Gringas & Machetes – Life Taming A Garden

Wack. Wack. Wack.

Ok, this isn’t so bad. I can do this.

As the old proverb says, “Give a man a fish and he will be hungry tomorrow. Teach a man to fish and he will never go hungry.” Here in Panama it rains A LOT. In an attempt to live on a strict budget I decided instead of paying someone to cut my grass, and the never ending plethora of weeds that I call a garden, I would teach myself to use a machete. How hard can swinging a blade through grass possibly be? Ha!

I made it through the garden with only two ant bites and the need to start alternating arms due to burning muscles and newly arriving blisters. Not bad so far. With the garden somewhat under control, I headed for the backyard. Here lives the “vine” of which I am the less than pleased owner of. Not heading the warnings of locals about snakes and other undesirable creatures I began my wacking. I was honing my technique quite successfully, at least in my mind. Wack.

“Oh no, what’s that?” Under my flip flop, yes…highly recommended footwear for climbing around in the jungle swinging a sharp blade, I felt a distinct wiggle…and it was BIG. My first thought, as an ex-New Orleans city dweller…rat!

I jumped, totally forgetting I was swinging a machete high in the air. Out from under the wretched “vine” sputtered, wings flapping, screeching to high heaven,and scaring the living daylights out of me, flew a chicken. Yes, chickens live everywhere. Although I ran from the backyard machete held high, screaming like a little girl, possibly never to return, I am quite sure my neighbors had a good laugh.

Only after I had reached the safety of my house did several important facts come to mind.

-Never run with sharp objects (pre-school)

-Flip flops are for the beach (middle school)

-Chickens live everywhere, not just at a Purdue Farm (post graduation)

So please, take a word from an amateur. Never under-estimate how much hard work gardening with a machete is.

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