Despite a recent and evolving Lyme diagnosis, I maintain my position of avoiding pesticide use. As the ER team knows, I love to tell the kale “tree” story in which my kale crop flourished even in the depths of winter and grew so tall it was reminiscent of Jack & the Beanstalk. I later learned my (former) neighbor Glen was heavily spraying my yard. We moved out of that house, but not far away enough to escape Glen’s antics.
Disclaimer: What follows is a true story. No exaggerations or color commentary added.
Loud knock on the door. Solicitor? I want to ignore but think I have been spotted through the window. Open and see the truck: Chemical company called Alterra.
Kid: (Knocks on door). “I just signed your neighbor Glen up for our services and thought you might be interested.”
Me: “As you can see (I gesture to the garden of flowering clover and dandelion remnants), I am a proponent of natural lawn care, so no thank you. In fact, I am happy to no longer be Glen’s direct neighbor because of what he sprayed in my yard.”
Kid: Stays on the porch. Awkward look on his face.
Me: (angry at the thought of neighbors and people everywhere poisoning me and others… is this a healthy response for my cortisol levels?? Am I being too judgmental?) “In fact, I am vehemently opposed to pesticide use and what it does to human health, not to mention the environment.” (My face reddens, my voice is louder.) “Take me off the list permanently and please don’t come back again.”
Kid: (Starts to back away. Has not uttered a word since introducing himself. Looks downtrodden, dumb-founded).
Me: (Feeling suddenly bad for crushing this kid’s spirit for future call, I hear myself say,) “Good luck.” (Then realizing I do NOT want him to be successful in his efforts, retract and say: “Well actually, not good luck” (start to fumble over words)….”Nevermind, just have a good day!”
I wonder if I have become a zealot, and decide my position is sound. I decide I want a permanent and beautifully designed wooded sign for my lawn. Something nice and tasteful like the natural habitat signs!
It might say, “Proud to use natural lawn care. Proud to protect our community’s health and the planet. Proud to be chem free!”
The next day (nope, couldn’t make this up), another young man knocks on the door. Before he gets a word in I launch my spiel. He waits and then proceeds to educate ME on the benefits of chrysanthemum oil and other natural repellents. Again my face reddens, but this time I ask if he would like a glass of water and invite him in.
(To read more about how to naturally prevent ticks from infiltrating your yard, check out this great resource from Rodale’s.)
Ryan works at MOM’s Alexandria
“Chrysanthemum oil?” What a crock! I suppose the lawn care industry’s marketing arm has realized the negative press of “permethryne”, which is extremely toxic to marine life, and decided to rename it “chrysanthemum oil”.