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Bag Lady needs a trim. Nothing wild. Between 8 and 24 inches. Just enough to continue to see out my home office window.

I need to plant a few pansies and embark on the annual ruse of attending to their weeding and care for the next six months.

I need to freshen up my mulch, lest someone catch me with ratty, 2020 chips. (The scoffing and grief!)

It’s time to go outside again.


My reservations mainly center around ticks and sticks — specifically, for the latter, in the eye. Trimming my bushes last year for the first time, I managed to get a few good welting wallops across my face. Learner’s curve.


This year, there will be goggles! And sleeves! And skunks!

Truly. I have a new black and white pal and I’m kinda excited about it.

Let’s get to it!

Corona bypass garden lopper, Tractor Supply Co., $39.99

The name is … unfortunate … but with 4.9 star-reviews, comfort handles and a 1 3/4-inch branch cutting diameter, looks like this long lopper can tackle my trim.

Fiskars bypass pro pruner, Paris Farmers Union, $14.99


For when pruning needs to get a little more up-close and personal, it’s a pair of 5/8-inch cutting diameter hand trimmers. Plus, they’re black and orange, just like the above Corona loppers. If there’s one thing I love more than not getting scratched in the eye, it’s matching tools.

HDX chemical splash impact googles, Home Depot, $13.97

Anti-fog, slim fit, anti-branch — a winning trifecta.

GroundWork hose reel cart, Tractor Supply Co., $129.99

It looks like something steampunk-ish out of “Flea Market Flip” with large wheels, a basket for tools and a spool for wrapping 400 feet of garden hose. Pull around the yard. Plant, water, repeat.

Flick the Tick natural tick and insect repellent, 4 ounce,, $10.95


Maine-made, which say no more — we know from ticks. I’ll give anything a shot once to keep those suckers at bay.

Centurion collapsible bucket, 2.5 gallons, Paris Farmers Union, $14.99

In lime green/gray or lavender/gray and such a novel idea: A handled, silicone bucket that can hold up to 10 liters of water, potting mix or whatever your fancy, that collapses into a thin disc when not in use. All of my noncollapsible buckets attract spiders and grime, so absolutely love this concept.

Scott’s Colorstay mulch, 2 cubic feet, Tractor Supply Co., $3.99

In black, red or brown, but really, there’s no contest. Hello there, red. It’s been mulch too long.

Best find: Any fruiting trees, local nurseries


To be enjoyed by us and my new furry friend. Twice in the last week, I’ve spotted a skunk on the edge of our lawn, one time eating from a fresh pile of compost vegetable scraps and the other trundling along in the morning dew, its long, luscious locks cascading behind like some Breck commercial.

My reaction: It’s freaking adorable!

Mr. Bag Lady’s reaction: Um, it’s just a skunk? That’s probably lived here forever? That you’ve just never noticed?

No matter. I’ll grow fruit for you, girl. (Yes, I’ve also decided it’s a girl. I’ve named her Mandy.)

Think twice: About not minding your view. Or your ticks. That could bite.

Bag Lady’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who have not yet noticed and will surely be freaked out by Mandy) and the customer service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at

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