Odd Thoughts: Gardeners are the real tough guys

The government has sent me a synopsis of the 2014 hunting regulations.

I have no idea why.

I have never been a hunter; I don’t go in for that namby pamby stuff.

I’m a gardener.

What’s that, you say?

I’ve got it backwards?

The gardeners are the wusses and the hunters are the tough guys?

If that’s what you think, then you’ve never been exposed to some real get-down-and-dirty gardening – the kind of gardening where you get to kill things that are way more defenceless than a mindless grouse or some unsuspecting deer.

Forget lugging a couple dozen beer into the woods to tide you through hours of sitting up high in a blind, hoping that the moose you want to strap to the hood of your car doesn’t sniff the alcohol before you fall out of the tree.

Gardeners make their kills right in their own backyards – sometimes thousands of them in a single day. And whenever they feel like it, they wander over to the kitchen for a cold one – maybe a beer, maybe a cider, maybe a chilled white wine, or a deep-bodied red with a heady nose? Or heck, how about a good ol’ bloody Caesar?

There’s no need to figure out weeks in advance what kind of booze you’re going to be lugging through the thickets. It’s in the fridge.

And the choices for hunters tend to take about as much imagination as… well… as much as they can muster: regular beer, or light (for those who don’t mind a bit of gentle ribbing from their buddies). Maybe a bottle of rye for the real adventuresome types.

Then there’s the matter of seasons.

Hunters sit around getting fat while they wait for their opportunity to rain bullets a few weeks at a time on bears or squirrels or geese or whatever else suits their relatively limited taste for destruction.

Gardeners kill practically everything in reach. Anything that shows up in “the wrong place” falls to the ice-veined gardener.

Unlike the forest’s offerings, everything is fair game in the garden. Even the things gardeners spend all year nurturing get their lives virtually ripped from them: sometimes thrown into a pot of boiling water before they have a chance to realize they’re dead; sometimes cut off and stuck in jugs of water and placed like trophies on mantles, window shelves, even dining room tables – anywhere that “needs some prettying up.”

Antlers on a wall in the den?

Ha!

Hey! And how old are your kids before you feel it’s safe to take them into the woods and teach them how to kill stuff? Fourteen? Twelve? Ten?

We gardeners sic our young’uns after prey practically before they’re out of their diapers.

We won’t get into the hunters’ penchant for the “clean kill,” whether their weapon of choice is a shotgun or a high-powered rifle.

Gardeners don’t even know what “clean” means – except when they’re cleaning their kill, of course: the one thing we all have in common.

If you tried to kill a deer with the kind of implements of destruction gardeners use to attack their prey, they’d throw you in jail for life. Have you ever taken a close look at a dandelion puller?

And then there’s the limited range of intelligence needed to be a hunter’s child. The hunter has to teach his kids the difference between a buck and a doe. Big deal.

By the time I was six I knew the difference between a carrot seedling and a sprig of grass.

The baby carrots are the lucky ones – they just get “thinned.”

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