Monday, November 21, 2005

Keep all the nature in

Spent a good chunk of this weekend preparing the house for Thanksgiving. The schedules are just too tight this year for us to get back east, so we're doing the big shebang and having friends over.

We really should entertain more, because it's the only thing that makes us do a proper top-to-bottom cleaning. (To be fair, a proper cleaning combined with top-to-bottom throwing of clutter into a room where guests won't see it.) We've suggested keeping the house clean by having friends over Sunday to hold Iron Chef: Battle Leftovers.

Mostly, we're cleaning up the inside, but the outside needed a little touchup too. (Apparently, Herself was right, and the patio furniture really won't put itself away. I thought there was a chance.) As I was giving the patio a sweep, I thought of folks like Hugh and John and Rob and all their leaf raking.

And I smirked a superior little smirk. You think differently about lawn care when there's 2 acres of lawn to think about. With just a little mental squinting, you're not a slob who won't rake, but an ecologically-minded landowner who "grasscycles." The way I see it, all those leaves came out of that exact dirt, so we may as well let them go back to it.

Your mileage may vary, of course, but it doesn't seem to hurt our lawn any to leave them there over winter. (Actually, the ditch down by the road gets a little smothered, but running over the leaves with the riding mower helps. The grass bounces back in about a week in the spring anyway.) I know that I could be raking all those leaves into a really impressive compost pile. Not having that black gold when spring comes around is perhaps my one regret, but I do well enough composting my other yard and kitchen waste.

My mom is probably reading this with great pride by now. I learned a deep respect for composting from my folks: a mix of fascination at the process and bemusement that people will actually sweep "waste" out of their yard, pay tax dollars to have it picked up, wait 6 months, and then go buy it back at a markup. (We had an article in the Dispatch about this recently; I didn't think the tone was sufficiently ironic. Face it: if this is you, you're at the bottom of that particular economic food chain.)

Part of it is that I don't have the fascination with the lawn that a good suburban boy is supposed to have. A big swath of green is just boring to me. We'd have a meadow if village code didn't get in the way. What actually fills me with wonder are the little postage stamp urban gardens of Dublin and London. With barely enough room to move a rake, these people have a riot of color to watch. Seems like a better payout for your effort to me.


Blogger John B. said...

Yet more proof that I need a riding mower...

The wife keeps telling me that I only have a city lot to worry about and that a riding mower would be 'overkill'.

I think not... :)

9:38 AM, November 21, 2005  
Blogger tommyspoon said...

Sweetie and I struck a compromise this year: she raked the front yard's leaves into the curb while I mowed/mulched the leaves in the back yard (and mowed the front yard as well).

I suppose we should compost, but I'm just not that interested in it yet. That may change if your wife gets me into canning...

1:29 PM, November 21, 2005  
Blogger lemming said...

Any campers in the back yard?

1:59 PM, November 21, 2005  
Blogger Alison said...

Not so far, but we remain hopeful :-)

7:17 PM, November 21, 2005  
Blogger Joe said...

John: Clearly not. But perhaps, for efficiency, you and a neighbor should go in together, and just mow both lawns at once. I bet the wife would buy that! ;-)

Spoon: The nice thing about decomposition is that you don't really have to get that "into" it... a little work helps, but it will take care of itself. That said, it's hard to justify unless you do enough gardening to use it.

Lem: I think they've gone south for the winter.

7:39 PM, November 21, 2005  
Blogger Reggiemonster said...

Black gold is addicting. We've been rakers and haulers since moving into this little house with a huge back yard and several 100+ year old trees. The mowing has come in the form of a reel mower- which made mowing rather sporadic and an all-day affair. But just today we took the plunge and purchased a cordless electric mower- it has a mulching feature and comes with a bag. All we need when it arrives is for the rain to stop and we'll be able to mulch the leaves before they hit the compost pile- we can't wait. It's the little things...

7:34 PM, November 22, 2005  

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