Mow betta

Simplifying one’s life starts with simplifying one’s motivations. My refusal to crank up the A/C in the house until the temperature got into the 90s this week, for instance, was motivated by the simple desire to keep the electricity bill down. And I’ve ignored the lawn up to now, because I was basically in dolce far niente mode all week and utterly lacked motivation. I can’t put it off forever, of course, so I took a trip down to the factory parts depot (which inexplicably is closed Saturday) and bought a new blade for the mower. (Yeah, I could probably have the old one sharpened, but a new one was less than $25.) The idea was to install it this afternoon, and then hit the grass running, or at least loping, tomorrow.

And then the clouds came in, dark and menacing. Mindful of the weather forecast — it’s supposed to start raining by tomorrow night and keep it up for a couple of days — I blew off the installation and gave the yard one last trim with the old blade. To my surprise, it worked fairly well, considering I’d accidentally set the cut height at around an inch and a half instead of my preferred two inches.

Incidentally, the packaging for the new blade consists of about 20 square feet of Saran Wrap and a sticker with a barcode. This works about as well as you think it does at the task of protecting one’s mitts. I wonder how they package them if you order them from the Web site (same price).



  1. fillyjonk »

    25 April 2009 · 7:34 am

    I already had to mow my lawn once, but that was mainly to knock down some of the weeds. (I refuse to expose myself – and, I suppose, the local waterways – to poisons just so I can have a “neater” lawn. Especially not in the neighborhood where I live)

    I’ve also already had to put the A/C on, but that was because my lungs were threatening to strangle me if it got any hotter/more humid in the house.

  2. Tatyana »

    25 April 2009 · 10:01 am

    We had only got our first 70F+ day this season here, after a millenium of 30F-winter greyness! [I have a nagging suspicion AlGore was secretly living uptown all this time; no other explanation seems plausible].

    I think I asked that already; if yes, forgive me I don’t remember your answer.
    Why do you need to have a lawn at all? You just like it, out of aesthetic reasons? Your neighborhood association demands it? You feel more secure by having unobstructed [by tall grasses that might hide a tiger in] view from the front windows?

  3. CGHill »

    25 April 2009 · 10:22 am

    Basically, there are about 10,000 square feet of lot here that aren’t covered by house. And while the district ordinance doesn’t demand that I maintain a yard, except to the extent that if I have one it must be maintained, the thinking behind the ordinance in the first place is that the neighborhood should be a period piece, and that period is 1946-1950, a period when distant suburbs like mine, which are now part of the inner city (go figure), had lawns. The fact that I have more lawn than anyone else on the block is a consequence of the way the place was platted: the street is curved, and my lot is wedge-shaped. I would happily sacrifice the first few feet of the lawn for some proper sidewalks through here — the foot traffic on the street surely justifies it — but I’d probably lose my elm tree in the process. (Maybe they can put it on the other side of the street.)

    Besides, there’s a lot to be said for just lying out in the sun and soaking up some rays, and I’d just as soon not do that on a concrete slab.

  4. CGHill »

    25 April 2009 · 10:29 am

    Actually, now that I think about it, they’d have a hell of a time running a sidewalk along my side of the street, at least in front of my house, where there’s a pretty continuous grade from curb to frontline: they’d never get it to the point where it was horizontal enough to walk on. (If the roads are winter-slippery, it’s difficult to climb my driveway, even walking.)

  5. Tatyana »

    25 April 2009 · 10:49 am

    So, in your mind it’s either concrete or a lawn, nothing in between?
    I’m sure it’s possible to think up a few options that don’t include either: a prairie grass garden on terraces, for instance, to accommodate your raised grade, or alpine type of landscaping (with stone weaving paths and raised beds).
    In my opinion, it is more efficient, in the long run, to plant slowly-growing plants which don’t need cutting down than to put dawn a lawn you have to constantly spend time and money on maintaining. It’s a better investment, it looks more natural and more suited to the climate.

  6. CGHill »

    25 April 2009 · 11:21 am

    The prairie starts about twenty minutes west of here; I’m in the far end of the Cross Timbers area, where grass grows like mad. However, this is also the hot end of the Cross Timbers, which means that a lot of the nifty grasses that prevail up north — your Kentucky Bluegrasses and such — will die horribly in a single summer. So I’ve made my peace with Bermuda for the time being.

    I do need to back away slightly, though. My rule has always been to have neither the worst nor the best lawn on the block, and while I’ve now pulled well ahead of the worst, I may be getting perilously close to “best” status. Maybe I should have blown off my usual spring aeration treatment.

  7. Tatyana »

    25 April 2009 · 12:38 pm

    You’re a such a chameleon!

  8. CGHill »

    25 April 2009 · 5:05 pm

    My inconsistency is consistent.

  9. fillyjonk »

    27 April 2009 · 6:43 am

    In my neighborhood, if I converted my front lawn to a vegetable garden (even in These Current Hard Times) or a prairie, I’d surely have a small mob showing up with torches and pitchforks.

    I already have a neighbor who keeps pushing cards from her Fly-By-Night-Trust-Us lawn service at me.

    While there are other lawns that are less conformist than mine in the neighborhood, I do not currently have the mental energy to deal with going WAY non conformist.

  10. fillyjonk »

    27 April 2009 · 6:46 am

    Also, a lot of communities have “weed ordinances” that can be used to fine people who let their plantings – whatever they may be – grow over a certain height. In my parents’ town, there was a woman who converted her yard to a flower garden…and a couple neighbors came after her with the Weed Ordinance. It turned into such a drawn-out fight that she would up pulling out all the plants and leaving her yard as plain dirt for a while.

    Again: I do not possess the mental energy to deal with that kind of situation.

  11. ms7168 »

    27 April 2009 · 8:42 am

    Had you paid to have your lawn weed controlled you would not be mowing yet as the bermuda is just now starting to wake up. Unless you are one of those who insists upon scalping the yard the first mow of each season.

  12. CGHill »

    27 April 2009 · 9:58 pm

    Were it pure Bermuda, this would be true. However, there are rogue grasses here and there which have been sticking their heads above the rest; I’ve done, in fact, only about a sixth of the front yard and maybe half the back.

    After a week of rain, I expect all the varieties to be more or less caught up.

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