Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Grazing in the (Crab)Grass

One of the things that my Wingman was the best at was maintaining the yard and especially his pristine lawn.  I mean it, that grass stood at attention when he went outside.  If the NY Yankees' grounds crew had ever done a flyover of our yard, it might have garnered him a new career. I however, chose to be on a need to know basis only-I just needed to know the grass was green while he mulched, de-grubbed, sprayed and spread "stuff'. 

If he wasn't already dead, Superstorm Sandy would have killed him.  Forget that there was three feet of water everywhere inside the house.  Wingman would have had a heart attack seeing the mud that covered the Arborvitae. Lumber, marsh reeds and trash was everywhere.  All the beach grasses were smashed from floating debris.  The tree that sent out shoots that he cursed every spring was uprooted and perched precariously on the deck and roof, preventing us leaving by the back door.  And when the service came to take down that tree, the crane and chipper left deep ruts all over the back yard.  But priorities prevailed. The house needed all of my attention and six months from the day I left, I was back in. I didn't look back.  I also didn't look out the window.  Until last week...

Hmmmm.....brown bushes, overgrown edging, and those damn ruts are still there.  I opened the shed expecting a miracle to show me what I needed to do.  It was empty. Everything that had been in there was ruined by the flood waters, so the lawn mower, weed whacker, snow blower were all history, along with seed, fertilizer and a bunch of other muddy bags of chemicals. The big box store down the street was happy to deliver a shiny orange self-propelled lawn mower, and I filled a cart with big boy toys, gas cans and more oils than I keep in my medicine cabinet.  But just like pots and pans don't make a chef, neither does a mower make a gardener.

I didn't birth me no babies Miz Scarlett, to have to cut my own grass-you know?  That's what Wingman and his sires were for (I thought). So, dear diary, today for the first time in 31 years, I started a lawnmower.  I pulled the cord once and imagine that, it started! It also dragged me staggering along in a snake-like pattern.  Before I got hit by a car as we both careened into the street, I let go, and it miraculously stopped. I started it again and we began our Paso Doble, with it doing the cutting and me doing the sweating.  It took me roughly two hours to cut the grass-and two blisters to prove it. 

My next gardening first was using the weed whacker.  This baby's going to build me some upper body strength in the future if my arms ever stop vibrating.  I edged around all the trees, poles, etc. and if you disregard the two slices on my left leg, I'd say it was a pretty successful first outing.  What I couldn't whack, I stepped on to flatten-tomorrow's another day in weed world.

Finally, I used the spreader and put down gypsum, which I was told, neutralizes and aerates the soil and brings dead plants back to life. Really, that's what the guy in the garden center said! It looked just like the sheet rock that we ripped out from all the wet walls  back in October.  I probably could have saved myself 50 bucks if instead of having it taken away in the trash, just crumbled it up on the lawn and in the bushes with the rest of the muck. The spreader worked too slow for me, so as I was pushing it along the grass, I was also taking handfuls and throwing it at the base of the dead and dying bushes.

I envision the guys who sold me all this stuff at the box store patting themselves on the back for selling me last October's crumbled up sheet rock and waiting for me to come back to replace all the bushes.

First though, I have to deal with those little bastard tree shoots that Wingman cursed every spring.  It's summer and they're growing with the added power of Voldemort in the Harry Potter series.  I'll ask around, check the web, buy whatever will kill them.  Because my "need to know" needs to know what Wingman took to the grave with him.

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