Friday Frivolity: Un-settling Up

The other day, Sue says to me; “Just look at this hamper.  Full again…and it’s mostly your clothes.  How do you get so much stuff dirty in such a short a time?  …And just look at the floor.  Where’d that grass come from?”

“What grass?  How can you see grass on the green carpet?

“Because it’s highlighted by the white lint from your socks!”

She’s right.  If there’s a mess, I’m likely the culprit who made it.  I gotta admit, I don’t have to work at it very hard either.  I just walk around the yard.  The tread on my sneakers works on a similar principle as a clamshell bucket of a massive excavator.  Little by little each tread crack scoops up bits and pieces of nature.  Unfortunately, my clamshell treads don’t unload until I get in the house.  You’d be amazed at how much mud can be compacted into the cracks of tennis shoes.

But it’s not just the shoes.  I can relate to Pig-Pen.  Sometimes I feel like I’m in the center of a Hoover WindTunnel vac.  The trouble is the cyclonic air ceases to move inside the house.  The dust storm following me about the yard, settles on every horizontal surface between the front door and the dog house Sue would like to shoo me to.

Even if I take off my shoes at the door, when I come in, leaves, twigs and even an insect or two, cling to my socks.  Cling at least until I get to the carpet.  It’s like the electrostatic nylon carpet has a greater attraction to rubble than my sweaty socks.  Grass clippings practically leap to the floor in a virtual Hansel & Grettle trail.  That way, Sue always knows where to find me.  Of course, she’s also the one who’s forever cleaning up after me.

But, you know…I think I’m called to that purpose.  Yeah.  It’s Biblical.

A while back, King Solomon and I were strolling through his garden.  He says to me; “Ed,”

…What?  You don’t think King Solomon spoke to me?  Look, if I said I prayed and God answered me, you wouldn’t be quite so quick to doubt that, now would you?  Well, King Solomon is just a couple steps down from God, so why not just take my word for it…The astute King led me to understand a reality of nature.

He says; “Ed, I think I’m going to watch these ants for a while.  Why don’t you go over there and check out that bee hive.”  Hey, …if God blessed Solomon with infinite wisdom, who am I to decline the assignment.

So, I checked out the hive.  You know what.  Drones do nothing but mate and make a mess.  The female worker bees, are always cleaning up after them.  If they didn’t have to clean up after the guys, the ladies of the hive would likely get bored, swarm, and leave.  So, I now follow the wisdom of nature that God displays in the bees.  I sure don’t want my queen bee to leave.

Of course when I told Sue about this Biblical revelation to me, she reminded me that the Queen drives out the lazy drones every winter.

I guess I’d better use the shop vac in the garage on the way into the house from now on.

Friday Frivolity: Mow ’em down

I just mowed my lawn for the 2nd time in a week.  And with all the rain that’s falling, I’m likely to traipse around the yard behind that mower early next week.  For most of my “home-owner” life, I didn’t put much energy into my yard.  And certainly not much effort to get the grass to grow any faster.  You’d think, in my retirement, I would not change my landscaping habits to use up valuable lounging time.  You’d think I’d much prefer suckin’ down an iced tea on the deck than mowin’ down the grass.

Oh, sure, I’ve always had flowers.  Love flowers.  The ratio of care to lounging time is better than Vegas odds for a tortoise and hare race.  Although I may complain when we decide to enlarge the flower gardens, it just means less lawn to mow.

In my history of gardening, most of that floral beauty was in segregated beds.  However, my first lawn was certainly quite resplendent in color.  Fact is, I think dandelions are awesome.  When there’s enough of them, they can make a beautiful, vibrant yellow carpet.  Once, I even tried seeding some in a small patch of garden just so I could crowd them closely together to enhance the carpet effect.

I suppose it was predictable that the neighbor wasn’t particularly pleased when the patch I chose adjoined his yard.  My first clue to his displeasure was him stomping across his yard…with his wife close behind hollering; “Please, John, NO, don’t do it.”

I’m not really sure what the “it” was, but it likely had some relevance to the weed whacker he was swinging.  I quickly gathered up my bouquet of dandelion seed heads and retreated.  No doubt the breeze caused by my quickness didn’t help his mood.  By the time I reached the safety of my garage, my dandelion bouquet was as bareheaded as I would have been had he caught up to me.  Quite sure he was thinkin’, Mow ‘em down.

Of course the fact that those seeds were dispersed more into my lawn than the flower garden was not particularly distressing to me.  Weeds of every kind took refuge in my lawn.  And I did very little to deter them.  I couldn’t see much sense in puttin’ weed-n-feed on my lawn.  It grew fast enough without the fertilizer and it seemed there was always something in bloom.  My neighbor spent huge sums of money and many hours spreading bag after bag, just to get his lawn green, thick and weed free.  Not to mention watering, spot weeding and countless other manicuring efforts.  Plus, added mowing.  I swore I’d never get caught up in that routine.

That was before retirement.  Retirement is an enormous sociological disruption to 35 years of mundane routine.  The theory is that retirement initiates freedom.   But what to do with the freedom?  Some choose to sip ice tea in an easy chair.  Some travel.  Some start hobbies they’ve never had time for previously.

I decided to fertilize the lawn.  I think retirement also initiates enormous disruptions in a previously logical mind.  Now, I’m just like the fanatical neighbor I swore I’d never be.  Now, I’m the guy with the spot weed killer, gunning down despicable invaders.

Once, Sue came out as I was on one of my reconnaissance missions against unwanted invaders.  “Hey,” she hastily hollered, “Are you sure you’ve got the right stuff?.  Her concern was well founded.    Sometimes, in these fits of vengeance, my mind has been known to overlook important details.  Details like mixing instructions.  When weeds are invading, there’s no time to waste reading infinitesimal instructions, smudged by muddy hands and torn from violent grasps of my fist  on the sides of bottles.  My concentration is on what needs killing not the concentration of the killer.

Besides, if an ounce per gallon will wipe them out in three days, undiluted will surely get the job done overnight.  What I learned with my first occurrence of such rage blinded logic… “Lawn Weed Killer” at high concentrations becomes “Round-up”.  My prediction of overnight was pretty close.  Definitely mowed ‘em down—weeds and lawn.

The other side of her concern was remembrance of another major error I made involving my passion against weed and my love of dazzling floral blooms.  I often use Miracle-Gro to enhance the beauty of our flower gardens.  One fall I decided to give our desirable plants one last dousing in hopes that they would be more vigorous in the Spring.  Besides, there was still some of the tell-tale blue Miracle-Gro liquid left over from the last application.  Why not use it up rather than store it for the winter.  I knew there wouldn’t be enough for all of the flowers, so I chose a few favorites.

It’s a good thing the jar quickly emptied and I only doused some plants.  The next spring those few favorites were gaping bare spots in our flower garden.  There aughta be a law against tinting weed killer the same shade of blue as Miracle Gro.