Tuesday 06 Dec 2016

Law of the Lawn
Jennifer Flaten

Early this spring, after the thaw revealed the morass lurking in my front yard, it became abundantly clear that someone had to go out there and clean it up.

Since everyone else called not it, I was that someone.

That is how I found myself standing in my front yard clutching a rake on the first sunny day of spring.

While the children frolicked around me, I stood knee deep in rotting leaves, various yard debris and piles of dog unmentionables.

My mood slowly darkened, as I futilely attempted to wrangle the muck into large garbage sacks.

What I really wanted was a large cold beverage. I did not want to listen to a hard sell by some flim-flam man.

Yet, that is what I was about to get.

I looked up from my efforts to cram 10 lbs of muck into a 5 lb sack and spied a cheerful fellow canvassing the neighbourhood.

The fact that our neighbourhood is off the beaten path and has a decided lack of sidewalks usually keeps the door-to-door peddlers away, but not this guy.

Since my neighbours were all snug inside their homes refusing to answer their doors, Mr. Salesman made a beeline for me.

For a moment I considered grabbing the kids and racing inside.

Instead, I heaved a big sigh and braced myself to endure his spiel. Who knows? Maybe his miracle tonic will cure what ails me?

As it turns out, he was with a local lawn care company.

Now before I go any further, there are two things you need to know about this lawn care service.

First, at one time they did some lawn work at our house and have been desperately trying to win us back. This is impossible, because they didn't do a very good job.

Our lawn is so patchy you could play checkers on it.

Still this did stop them from phone spamming us all winter. Seriously, during December they called at least once a day.

Yeah, like I want to discuss my lawn service when it is 100 degrees below zero.

All right, second thing you need to know is that they don't employee the sharpest tools in the shed to canvas neighbourhoods.

That little fact became obvious with his opening line. He approached me as I was furiously raking the grass and asked me 'so who does your lawn??

At which point, it took all my resolve not to hit him in the head with the rake while screaming ?who does it look like you moron?.

You might pick up the house a little before the maid comes, but I highly doubt you would clean up the yard before the lawn service comes.

Needless, after such an asinine question I ran him off the property.

Who needs a lawn care service?

Well, okay if you drove by my house you might think I need a lawn care service-badly.

My lawn, well it looks a little- mmm, what would be the word-ah yes! Natural!

Yes, yes that's it my lawn looks natural.

It is naturally patchy, naturally filled with colourful dandelions and wild violets that the kids adore, and naturally ignored until it is so high you can't spot the cat.

I admit it; I look with envy at the smooth green manicured lawns of the neighbours.

While it's tempting to have a lawn that looks like a Masters Tour putting green, there is something faintly unnatural about it or so I like to tell myself.

Truth is, even if I had the disposable income I wouldn't employ a lawn service.

I really don't believe in using a bunch of chemicals to make the lawn green, it is after all grass. It comes back every year.

Besides, how can anything that requires the person doing the application to be suited up as if they are doing a spacewalk be good?

Furthermore, I don't get a warm fuzzy feeling from the line of ?Caution Highly Toxic? ?Keep Pets and Children Off? signs that the services place in your lawn every 2 inches after they apply the chemicals.

In addition, I don't believe in wasting water to keep the grass green.

Especially, with little kids who adore splashing around in the pool in summer, you know how high my water bill is already? Can you imagine if I used even more water keeping the lawn green?

I most assuredly don't find it natural to spend 8hrs a day maintaining the lawn.

I have neighbours who get up at the crack of dawn every Saturday to mow, weed & feed and do god knows what else to their lawn.

I'll admit that most of the neighbours are retired and seem to enjoy making a day of lawn care. I got better things to do-like look for the cat; I think he's lost in a clump of violets in the front yard.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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