Full disclosure: I’m a girl. I mean sometimes I’m SUCH a girl. The thing is, I am really smart. I can figure out most situations I face. Even in a conversation where the subject is completely unfamiliar to me, I can usually follow the thread just by breaking down the vocabulary. However, there are certain situations that overwhelm me to the point of debilitation. Most of those include a shopping scenario in which I have to figure out what to get.
Since I moved into my house late in the summer last year, I never really had to work on my yard. The one time my lawn needed to be mowed, my neighbor took care of it for me.
A couple weeks ago, I got a letter from my homeowners’ association reminding me that I’d bought a home in a nice neighborhood, and that we all wanted to respect each other and care about each other, and so could I please take time to police the weeds in my backyard. In my defense, one of the reasons I haven’t done anything with my backyard is that Richmond (the company that built my house) has told me a few times that they need to re-grade my backyard. So, the following weekend, I spent time a few hours digging out weeds. One of my neighbors suggested I just poison the weeds instead of doing all the work to dig them up. As someone who sits in front of a computer all day, I preferred the work.
Although my lawn is still more brown than green, things started coming to life over the last week. Due to the rains we’ve had over the last week, the weeds in my backyard are getting quite happy. Time to deal with the sad state of disrepair. The state: weeds in the landscape rocks (isn’t that why they put landscaping fabric down first–to prevent the weeds?) and scraggly, unhappy-looking grass in the front yard; prolific weeds in the backyard.
Friday Afternoon: I stopped by the man store to buy poison, lawn feed, and cutting tools. I stood in the poison aisle for the longest time. Yes, there is an entire aisle, and I was completely overwhelmed. I had received advice ranging from “Round-Up is the best, it’ll kill your weeds dead;” “Round-Up is poison, it’ll kill the ecosystem dead, hire a ‘green’ lawn-care service.” Ok, here’s the thing: my lawn has a footprint smaller than that of my smallest bedroom… I’m not hiring someone to take care of that. I texted a friend to see what he thought. His advice was, “you’re not a man, so ask for directions!!” I just picked out the super-duper Round-Up and headed to the next item.
I needed something to make the grass happy so it would grow. Somehow I felt like the manager of a circa 1950’s entertainment artist: uppers and downers for my yard just so it’ll perform the way I want it to when I want it to. Fortunately, as I stood in the lawn-food aisle, someone walked by who could help me. Scott’s Turf was what was recommended–”do you have dandelions?” “no, I haven’t seen dandelions in my yard or those of my neighbors.” “ok, then just get the regular Scott’s Turf; otherwise, you’d get the one with weed control.” (guess what I saw on my lawn when I got home… yup.) He asked how big my yard was. “Ummm….” “Ok, compared to this aisle…?” “Ah, yes, like 4 of these squares.” “Get the small bag.” … Next
I wanted a scythe for the times I need to chop down tall weeds or grass. Do they still make scythes? I don’t want a weed wacker because I’d rather my yard work actually involve work. I headed to the full-length garden tool area (shovels, rakes, etc)… and there it was! And only one option! Hurray!!
Now for the lawn mower. Again, I don’t want a gas- or electricity-operated machine for that. Fortunately, they do still make reel mowers. There were two options: $200 for the fancy one and $100 for the regular one. Choosing simplicity, I headed for the checkout counter and on my way home. When I got to the car, I was surprised to find that the several hours I had spent in the man store actually took a little less than an hour.
Saturday Morning: Don the old t-shirt and shorts overalls. Skip breakfast because it’s too much trouble (this proved problematic later). Armed with the directions and my adjustable wrench, I head to the garage to build the new lawnmower. Everything went together just as directed, until I got to the part about attaching the handle to the mower. The base of the handle was wider than the space it was supposed to slide into. After working on it for 20 minutes, I was able to muscle and finesse it into place. I did a quick victory dance, and then looked to make sure none of my neighbors was about.
The upside to having a yard as small as mine: I poisoned the front-yard weeds, mowed the lawn, fed the lawn, and pulled all the backyard weeds in about an hour and a half.
By the way, while I enjoy the physical activity of working in the yard, I’m very grateful for my sprinkler system.