Desperately needing Friendly Giant

At our house the month of May is full of bees but not the stinging kind.

At our house the month of May is full of bees but not the stinging kind.

Maybe the shed will get painted, maybe the deck will get built, and maybe this will be the summer that I will finally grow all the vegetables we need to get us through until next year when the maybes start to buzz again.

You know those sitcoms where one friend accompanies another home and upon entering the apartment the guest sees clothes strewn all over the living room, books piled on the floor and dishes all over the place? The guest exclaims, “Oh no, you’ve been robbed!” to which the friend who owns the home replies, “This is how it always looks.”

Guests arriving at our place this spring would be forgiven for thinking our yard had been robbed, if such a thing were possible.

I have 92 projects unfurling all at the same time. The ‘May Bees’ are definitely abuzz. In my imagination our yard rivals Minter Gardens. In reality it looks like it has been hit by a couple tornadoes then finished off by a tsunami.

When I pause to lean on my shovel and survey the pathetically small dent I have made in bringing my dreams to reality, I like to fantasize about being visited by a springtime giant. He would be something like the Friendly Giant but instead of arranging furniture the size of his thumbnail around the fire place for his television guests, he would reach down and landscape my yard.

Wouldn’t that be cool? Think about it. He could clear out all the underbrush in the forest surrounding our house as if he were plucking lint balls from a sweater. He could take up a garden trowel (giant sized of course) and dig a lake in no time flat. He could pinch boulders between his forefinger and thumb and place them wherever I asked. He could scoop up my entire vegetable garden into the palm of his hand and quickly sift through it for quack grass and other rhizomes and stubborn roots, and then pour the sifted soil back down onto my garden completely free of weeds.

He could roll out fencing with a flick of a finger and push eight-foot posts into place with the ball of his thumb.

He could build me greenhouses, garden sheds and gazebos like a child playing with Popsicle sticks and glue. A giant could lift up our house and use his pocket knife to carve a basement into the ground and then set our house back down on top of it in a single afternoon.

A giant could dig a trench with his little finger and plant a windbreak of spruce trees in five minutes. My spring time giant could put all the gravel that was snow bladed onto the lawn back onto the driveway with a couple quick brushing motions of his hand.

The only problem would be feeding the giant. Everyone knows that working in the garden makes a person ravenous and it would be very impolite to expect the giant to landscape my entire yard and then send him away hungry.

And where would he live? He would never fit inside our house even if we did have a basement. Then there would be the very real danger of being squished like a bug beneath his giant gardening boot.

And let’s not overlook the biggest hurdle of employing a giant for a gardener. There’s no such thing as giants. Alas, there’s only me — one small human with a giant imagination and a too short summer in which to bring all my plans to fruition.

Fortunately I am also very stubborn. This doesn’t mean I don’t indulge in brief moments of kneeling in the chaos I have created and crying a little bit.

But it does mean that when I finish my private pity party, I get back up again, brush the mud off my knees, take up my shovel and continue on.

Perspective is everything. One woman’s manure pile is another woman’s Eden.

One day I will pluck the plants from my imagination and transplant them where anyone can see them. But in the meantime there are wheelbarrows to push, rocks to move and weeds to pull. And every once in awhile there are dreams of giants.

Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from the Peace River country. You can read more of her writing online at

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