The lawn mower is at the top of my list of resentments. Try as I might, all it gives me is silence.
I tugged and tugged on the machine until I was in tears and near swear words. When I took a rest, lamenting my lack of lawn mower skills, I realized I was wearing away at the thin rope that appears vital to the uncooperative contraption.
In the past, taking care of the lawn was my Handsome Woodsman’s job. During the drought years we watered once a week, and he only had to bother with the lawn a few times a year. He would cut the grass as short as a competitive golf course. Many months after the grass was overgrown, he’d torture the lawn once again.
I bought a cheap-o weedwhacker, but after about 10 feet of grass, bits of string litter the grass. I triple-checked the printed directions for how to reload the string, but after three tries, 18 feet of string and tears, I decided to focus on something more rewarding.
The gravel patio outside the front door of my house is covered with potted plants, most of which are in full or partial bloom.
If the grass lawn goes to seed it won’t be the worst thing in the world. However, I hope the house doesn’t look so abandoned that squatters try to move in. The past few weeks I’ve literally been using an electric hedge trimmer on the grass. The trimmer is not ergonomically designed for low-lying greenery, and the pain in my shoulders makes me resent the lawn mower all the more.
Now sunshine and rain caused a grass growth spurt, and the grass is as tall as the weeds that grow on the sloped hills near Horseshoe Lake.
I can imagine Dave laughing at me. Before he died he tried to teach me how to start the lawn mower. It wasn’t our happiest moment. I tugged and tugged as he repeated instructions, often using that “tone,” that could sometimes lead to a spat.
When he decided to show me the ropes and fired up the machine, I announced I would clean the shower if he would just take care of the “manly job.”
I’m not usually the type of gal who considers certain jobs to be “man’s work” or “women’s work.” I just wish my particular lawn mower was not specifically built to be operated by someone with beefy forearms.
My friend Samantha, who owns a farm and drives a rig that can haul multiple tons of hay, said no problem, she could fire up the lawn mower. I was really hopeful until she also called it quits and gave me the phone number of her gardener.
For all those folks who converted their lawn to tanbark or decorative drought gardens, you have a right to laugh at me. I also wish I was looking proudly over quaint lavender and sage plants surrounded by smooth river rock. Mostly I just wish the Handsome Woodsman was here to mow the lawn.
SPRING INTO ACTION
Life is pretty busy right now. I’m taking classes to become an elementary school teacher, and studying has cut into my weed-whacking habits. Now I know why they call the season “spring.”We enjoy the plants that become wildflowers in Bidwell Park. But the “wildflowers” in our backyards are merely seeds for more weeds.
This week I filled an entire black plastic garbage bag with grass cuttings and Velcro weed. My advice for Velcro weed is to use a hoe. The plant fights back and makes welts on your wrists if you try to yank it with angry fists.
If you live in Chico, you’ve spent some quality time with Velcro weed, also known as catchweed (http://tinyurl.com/kjp5e48). It doesn’t appear to have flowers, but if you look closely there are white petals so small I can only see them if I’m wearing my magnifying glasses. When we don’t see the flowers, we think we have another week to deal with the invader. By then, tiny, tiny seeds have blown into new hiding places in your soil.
Luckily, I’m able to compartmentalize. If I look the other way while walking past the lawn, I can pretend like it doesn’t exist. By the time summer arrives that yard will look about the same as it did during the drought years.