Opinion

Undercover NEWS

About three weeks ago I began making a huge sandwich with The Parksville Qualicum Beach News. This is not your usual lunchtime sandwich nor bedtime snack; more like the first layer of attack in the buttercup and dandelion battle.

Since last fall I’ve been saving my copies of The NEWS in a spare blue box left to me by a one-time neighbour. There was an idea composting in my head, of eliminating a lot of apparently futile work (aka weeding) in the long garden bed along one side of the house.

This particular area, partly shaded and moist, was Utopia for the afore mentioned golden flowers we call weeds. No matter what boisterous plants or groundcovers I diligently cultivated there, the golden ones always won the competition without an ounce of help from me. Thus the saving of the newspapers.

This spring, with months of issues overflowing the box, the sandwich recipe finally took shape. First, I had the young man who attends to the lawn make several merciless sweeps over the area with his Weed Eater till there was a working surface suitable for Dagwood sandwich-building.

The blue box was lugged to the site and the first layer of the sandwich put in place. Every square inch of that offending territory was covered and over lapped with back issues. Maybe those pesky buttercup remnants might be even reading about themselves, but no … of course I’d already removed and filed those pages of deathless prose.

Luckily, the days of first layer-sandwich-making were without wind and no headlines were able to escape their fate. But local newspapers were not the only sandwich makings that had been awaiting their moments of glory in the weed battle. Lined up along the walkway were the numerous bags of 2013’s fallen leaves, now rather wet and compacted.

The leaves then, might be considered the sandwich’s filling, as they were carefully spread atop slices of The NEWS. Again, it was lucky that the leaves were soggy, for they stayed in place long enough for the next layer to be applied. Alas, this was the first part that had to be purchased – rolls of ground cloth or weed barrier – I rather think of it as the ketchup, or mustard, or whatever condiment of choice.

Once fastened into place with ground staples (none too neatly, I must admit) this gardener’s gourmet delight was ready for the weeds’ coup de grace – four inches of coarse cedar chips, another ingredient to be purchased. To make the finished sandwich presentable this last was necessary to keep the first three layers together and give the sandwich an attractive appearance, one with a pleasant scent and which should age gracefully into its surroundings.

Maybe the trickiest part of this whole endeavour was getting the chip truck into a position to dump its load without taking out power lines, shrubs, trees, or my unique lamp posts, and still let the van out of the garage! That driver is to be complimented on his part in bringing the finishing touches to my sandwich.

Much as I love the finished product, and thanks to its various components, I trust the weeds will be finding my long planned sandwich forever unpalatable.

Nancy Whelan’s column appears every second Thursday in The NEWS. E-mail: njwhelan@telus.net

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