Posts Tagged ‘say no to mow’

I just harvested my first golden raspberries this weekend [they did not last long enough for pictures; Word and I devoured them right promptly], and there’s been some speculation about whether or not these are anything like the cloudberries my grandmother talked about gathering as a child in Norway. That’s not a question I can ask her anytime soon, and I have no absolute convictions about whether the departed can look across the veil to see what we’re up to here. BrightCloudEdgeBut if they could, I would hope that the Meadow looked welcoming; that they’d look past the overgrown hedges and be understanding about the incredible amount of rain that’s been making mowing impossible. HighSummerFlowersLook over this way: I’ve edged most of the perennial beds with bricks.  Look over there: the daylilies have started and the monarda is looking fine.  We’d like a patio over here, with space for a grill or firepit.  Maybe put a little pond over in this section, with a motorized spring to keep the bugs under control, and ceramic koi on clever little sticks… BrickEdgedBedsDragonflies dart here. Hummingbirds and hawkmoths know to stop by.  In the winter, the hop-pop birdies scratch around for all the aster seeds.  This year’s asters haven’t started yet, but I can see the buds starting to set…. These are the signals I send, to say ‘One of our kind lives here.’ ‘Times have changed, but not so much.”  “Hello!  I remember!” This is how I leave the light on, just in case….


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Last fall’s carve-outs from the lawn were the long bed in the back right of this photo and the two brick-edged sections in the foreground:DSC_0020

This fall, rather than perennials from Bluestone, it’s bulbs and a few more peonies from Van Engelen, from whom I’ve been ordering since….oh, could it be 20 years now?  Maybe.  I’ve had several different gardens in that amount of time, with generous contributions to the gardens of relatives and friends along the way.

Alas, I once again missed the window for ordering winter aconites, and I completely forgot to get crocus.  Ah well.  I’m going to have plenty enough digging to do….

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Although I haven’t died, and none of my exes live in Texas [in fact, I’m more likely to stumble upon them via Facebook].

It’s September, start of the academic [and Jewish] year, and I’m trying to be back here.  The cats are on a diet. The lawn has been impressively cowed by asters:

…and I might even get a manuscript started today.

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Actually, I had planned to mow.  All day as the mercury climbed, I thought: When it cools down a bit, I’ll get those two sections done.  Before it gets gelatinously humid tomorrow [because it is the weekend, and weekends do that in scenic Elsinore]….

And so I sort through papers, pay bills, prepare dinner, and wait for the sun to go back behind those trees for a bit.  And I get the lawnmower ready.

And as I’m plugging in the last bit of extension cord, and rolling towards that first patch of grass, I see them.

Blink                                                                        blink



BLINK                               blink


The fireflies were starting their show for the evening.  All through the lawn I could see little yellow abdomens swaying as the beetles climbed to the tips of grassblades, some flashing, some waiting until they were airborne to flare brightly every few seconds.

On the tips of the grass — oh, bad word.  I can’t mow through them!  It’s bad enough I’m going to have to trim back the fig trees this fall and risk losing part of next years crop. I can’t justify decimating this year’s lightning bug population and next year’s as well, just because my neighbors want the world to be manicured.  There should be beauty in the evening, too.

So I mowed a section where the lightning bugs were not hovering and blinking at one another, and then went inside to share dinner with Word.

Here are two Japanese songs about lightning bugs: One focusing on the humans who watch the fireflies, the other focuses on the lightning bugs themselves [I’ve sung this one: in the translated lyrics is the gem: “Firefly’s daddy — he has lots of dough/No wonder his rear end sparkles in the dark”]

[No, the image isn’t kryptonite; it’s a backlit emerald at the Smithsonian Institute]

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I spotted an ad offering “Christian mower repair” today, and couldn’t help but wonder how I was supposed to assess the faith tradition of my lawnmower.

And behold, the Lord G*d of yardwork spoke and said “Verily, let not a single uncircumcised string trimmer be among you, lest the string feed out randomly and smite thee…”?

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…and they show no signs of groovin’ it to the borderline, probably because the neighbors might scream and kill them. What we have is a family of Northern brown snakes (Storeria dekayi dekayi), who apparently live on earthworms, crickets, and other small invertebrates, of which we now have a thriving population, thanks to lax mowing habits, new plantings, and lots of Leafgro.

I’ve seen at least one of the adults and probably five of the little ones over the last few weeks. Pretty much, I see the snake, it notices there’s something large and potentially threatening in the environment, and they move away. This works for everybody [well, probably not everybody; one of my former officemates would be terrified of setting foot in my yard if I told her there were snakes.]

I know that all of nature is not “friendly”. I wouldn’t be warm and fuzzy about a nest of copperheads (I did know someone who ran into one of those nests while mowing too close to a shrub; she survived, they did not), and I have no love for the yellowjackets that come to explore my spouse’s office. But the increased variety of bees, butterflies, mantises, and other interesting outside creatures lets me feel that my gardening in Elsinore results in good that isn’t just for myself.

Musical cue: Duran Duran, of course.

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