Today I mowed the yard a first time for Spring 2010. The grass, shoots of rascally clover really, got a little tall and untidy this year due to traveling, construction and such. That first time is always a stick cleaning, leaf raking endeavor as well, rather a spring cleaning for the grass. I love to mow and pushing is good exercise. I have mowed with a baby in a sling on my back, a toddler in a jumper on the porch, with kids in the sandbox, and I have dashed around the yard in laps during kiddie nap times. Though it is still my job, now that DH is retired I have a supervisor!
While I grew up in town and DH grew up on a farm, our approach to grass is opposite of what one would expect. DH wanted a lawn and toiled hard working with some sod in places, spraying weeds in others. One day his parents walked up the drive when our car was parked on the lawn for some reason; the window was open, and I heard his dad comment about “the wife letting” DH park there. If he only knew, it was DH who was a stickler about the lawn and had just frowned on me for letting the boys dig in the dirt there.
I grew up with a dad who was a terrorist with his yard. Mom could have no flowers or yard ornaments that had to be mowed around in the summer. Dad would often mow twice a week to keep that grass in perfect condition, and no female could run a mower correctly. Trees were not to be climbed and kids NEVER dug in the dirt. However, he did provide a very nice sandbox for us girls. In the fall, Dad never raked leaves like the other neighbors. He cut them up as fine as a cabbage slaw with the mower, saying old leaves were good mulch for both the soil and the next crop of grass.
After that upbringing, I wanted a yard to be just that--a yard while the boys were growing up. There would be plenty of time after they were grown to have a lawn. I thought soil should be mounded for Tonka road graders and soup spoons should dig ponds for plastic cows. Boys should swing their legs up on lower limbs and climb upwards reaching for the heavens. During the time I had a garden in the back yard, I winched as soccer balls slammed my tomatoes, but I lived with it.
One day a neighbor from a couple of doors down the street walked up and offered to give me lawn advice. She was retired and her lawn was artificial turf perfect. In the autumn, when a leaf dared to fall on her lawn, it was picked up immediately. Mrs. X offered me a solution to dandelions, a brand name that would kill them all. When I said I loved dandelions, that the yellow flowers were like miniature suns, she said, “But they grow into those horrible heads with seeds.” I told her I knew and that the boys loved to puff and blow them apart to float on the wind. She turned on her heel and escaped to her own lawn that was as green and uniform as cellophane Easter grass!