Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« California Ave SW and SW Genes... | Sierra Club Fails to Block Fre... »

Friday, August 17, 2007

Day 2: Gardening

posted by on August 17 at 17:12 PM

Yesterday I received my second assignment: Go pull weeds out of someone’s parking strip.

I drove over to Will’s house near Gasworks Park around 2 PM and he gave me a tour of his herb garden. At first, it was difficult to understand what he wanted me to yank. Beige flowering bush? “If you have time.” Brown, wilting bush? “Please don’t touch, Steven.”

The only thing Will really wanted me to get rid of was the fennel. It was everywhere. For anyone who has never experienced the smell of fennel, imagine breathing in a jar full of licorice. For a while, I had to take breaks or I would start to feel that pre-puke saliva coating the back of my throat.

Finally, around the half an hour mark, I began to find my groove. Holding my breath, I would stick my small shovel under the fennel plants and yank them out one by one. It felt good to reconnect with nature. Bees everywhere smelled the fennel seeds on my clothing and followed me back and forth from the garden patch to the waste bin.


The last plant I extracted was a towering prickly mess. I have no idea what this plant is called but its primary goal seems to be intimidation. It didn’t intimidate me, though. I kicked it down and stomped on it.


Will lives next door to a wine conosseur and an elderly couple. Will had to leave and go to work but he told me that his neighbors would probably come over and say hi while I weeded. They didn’t.

—Steven Blum, Public Intern

RSS icon Comments


kickin sneaks brah

Posted by Joh | August 17, 2007 5:45 PM



Posted by Mr. Poe | August 17, 2007 6:06 PM

That prickly mo-fo is probably a thistle. Good on ya for stomping on it.

Posted by anon | August 17, 2007 6:18 PM

Fennel is lovely at the back of a border - but I don't envy you that smelly task of destroying the progeny. At least you're lookin' cute while doing it.

Posted by the other John | August 17, 2007 6:53 PM


Posted by -B- | August 17, 2007 7:12 PM

Fennel is the Devil's plant. It took us 2 seasons to get rid of the seedlings from one plant in our garden. Curse you, fennel! Curse you!

Posted by Michigan Matt | August 17, 2007 7:56 PM

It's wonderful that the Stranger puts so much importance on journalism that it sends its intern to pull weeds. And then brag about it. Most interns do things like write news stories and edit. They don't usually have to open up themselves to public humiliation either. Ideally, they're sent away with a little something to look good on the ol' resume.

Remember that next time you're trying to be taken seriously.

Posted by Is he your slave or something? | August 17, 2007 8:11 PM


How is cleaning a public bus or pulling Will's weeds embarrassing? Don't get me wrong, making jokes about this is amusing (but be careful, Dan is very sensitive about this), but you're taking this seriously with an attitude that makes no sense. At all.

Keep up the good work, Mr. Blum. Since I'm being somewhat positive here, I will finish with something a little more Poe-like.

Pull your own damn weeds, Will. You fucking faggot.

Oof! Just kidding. Lovz for everyonez! Yes. I'm drunk. Word.

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 17, 2007 8:28 PM

He's the public INTERN, @7, we get to make him do the tasks we don't want to do ourselves. Such as pulling weeds.

Steven, way to be. You're learning valuable life lessons! Such as: "never plant fennel."

Posted by Katelyn | August 17, 2007 10:04 PM

Gloves for plants but not for drippy Metro stew splash scrub? Oh well, I suppose the stains on Metro are just dried soda and coffee and not watery oozing bodily spew.

Posted by Miss Stereo | August 17, 2007 10:16 PM

OK, props for the shirt and shoes... stop being cute Steven, I'm not supposed to lust after the intern... or am I?

Anyhoo... I don't envy you at all... I loathe weeding. I don't suppose I could borrow you and send you up to Everett to weed my mother's garden? :D

Posted by Phelix | August 17, 2007 10:48 PM

Hey, that's my friend Will's house! Woo! Will is awesome, works extremely hard, and I can't think of anyone more who deserves to have some hot intern weed his yard. Rock on! Thank you for helping my friend, Public Intern!

Posted by Hey | August 18, 2007 12:07 AM

i didn't think of it til now..( and no i'm not high..yet).. but if you're still scroungin for something for the public intern to do, he can come over to my apartment and organize my records and cd's ( they're stacked up backed up all over the living room..could take hours.. ) i'll tell him which genres go where and he can alphabetize them. and then i'll fry us up some yardbird and make some mashers. we'll have a tasty fresh beverage to wash it down and i'll send him on his way. at my house, everybody wins

Posted by reverend dr dj riz | August 18, 2007 3:15 AM

Good job Public Intern. Don't listen to #7. I think you deserve a reward. I just won a month's worth of ice cream things called Dibs from Dreyer's ice cream, so if I can get it approved at my work they are going to put a freezer in for a month and stock us up with tasty treats. Since you deserve a reward, I think The Stranger should send you on a train or bus ride down to Portland to have some FREE ice cream with me. Okay? I work in the Women's Resource Center at Portland State and we are all a bunch of cool feministas. We could probably buy you some lunch too and if you had to do some work, you could hand out some flyers about the women's resource center in the park blocks! I am serious!

Posted by Kristin Bell | August 18, 2007 7:40 AM

@ everyone who said intern is adorable:


Posted by Gem | August 18, 2007 8:56 AM

New intern's not a clone of Hugh Foskett or am I wishfully thinking?

Posted by KENTUCKY KERNEL OF TRUTH | August 18, 2007 2:38 PM

Steven arrived, freshly showered and eager, just after 1pm on Friday.
He seemed like a genuinely nice guy. He said he only had 45 minutes in
which to do my bidding. And he said he'd never been into gardening at
all. I pointed out the worst weeds to him, but I wasn't convinced that
he knew which plants were weeds and which were, you know, not weeds.

So imagine my surprise when I came home and found my planting strips
with nary a weed visible! The fennel and thistle and dandelions were
nowhere to be seen. I could see my Cotinus "Grace" again! I'm sure
Steven didn't have the time or adequate tools to get the buggers out
by their roots, but he did a fine job. Just goes to show you what a
person can accomplish in 45 minutes, if they have gumption and a kind

Posted by Will in 98103 | August 18, 2007 6:31 PM

Please to excuse bad

Posted by Will in 98103 | August 18, 2007 6:57 PM

Hard to tell conclusively from the photo, but the plant under your shoe looks to me to be star thistle, an entirely obnoxious invasive weed that MUST BE STOPPED!

Posted by Matt Goolsby | August 19, 2007 7:55 PM

Public Intern Steven: You are awesome!

All of you nay-sayers can suck it. He's getting field experience accomplishing akward-at-best projects AND a venue to write columns of his own. He's not ghost writing the obits or fetching James Wallace's coffee, as he would undoubtedly be doing at other papers.

Posted by tabletop_joe | August 20, 2007 12:39 PM

I hardly ever read slog, but now have to trawl through all the other crap just so i can read about the public intern. I think it's awesome. I think having all these articles (and a growing fan base) would be a great resume thing, much much much more than just doing grunt work (getting coffees etc and doing research/filing) than so many other interns suffer through.

Besides, I'm sure noone's forcing him to do it.

Posted by Hel-Belle | August 20, 2007 9:46 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).