Thursday, April 06, 2006

Spring fever

The sun comes out after days of grey gloom. The warmth is comforting, inviting pulling out a comfy chair and a good book or one's knitting. I like this part of spring.

Unfortunately, it also heralds lawnmowing time.

If I had to choose working in the yard and doing the dishes, I'd work in the yard. But it doesn't mean it's up there in my favorite things to do list. Since I was the only child remaining at home after I turned 9, eventually it became my job to mow the lawn and help my parents with yard work. The house I grew up in was set in one corner of a double lot, so we had a fair amount of yard. My mom loved gardening and had grown up with a mother who also loved gardening (her yard was once chosen to be cover of Waverly Gardens for her azaleas). But the gardening gene didn't sprout in me. So while I was digging holes for annuals, trimming bed edges, raking leaves, and deadheading camellias, rhododendrons, and azaleas, I was thinking that when I got a house it was going to have a small that was easy to care for.

So now I have that house and the back yard has become a jungle that the cats love to hunt in. I keep an eye out for vermin, but so far I haven't had any problems with rats or mice. When my next door neighbors had kiwi trees, the possums and raccoons would come by to munch on the fruit; fortunately those neighbors moved and the new ones took out those trees. The front and side yards are relatively well maintained, since they're visible, but they aren't the pristine yards my relatives have.

And there's the lawn.

Every spring it's a challenge. Will the mower start? I got the mower when I was living in a shoebox sized rental house on a double lot full of freeway weeds. It's now approaching 20 years of age and holding up well (bless you Briggs & Stratton) despite my neglect. But it won't do the lawn by itself. And like me, it's reticent about doing the job. The first spring startup is always the hardest, like pushing a bear out of hibernation. Kaschoong chg chg ch ch ch. Kaschoong chg chg ch ch ch. Adjust the throttle. Kaschooong chg chg ch ch ch. Adjust again. Kaschoong ch ch. Nope, too much. Adjust again. Squirt another priming shot of gas. Kaschooong chg chg chg ch ch ch. Kaschoooong chg chg chg chg ch ch. Straighten, groan as the back protests. Look at the lawn. Yeah, it's getting long. It's dry too; not as heavy to carry to the compost heap. Kaschoong chg chg chg. Kaschoong chg chg chg ch ch ch. And so on until either the mower starts or I quit. Usually I quit.

Lawns were invented to give the impression that you were a gentleman landowner, not a farmer who had to use every foot of land to raise crops. A lawn is a sign of prosperity, of comfort.

I can't wait for summer when the damn thing goes into hibernation.

On the needles

While I'm watching my grass grow, I'm busy putting together the pattern for the Olympic sweater. Cross your fingers, kiddies; mama's hoping it will be purchased and published in a book. This is taking me away from the Rubbah Slippah Mystery project, but that's okay. I'm getting inspiration from other areas for it and corrupting the innocent with it. I'll have it done by the time I'm supposed to go deliver it to its intended recipient.

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