Tuesday, December 4, 2007

What Comes After Grass

What Follows Grass?
- Calvin Bowden 11-1-07

That green stuff we used to fight with hoe, plow and sweat of the brow we now pamper with fertilizer and fungicide in our desperate efforts fo make it flourish. But in retirement, determined to live the good life in our vine covered castles amid green carpets of San Augustine, we have become grass slaves. And we thought slavery was dead.
So what follows grass that could possibly offer such outward evidence of our having earned bragging rights to such a beautiful display? Leaves. Bushels and bushels of leaves. Yelow ones, red ones and purple ones. They’re falling like multi-colored confetti, blanketing driveways, lawns and rooftops. And if you’re blessed with pines, you have to contend with their main product, pine needles.
We have a monster pine about 75 feet tall standing within 3 feet our our carport, and its main purpose is placing a layer of dead needles on the roof of our carport and surrounding area. And since getting on top of the house is now listed as a No-no along with stepladders and chain saws, we have them blown off. What we do not place around azaleas we hall to our burn pile several times during the fall months. And still they come. Man, to they come.
And the big pine has been unkind in other ways. Besides blanketing our carport and yard with combustible fodder, its roots have raised a portion of our driveway and cracked the floor of the carport. We’ve tried to find someone to give that troublesome stack of splinters to, if they’ll throw away from our house and hall it off in lengths suitable for making lumber, but so far we have no takers. So it looks like we’ll have to have cut it off in short pieces, give it to the cutter and pay him to take it. But it’s such a shame to waste such a majestic display of nature’s bounty. With the price of lumber what it is, I’m sure it would be worth a small fortune. But practicality has a way of overwhelming concerns about beauty in all things.
You wouldn’t think fallen leaves and morning newspapers have common ground, but their trails crossed last week. All you lawn mower cowboys are familiar with grass baggers and the tubes running from deck to bags. Anyway, when cutting the thick, mean stuff in the country, we take off the lower section ot the tube and broadcast the cuttings. Otherwise the wet, heavy stuff would build up under the deck and choke down the blade. But when we mow our 1 acre yard, we have to bag; otherwise the cuttings would create so much thatch it would crowd out our blessed San Augustine.
So I got ambitious one morning and set about beating my wife out of the job of picking up the leaves and pine needles on the driveway. Things went well until I got the left side of the deck too close to the out-of-town newspaper that arrives in time to read while eating lunch. I saw it, rolled in plastic, so did not allow the deck to pass over the end of the rolled-up purveyor of bad news and advertisement. What I didn’t see was the loose, open end of the plastic wrapper which extended far enough to be sucked up by the blades. ZIPP, CRASH, CLUNK.
The newspaper disappeared and my mower was shut down. I could drive it by disengaging the blade, but getting out the lodged chunk of pulp was another matter. And I couldn’t even begin to try before I drove my yard horse to the end of our culvert where I can stand in the ditch and attend to matters of mower blade and tubes without putting undue strain on the lumbar lumber.
No man could’ve jerked that entire newspaper to the opposite side of the deck and packed it that tightly between the tip of the blade and the deck wall. It was so jammed in it could not be pulled up, down or sideways. Not even with plumbers pliers. After I removed the foot of the pick-up tube from the deck to give us a clearer view of the mess I’d made, it was the wife came to the rescue, as per usual. It’s amazing what a good woman can do with a pair of sharp scissors.
So now you know what follows grass. I wanted to say it was deer hunting season, but that would’ve been like pulling a sock over an ingrown toenail and pretending it wasn’t there. As it is with everything else, one has to take care of the nitty-gritty stuff first and save the best ‘til last.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Testing the waters

Wanted to throw a rock in the lake and see if I could make some waves. Maybe some will come back my way. I'm a retired federal probation officer who thought he'd make the world a better place but didn;'t, so now he writes stuff since he didn't want to play golf and build bird boxes. If there are any other frustrated dor-gooderss and disappointed writers out there would like to hear from you. Free advice and cheerful moral builders welcomed. cc