Sunday, July 9

Of Grass and Gas

In my first year as a homeowner, I have discovered one of the ironies of academic life which I never noticed when I was an apartment-dweller. All through the academic year I thought to myself about how much more time I would have over the summer to do work on the house and spend time doing the projects that I was postponing. And then summer arrives, and first I am totally burned out and by the time that goes away I am so far behind on my to do list that I don't know where to start with research let alone house projects. But that's not the irony. The irony is that any extra time I do have to spend on the house is immediately sucked up by the extra work that taking care of a yard requires over the summer.

Now, we have a yard the size of a postage stamp. And a significant portion of that postage stamp is taken up by our various garden beds. But there is still lawn that needs to be mowed and weeds that grow all over the place.

When we moved here from Metropolis, we of course needed to buy a lawnmower. And despite the great sales pitch that one of our friends has given us to buy a robot lawnmower like the one that he has (which does everything except bring you drinks or let you check your email, and they are working on those features for the 2007 edition), we went to the opposite end of the technological spectrum and bought a push mower:

That's right: no electric power, no gas power, no riding seat. Just me and my own two legs (or K, but somehow the task of mowing the lawn almost always falls to me). We went this route not because it was cheaper (although it was) or because it was more environmental (we had yet to see an inconvenient truth at that point) but because last summer when we had borrowed a gas mower it was more work to get its bulk to and from the garage than it was to actually mow the lawn. And this mower is much lighter and easier to carry.

In addition to grass that grows really fast, we of course have a ridiculous number of weeds. And after the angry letter we got last summer from the borough we aren't taking any chances. Which means we let our weeds grow until they start to seem like we might get another angry letter (which coincidentally is also the same time when they start being hard to pull out and need to be trimmed or whacked with more serious machinery) and then we chop them down. And this is how I spent my morning today, which means that I am very sweaty and our compost pile now has an extra three foot pile of weeds on top of it.



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