Stepped in shit

Today I stepped in shit. You ever notice that the term, You’ve stepped in shit, can mean extremely poor luck, or, conversely, exceptionally good luck? Discovering shit on your shoe after tracking it through the house? Shitty bad, bad luck. Stepping in shit can mean you’re jinxed.

Ten years ago when I was laid off from a job and offered a hefty six month severance package, my brother said to me, “Well congratulations, you just stepped in shit.” In this instance I believe the term was offered in a positive way. Sort of like when a bird shits ON you. It may suck, but in places like Italy (according to some rom-com movies) being shit on by a bird is good luck.

For a plant, as it turns out, shit is pretty much always good. Specifically, cow shit. Just ask the manufacturers of the certified organic bags of planting soil that are currently leaking their moisturizing goodness into the carpeting that lines the back of my truck. At 10$ a bag, it’s gotta be good, capable of fortifying an entire summer’s menu of colorful salads.

Apparently manure offers lots of good nutrients and moist fortifiers for you and your burgeoning garden to grow and to be beautiful and to prosper. So stepping in shit for a plant? Pretty hot stuff. For a human? My jury is out.

By all accounts, good or bad, I stepped in shit about eight months ago when I was laid off from a company that could no longer afford to pay its employees, and I still can’t seem to get hired even as a part time online tutor for $11 per hour. My initial reaction when I received the thanks-but-no-thanks for tutoring email? But I HAVE a Master’s! Yawn.

You decide. Stepping in shit can be good or bad. I’ll be over here planting more stuff that actually does GROW in shit. At least let’s hope so.

Take this hydrangea. I saw the box on the clearance rack at Tractor Supply and thought, I love Hydrangea! I can grow that.img_0873 So I paid the 4$ for the boxed hydrangea plant, and on the way home I bought an extra large planter and potting soil and four bags of organic manure in anticipation of planting that beauty…


After reading the label it was clear that hydrangea like a well aerated soil, so I dug up soil from the yard, weeded out the rocks, ferns, and foreign roots, then mixed in some of the organic manure (organic manure) and churned the contents of the potter over and over with a small handheld garden shovel. That’ll do it, I thought.

I opened the hydrangea box and untied the bag inside in anticipation, thinking I would be planting a starter that was at least comparable in size and girth to its cover photo… what fell out of the box was the equivalent of a scrub of roots not even an inch long, attached to a sprig of three or four stunted crusty brown stems of equal or lesser length. Here’s a photo:

Please note, the elegant shadowy outline on the right lip of the green planter—that shadow was not cast by the hydrangea, but by the gaggle of bushess off camera next door. The little gathering of twigs in the middle of the planter—that’s the glorious hydrangea.

The hydrangea is my new BFF. Will it survive? I have no idea. I sprinkled a little extra organic shit around its base and carefully watered the entire contraption. I’m giving it all I’ve got.

I’m rooting for the little guy.


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