Succot preparations never involved removing 3 huge bushes with my bare hands before

Ok, I had a little gardening trowel and scissors but both mostly broke on me pretty fast. I went out to water my garden and HOLY WHAT THE…?! The neighbours had put their Succah (hut) up right against my garden. They’d killed the two lettuce heads and one cucumber plant by treading on them. It was set up so close that not only would the plants get no sun but I couldn’t get back to them to water them.

Now there were several other places, granted not quite so pleasant and pretty, as I hadn’t been caring for, trimming back, fixing up those sections of the yard as much as the area around my little plants for the past 3 months –but totally suitable for a succah nonetheless in our yard. We’re talking a 14 foot long and 10 foot wide succah here.

There was a space in front of my garden area that they would be amenable to moving it to (the other sections of the yard were deemed to be too shady) if it weren’t for the fact that there were these 3 huge hulking bushes (with thorns, no less) right where the succah would need to go and taking up an area about 10 feet by 10. In fact, if those bushes were gone, it would even be a nicer and more convenient spot for accessing the succah. I’ll get rid of them, I said.

He was like, there is no way that you can do that. I was like, baby, just watch me. Yo, three months of work on that garden was not going to go to waste for your darn succah. And he did watch for awhile as, armed with a pair of scissors (the kind you use to cut paper), I bent, twisted and broke off/snipped the last hanging thread of limb after limb, and carried armload after armload off to a discrete pile in the far section of the yard. He left and came back as I was bending, twisting, pulling, girl-handling the bottom stump-meets roots of the first bush that I’d dug down and exposed with the trowel.

I was covered in sweat, covered in dirt, covered in ants and the damn biting flies that are out in force. I can’t do this, I thought. I looked up, there he was, and he said something like “you are working really hard,” and I was like “yes,” and with a final tug out came the stump with the rootball and all and knocked me over. Then I was like, oh wow, I can do this!

Then I looked at my huge victory and realized I’d just taken out the smallest, by far, of those damn bushes. He left. I persevered. My scissors broke on the second bush. I went upstairs for my spare pair and a bottle of water.

An hour and a half later, there was no sign that any bush had ever dared to grow in that area of the yard. He hadn’t reappeared and it was getting closer and closer to the fall of shabbat. I cut the big side hedge back so there would be even more room for the succah than the space it was currently sitting in. No sign of him. I went up and knocked on their door. No answer. Back down and I tried to figure out if I could possibly move the darn succah by myself but quickly determined that no, no, that was not possible.

I sat down, smoked a cigarette, looked at the big, huge succah-friendly spot I’d created and wanted to cry. I was like I actually did all this and there is no way, it is too close to Shabbat, and there is no way he is going to come down to move that sucker and my three months of work is going to die on the vine. I was literally coming back inside to get my own Shabbat candles ready and meal laid out when I met him on the stairs. Yalla, let’s move it!

Between us, we did. YES! My blisters on top of blisters are relieved, they’ve got a better spot for their succah, and my little garden (most of it, that survived the experience), will continue to grow. He kept saying, I can’t believe you managed to do that. Baby, after the fact, neither can I.

Girl power.


3 responses to “Succot preparations never involved removing 3 huge bushes with my bare hands before”

  1. Lynne says :

    I wish your neighbors were a bit more considerate… at least the guy helped you relocate it.

  2. Coyote says :

    Yael, I’m glad you succeeded. It’s something to be proud of, but … if you’re going to continue your gardening please get the appropriate tools. It’s easier to garden (my hobby is gardening) and safer! You’ll save yourself blisters on blisters, pulled muscles, and other injuries. And it will make gardening more fun! In the mean time savor your success … even with the right tools it would have been hard to remove three bushes!

    • israeliminx says :

      Coyote if I’d known that I needed to remove those bushes and in under 3 hours, no less, I’d have gotten the right tools! I have a shovel, a real set of shears, and a little garden-claw implement on my wish list and plans to get list as soon as I can afford them.

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