next to the driveway, where I can't help but see it. I thought I had its number this year. I bought spray bottles, big ones, of crabgrass killer. I planned to spray it, and spray it, until it was dead, at least dead for this year. I didn't want to see it. I wanted to see nice lush grass take its place, the kind all my neighbors seem to have.

But whatever grows in my yard is not easily defeated. The first round of spray stopped its advance. The second round a week later stopped me. A couple hours after the application I found I couldn't take a deep breath. It felt as if half my lungs, the bottom half, had shut down. That was on Saturday. I figured it would go away in a few days. I wasn't wheezing yet, just couldn't get a good deep breath. In retrospect I should have seen a doctor right away, but instead I waited until Monday morning.

My doctor gave me a breathing test and I flunked. Allergy induced asthma was the diagnosis. I then had to breathe medicine through a tube to calm the inflammation and open up my lungs. It felt like heaven after the previous two days. I also got a device to use twice daily, and was told that in a couple weeks I would be okay. It actually was over three weeks before I felt normal again. The medication I was prescribed actually didn't help much, and when I read that one of the possible side effects was "death," I decided to just deal with it until I felt better.

So, the crabgrass won again this year, and cost me three weeks of biking fun.

I noticed that the small park near to us has no crabgrass. No one weeds it, or waters it. It does get mowed occasionally. Sometimes the grass goes brown when the rain doesn't fall for weeks and the temperature rises. Mother Nature obviously knows how to keep her pesky weed in check. Maybe I should follow her advice. If so, all I really have to do, is do nothing.

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