This week has turned out to be one of the finest, weather wise, since Kristen and I bought our home in Benson last November. Of course, having seven straight days of sun and temps in the low 70s doesn’t come without a price. I couldn’t put off mowing the lawn any longer.
After years of neglect, our yard was unquestionably the worst in our otherwise picturesque neighborhood. We have big plans for our yard, but they involve tons of stone, lumber, fence posts and fresh flowers — things just out of reach for a first-year teacher and a lazy writer. Most of our efforts thus far have been focused on ripping up the old and making room for the new, and that has kept us plenty busy. We’ve already cut down seven trees on our 1/4-acre lot, cleared a dump-truck load of hedges, storm debris and beer bottles from the gutter that surrounds our house and reshaped our existing fence to more than double our backyard. Still, all small things compared with taming the jungle that was our front yard.
My tool set available for the task at hand included an old-fashioned reel mower I bought to trim the patch of grass around our rented townhouse — clearly it was no match for the weeds and fire ants I was preparing to battle — and an ancient push mower my mother donated to our cause. After much coaxing, priming and adjusting the twine rope that was attached to the engine in place of a long-gone throttle control, the mower coughed to life. The impromptu throttle control put the mower in the same sound class as a strung out, oil-thirsty Harley. It fought diligently, but three tanks of gas later, it tapped out. Though more than half of their comrades had fallen, the weeds had won…or so it seemed. As the broken mower limped into the shed, Phil, our next door neighbor, offered me his new Cub Cadet mulching mower to finish the job.
It was a wonderful act of mercy, and a great way to build neighborly relations, but I’m sure Phil was just as glad to have our weeds out of sight as we were.