29 April 2011

Time for Lawn and Garden

Welcome back. Did you notice? The grass started up again. It’s spring and this old man’s fancy turns as far as possible from lawn and garden. 
 
There are those amongst us who worship the rites of spring. Inside our home, my wife, Vicki, has plants on every level surface, vines hanging from the ceilings. That’s not enough. Getting outside to prune, weed, spread mulch, dig, plant, sweat, roll in the grass, bark…no, not the last…she ranks that up there with chocolate and trail runs. 
 
That’s not how I care to spend my retirement time.
 
The Lawn

I will mow the lawn if the grass taunts me by growing tall enough that it has to duck from the tallest blade setting on our gas-powered push mower. Our lot is small but mowing is a challenge. The border zone between the lot’s gently sloping front and level rear is a ski jump ramp that must be conquered.
Lawn after Warren finishes mowing.

The lawn itself is hit and misses. Two years ago, Vicki set out to restore it. I came home to find a truckload of soil dumped on our driveway (her side, thank you). She spent a week with her wheelbarrow, shovel and rake, distributing the soil equitably and seeding generously.

Failure. It’s mostly my fault. Although we unknowingly bought the only house on the block with an underground sprinkler system, which should make watering new grass a breeze, I hate to see water spritzing out every day. Anyway, indiscriminant watering isn’t wise for a lot with a hodgepodge of excessively-drained and poorly-drained areas. 
Vicki working wet spot in lawn.
 
The Garden

We have no garden. Vicki likes flowers, especially around the mailbox. I like trees, or I used to like trees. Last year we paid a Certified Arborist enough to send our cat to obedience school just to have two cedar trees pruned. The wanna-be sequoias don’t look any different.

Warren’s garden.


I wouldn’t mind having a real garden. Flowers are aesthetically pleasing, at least for the letter carrier, but we could eat a garden. Well, we could if Vicki can keep the rabbits, deer and other creatures at bay. 

You should see what she devised to keep the squirrels from her bird feeder. It even worked for a couple of days.
Neighbors’ kids helping out in Warren’s garden.
  

It’s not like Vicki hasn’t gardened before. If all else fails, I suppose she could grow veggies inside. Maybe she can find a space next to her plants and vines.

Vicki and helper laying out vegetable garden.

Wrap Up

I am so sorry. I don’t know when or how it happened, but the photograph captions got scrambled. Here are the corrections:

1) Sugarcane harvest, Puerto Rico, 1970

2) Preparing (“puddling”) a rice paddy, Philippines, 1972

3) Multicropped coconut, papaya and pineapple, Philippines, 1972

4) Harvesting pineapple, Puerto Rico, 1970

5) Vicki and colleague taking spectral measurements of an onion field, New York, 1984

I’ve got to rush off to jog and wake Vicki in time for the Royal Wedding. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll write again in about a week.

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