I Love and Hate My Lawn

my front yard in May 2012By the middle of May when living in Florida doing yard work becomes a weekly to do item. I was pushing the mower around my yard today and got to thinking about some of the things I have read in the past about lawn maintenance. There are many articles out there that talk about keeping a well manicured lawn being a tradition that we in America still do because of traditions from over in Europe. A couple hundred years ago having a short, trimmed lawn meant that you were a person of means. Now it seems what it means is that you have achieved middle class. In some neighborhoods it seems I think to meant that you give a shit about your property values.

So maybe those of us that spend money on flowers, plants, mulch, weed killer, yard fertilizer, and all the rest for our lawns do it in an effort to satisfy some base desire we inherited from generations of crazy people who thought it meant success to have a nice yard. I do not mind writing about running shoes, or SEO stuff but this yard stuff is different. A yard is an expense both for your money and for your time. Spending at least two hours a week on just the general maintenance is enough even without all the other investments.

my backyard may 2012Aside from reading articles about our history with lawns there was also that one that I read in which God was talking about us dumb people that keep green lawns. I went and looked it up online to re-print it here. I could not find the original writer to giveĀ attributionĀ to so if anyone knows who was the original writer it would be great to know.

So here it is:

God On Lawns:

Imagine the conversation The Creator might have had with St. Francis on the subject of lawns:

God: Hey St. Francis, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there in the Midwest? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect “no maintenance” garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.

St. Francis: It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers “weeds” and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

God: Grass? But it’s so boring. It’s not colorful. It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It’s temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

St. Francis: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. The begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

God: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

St. Francis: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it… sometimes twice a week.

God: They cut it? Do they then bail it like hay?

St. Francis: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

God: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

St. Francis: No Sir. Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

God: Now let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

St. Francis: Yes, Sir.

God: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

St. Francis: You are not going to believe this Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

God: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It’s a natural circle of life.

St. Francis: You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

God: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?

St. Francis: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. The haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

God: And where do they get this mulch?

St. Francis: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

God: Enough. I don’t want to think about this anymore. Sister Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

Sister Catherine: “Dumb and Dumber”, Lord. It’s a real stupid movie about…..

God: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.

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