Gilda, thanks for the suggestion. We use similar stuff on all the flower beds, not sheet plastic, but some kind of woven black nylon that allows water to percolate down but blocks anything from growing up and through. It's expensive, but after this little ordeal, may just be worth putting down out there as well.
Glad you guys liked the story--crafting with words is a lot of fun for me and I really need to take more time doing it. Rob, I had my first short story all set up and ready to be published in an antho just recently when the publisher got bought out by another company who cancelled the entire project. I still have several things circulating though; when something comes through I'll definitely let you know where and when!