Friday, July 11, 2014

Taking time to smell the crabgrass

So I can hold my head up in the neighborhood again, having spent most of Thursday cutting grass --- which had gone out of control (a) because when it was dry I was busy and (b) when I wasn't that busy, it kept raining.

There's an eighth of a block here, the front and sides along the house sprayed commercially three times a year with poison to kill the natural growth and fertilizer to encourage the spindly bluegrass, which is easy to mow at any height. The back, however, is a lush tangle of grass, clover and weeds that looks fine when clipped but grows faster, retains mosture, is tough and the very devil to deal with when it gets too long.

I sometimes think, usually while mowing lawn, what a better place the world would be --- environmentally at least --- if we all stopped mowing and treating our grass. Think of the gas that would be saved, the human energy that could be devoted instead to good works, the chemicals that wouldn't flow into our water supply.

But tall grass and unregulated growth do not necessarily good neighbors make --- that commercial treatment started in the first place because a former neighbor was so consistently infuriated by my lush stands of creeping charlie, crabgrass and dandelions that I started to worry about his well-being. Especially when he started patrolling the DMZ with a sprayer of herbicide, making occasional incursions (when he thought no one was looking, but another neighbor was) to turn patches of previously healthy greenery into scorched earth.

I'm not very consistent either, however, and still miss the manicured lawns out at Red Haw State Park, which in some areas now looks as if it had been abandoned following a cataclysmic disaster.

But at least mowing the lawn gave me a little time to admire some of the flowers now blooming back there in my now-domesticated wilderness. And it can rain all it wants to today. Believe it or not, the tomato plants need moisture.

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