Some days you’re swatting off mealybug and digging trenches to dissuade rogue bunnies, but then other days you find yourself in the dirt chasing off some squash-munching squealing pigs.
Oh, that hasn’t happened to you before?
Well, if you gave me a choice, I think I’d choose the pigs, thanks to this hilarious piece I’m sharing with you today: The Most Important Gardening Tool from Inez Castor. I’ve always loved this piece because it demonstrates that there is only so much planning you can do with a garden; And no matter how much you sharpen your tools or plant seeds perfectly in a row, it’ll be hard to enjoy the ups and downs without a little gardening humor to lighten up when it’s all sabotaged.
Humor is of course essential to living a meaningful and happy existence, and when it comes from the garden, all the better in my opinion! Combine weeding and the best garden tools with attempted pig-herding, and it’s bound to be something entertaining—like you’d see in an I Love Lucy episode. That’s the visual I get whenever I read this piece. You’ll see what I mean—and you’ll find yourself smiling and laughing, as I do every time I read it.
A Little Gardening Humor Goes a Long Way in Times Like These
The following gardening humor story comes from The Weeder’s Reader: GreenPrints’s Greatest Stories. Gardening stories like this one are pure happiness and can bring you joy on an otherwise dull or dreary day.
I’m happy to share this gardening humor story, in its entirety, with you so you too can get some great laughs.
The Most Important Tool
One Every Gardener Needs.
By Inez Castor
The other day, while weeding, I unearthed a rusty trowel, which got me started thinking about tools in general. They seem to come in two varieties, those I swear by and those I swear at.
Among those I swear at are cheap trowels. They’re usually stamped out of sheet metal, and they bend easily. They not only fail to do the job, they frustrate the heck out of me until I manage to break them.
Just then, I glanced up briefly from my weeding—and noticed that our normally well-behaved squash patch was tossing like a small boat on a choppy sea. On closer inspection, I found a pair of half-grown black-and-white pigs eating zucchini, with more enthusiasm than zucchini usually engenders.
If you’ve ever been faced with the problem, you already know that it is not possible for one person to herd two pigs out of anything as succulent as summer squash. Believe me, I tried. The only results were trampled squash and hyperactive pigs.
About that time, Jean, the owner of the pigs, joined me, and we began working on a strategy to get the little porkers back on their own side of the fence. We planned our attack carefully—while the pigs speeded up their squash consumption. Pigs aren’t stupid; they knew their feast was about to be interrupted.
It wasn’t going to be easy, because pigs are noticeably short of handles. Remember the greased pig contests once popular at county fairs? I don’t think those pigs really had to be greased; slippery is their natural condition.
Jean tells me that her pigs weigh about 75 pounds. They are, after all, baby pigs. I suppose she’s right, if the pig is holding still and cooperating. But once you figure in the struggle factor, you effectively double the pig’s weight.
Jean said we’d have to be quick. There was just one minor problem. I thought we were each going to grab one end of the closest pig, heave it over the fence, then tackle the other one.
Jean expected me to grab an entire pig!
The next thing I knew, I was clutching the south end of a northbound pig whose wild squeals seem to have short-circuited my brain. I couldn’t let go. I was flat on my belly, still hanging on, when the pig plowed through the fresh heap of rabbit manure we’d piled so conveniently near the squash patch.
We did finally get the little critters back on their own side of the fence—in spite of Jean’s hysteria. Every time she looked at me, she collapsed into fresh spasms of laughter. Oh, well. It could have been worse: the cow manure is on the other side of the squash.
Which brings me back to tools.
The most important tool a gardener can possess is a sense of humor. Keep it oiled, and not too sharp; you don’t want to hurt yourself.
Most of all, keep it handy. You never know when you’re going to need it. ❖
By Inez Castor, published originally in 1996, in GreenPrints Issue #22. Illustrations by Marilynne Roach.
Did you enjoy this gardening humor story? Please tell us if you smiled, chuckled, or had a full-belly laugh when reading this story.