Sunday, April 30, 2006

Joe vs. The Lawn

Keeping with the theme of my household inadequacies, I think I will now tell about my eternal struggle with our lawn. This seems like a good time to write about it since I spent around six hours today playing in the yard.

It is sad that I am so bad at keeping a pretty lawn because I really enjoy getting outside and playing. In my defense, my landscaping inadequacies exist mostly from ignorance. I really have no clue what to do when it comes to maintaining a dazzling green lawn--in the suburbs. You see, I grew up in the country. My family was done with farming by the time I was old enough to start mowing, but we still lived in the sticks and had a very large yard. From what I remember, our lawn was almost always green in the summer, unless we were in a drought. We did not have a sprinkler system and we did not fertilize it (I think). Our only problem was the occaisonal mole.

So last spring I did nothing to the lawn. We had bought our house the previous summer, and the lawn was one of the nicest in the neighborhood. I knew that it would not stay the unnatural glowing green color like some of the neighbors' lawns, but I thought it would at least stay looking nice. (In a future post, I will tell about our crazy neighbors Lawnboy and Army Guy, and the extent they go to to keep their lawns looking like a PGA putting green.)

I was wrong. Very wrong.

By the end of the summer it was the worst looking lawn in the subdivision and there were more dead brown patches than green. It looked like I spread gasoline all over it. (I'll try to remember to take a picture of it and post it tomorrow.) First, our sprinkler system broke. It was not that dry of a summer, so that should not have been a big deal. But then I found out we had grubs who ate the roots of the grass and it died.

My conclusion: Country lawns are tough and can take care of themselves. We have a pansy citified lawn that needs pampered and groomed. So today I gave it a trim, exfoliated its surface (raked all the dead crap away), and applied Rogaine (seeded it). Keeping with the theme, it next needs deloused and fertilized--um, bodyshaping conditioner? Of course, we are off to a bad start since I had only enough seed for about 75% of the lawn. Oh well. I can always do a comb-over.


I did not move into our house a pro at mowing the lawn. I was actually banished from mowing for the last couple of years I lived at home.

I forget how old I was, but I think I might have been a junior in high school. I had been doing most of the mowing for a few years. In a hurry to get it done, I forgot that my dad had planted a bunch of little baby trees a few days before. He did not bother to mark them and I mowed them all down. Irate, he handed down the first punishment he could think of. "Damnit Joe, I paid a lot for those trees! From now on, you are not allowed to mow. I don't ever want to see you on that lawnmower again!" I tried not to smile, but it was hard. I think my Dad realized right away that his edict was more reward than punishment, but he did not want to back down and admit that he just did something rather stupid. The next year he generously offered to rescind the punishment, but I sighed and said that I didn't think I had learned my lesson yet. I still tease him about this "punishment."

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