Tuesday, May 16, 2006

How Does Your Garden Grow? We have been having our yard "done" by a particular family for at least 30 years, off and on. They are the Everetts, and they also "did" my parents yard. We have seen at least three generations go by. I think its the third actually doing most of the work right now, with a second generation person or two doing the supervising. The adults have other jobs and its a part-time thing. I think the Everetts used their yard business not only as a means for extra income to their big family, but also as a way to teach the younger generations about work, doing a good job, being faithful They cut everybody's yard in the Springs, I think. They are a fine family. About a year ago several of them visited my mother at Epworth.

They do an "all right" job. Not the way I would do it. Lately they have been coming on Friday, when Carol and I are still at work, rather than on Saturday. On Saturday, I could talk to them easily, but now its an effort to hunt them down on Saturday. (Often we go weeks without seeing them, and then I finally hunt them down to give them a check for all the times they have done the job. They know I will catch up with them.) They literally skin the yard, and over the years I have asked them to cut the grass higher, and that works for awhile, and then they are back to skinning it. They are really dangerous with a weed eater. "Yard work" doesn't have to be perfect, as I used to tell my sons, which is advice they took to heart big time. On the other hand, there is a threshold below which it hurts me to see the quality fall. It hurts me to see our skinned lawn.

So I proposed to Carol that I do the yard work for awhile. This time she did not object, as she usually, sensibly does. I think our skinned lawn is hurting her too. So she does not object to my getting back in touch with my inner gardener, and we went to Home Depot and bought a lawnmower and a weed-eater, after consulting Consumer Reports.

As with Ham Radio after years of absence, I found that lawntool technology has advanced since the last time I was in the gardening business. The main lawnmower advance is an electric starter. This is a great thing, and removes an impediment to Carol getting in touch with her inner gardener, she promises.

Our lawn is at a sort of nadir. Not only has it been skinned within an inch of its life, the workers who are building the addition on the back of our house have destroyed our sprinkler system. So whatever the Everetts have left of our lawn has been drying up and only weeds are surviving. Its a terrible thing to see. (Coincident with our visit to Home Depot, however, the spring dry season appears to have broken; we got a huge thunderstorm yesterday and there is more rain to come.)

CT has a review of a book that offers a sort of theology of gardening. Maybe mowing the lawn has a sort of spiritual aspect to it. It would not surprise me. (Mike Maris probably has an opinion in this respect.) I've always enjoyed cutting the grass and anything else vegetative and alive within reaching distance of an ax, saw, machete, or hedge clippers.

As to the Everetts, I will keep close watch on how much I will have spent in re-equipping the tool inventory. When I've gone enough weeks without paying the Everetts to make up for what I have invested, I will look at the question again. As in years past when I tired of my inner lawn worker, I may hire them again and give them all the lawn tools I collected and feel really good about cleaning out space in the garage, as I get in touch with my inner garage cleaner.

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