Destroying Plants

I walk into the backyard and find both Crappy Boy and Crappy Baby sitting on the grass with a pile of shredded plants between them from our overgrown herb garden.

I ask them what they are doing and they tell me that they are destroying plants.

I say, “You are destroying plants? On purpose?”

Crappy Boy answers:



Regret? Remorse? Guilt?

Nope, none of those words are the one he is searching for.

He explains:



Oh! I suddenly remember a conversation at a friend’s house a few weeks back. Emma and her family only eat meat that has been raised compassionately. At one point, Emma’s mom tried to explain to Crappy Boy what compassionately raising and harvesting an an animal meant. He was confused and then I forgot all about the conversation.

But this must be what he is referring to!

I confirm, “So you’re destroying plants…but with compassion?”


Well, the plants did have a good life.

Carry on.



I’m pretty sure that this definition of compassion is not exactly what the Dalai Lama has in mind.ย 

Eventually I’ll try to help him reach a greater understanding of what compassion means. But not over rosemary and lavender. It’s all over our yard.ย 

This post is in no way meant to be interpreted as judgy towards the way you or your friends eat.ย 

As I wrote in this post:

  1. I don’t care what you eat.
  2. Still don’t.
  3. Nope.



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66 Responses to Destroying Plants

  1. I still love your postscripts.

  2. Emma says:

    Dang, I was almost first to comment! I love your postscripts too!!

  3. Andrea says:

    Haha! It’s like my 3 year old son lovingly torturing our cat.
    The other day we played and he says: “Mommy, you be the bad guy.” I wasn’t too happy to be delegated to be the bad guy, but I agreed to it. Then he goes: “Hey, bad guy?” “Yes, honey?” “Let’s be nice bad guys.” So there you go. Nice bad guys. World needs them ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Tiffany says:

    In my town, there was man (still is, in fact) who stood on the same street corner for hours every day, asking people for their definition of “compassion,” which they wrote in a notebook. That was later published. He’s still doing that, and that corner is now known as Compassion Corner and recently had an earth bench built, the Compassion Bench.

  5. Ohhh, remembering a game my sister and I played in our youth called “Kick Mrs. Scassa in the Ass.” The poor Mrs. Scassa in question was a barn cat at our grandparents’ and Mrs. Scassa apparently was some adult we didn’t like. So we’d chase the cat around the yard and scream, “KICK MRS. SCASSA IN THE ASS!” I don’t *think* we ever actually kicked her. And FWIW, I did not grow up to be a serial killer (no, really!). I actually have two cats, and I never, EVER kick them in the ass.

  6. Misty says:

    I eat compassionate animals…does that count? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Amy U says:

      Ha ha! Best comment yet! We butchered 75 compassionate chickens on Saturday. (“We” meaning not me; by the time I got to them, they looked like they came from Safeway but with minor slimyness and a little outdoor debris still stuck to them.)

  7. Char says:

    Haha, that is fantastic!

    My kids just like to gather up as much as they can and present it as gifts. Dandelions, limp and crushed by a sweaty fist are a favourite. And I must react as you do to a cat who brings you a disembowelled mouse: with joy and gratitude, but never, *never* disgust.

  8. Julie says:

    Off topic, but I saw you were nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award and voted for you! I hope your readers all know about it. Fingers crossed for you!

  9. neal says:

    Had this conversation with my three-year-old recently:

    Me: “Wait! Stop! Why are you squishing ants?!”

    Her: “Because I love them so much, and I want them to be able to see their grandpas in Heaven.”

    Clearly, it’s a fine line between compassion and sadism.

  10. As always, the post script is the icing on the (sustainable, compassionately-raised organic) cake!

  11. Jacque says:

    At least with rosemary and lavender, your yard probably smells really nice. My kids just pull all the leaves off the plants and say they are “picking berries” like Snow White to make a gooseberry pie. Poor plants have all these mangled leaves half hanging on.

  12. With compassion… I love this and did I ever need a laugh today. Thanks!

  13. Your boys can come to my house and destroy some of the green stuff growing in my yard – with compassion or not. Because most of them are weeds. And weeds don’t need compassion.

  14. Ali says:

    I remember when I tried to grow cherry tomatoes in a pot on the deck, (the only sunny place in our yard), and my toddler son picked them all while they were green. “Ball, Momma!”

  15. Jade says:

    Last spring after we had been reading “Stone Soup” all winter long, my 4 year old made his own version stone soup in a huge rainwater bucket in the back yard. After adding the rocks to the rainwater, he threw in fistfuls of sand, dirt, grass, and then he beheaded several of my beautiful irises! He was so excited to show me his “soup,” but when I saw my once lovely irises, all dirty, wet and mangled, floating at the top, I had to stifle my scream, and squeak out some praise for his wonderful, creative concoction. I remember making pies and such out of the dirt, rocks, sand and plants from our yard as a kid too. I couldn’t help but smile as I realized that my child was just like his momma.

  16. Lisa says:

    This was magical. I hope my son is as “compassionate” as your two, one day. We raise our own grass-fed, organic, unvaccinated cattle… because we are cheap, not hippies. Our last slaughter heifer was split with my sister-in-law, and she had a full-on hippie meltdown when she found out that the heifer had a name. She even asked my husband to make sure he told her that he loved her, and that he was very grateful for her sacrifice… Both he and the heifer were less than amused by her wishes. But, if you’re out there in heifer heaven, sweet, tender Gypsey, we are grateful for your most delicious sacrifice.

    • amber says:

      I’m pretty sure animals with names taste better. It seems more compassionate to give them names, no? (Says the girl who grew up on a small hobby farm who became a vegetarian for five years after the family ate Happy, the steer. LOL)

  17. Linda R says:

    I bet your yard smells LOVELY (well, it might with just those 2 herbs).

    • amber says:

      Well, we DO have Crappy Dog mucking up the otherwise lovely smell of the yard. It balances out as long as we stay on top of picking up his business.

  18. Lezlie says:

    My daughter recently did this…with poison ivy.

  19. shanna says:

    BAAAHHHHHH. I am dying. I also clicked over to your McDonalds post, which made me die again. I once went to a birthday party at McDonalds for my friend Susie Fisher. Her parents were super excited and secretive about a ‘special surprise’ that was coming and we, age 4 preschoolers, were all like ‘OMG. Ronald Eff McDonald.’ Now, I had and still have a fear of clowns, so I wasn’t all gung ho about this and was hoping for a fry guy or Grimace or Birdie. But everyone was certain it was Ronald McDonald. Only it wasn’t. It was the Hamburglar. he came charging out of the kitchen and around the tables and tried to steal our food. I cannot adequately describe the terror and panic that followed, but suffice it to say, everyone was screaming, everyone was crying, children were sitting on their food, stuffing their food in their mouths at an alarming rate or hiding under the tables. It was awesome and awful all at once.

  20. Hahahaha! With compassion! Wonderful post!

  21. Jenne says:

    In a moment of weakness, I taught the 3.5 year old how to use the anvil pruners on the overgrown forsythia in the yard.
    Apparently this is now and forever known as “growing trees.”

  22. BBraveTeacher says:

    Crappy Baby and Crappy Boy for President and VP!

  23. Oh my… My own darling toddler turned out to be the one that decimated my thriving basil plant. I asked him what happened and he very frankly told me, I hit your basil with a stick. Between him, the dog and the bugs, I’ll never have a garden. :/

  24. M@SSBD says:

    Honest question: How, exactly, does one compassionately raise and harvest an animal?

    • Tanja says:

      Maybe there’s a lot of petting as the animal grows up? A doula present at birth? Singing and calming stories read as the animal is taken to slaughter?

      Who knows, really.

  25. NappyFan says:

    My 2.5yo daughter pulls up our seedlings to show me that they are growing up strong and healthy because they have wonderful roots. She’s very proud of them and gets very sad when they slowly atrophy and die in spite of my diligent replanting efforts.