Sunday, May 3, 2009

Clogging the chute

I don't think I've ever done a poorer job of mowing the lawn -- any lawn, ever. The grass was high, thick and wet by the time I got to it this morning, and the broadcast cuttings now dry in clumpy rows, practically begging to be baled. Un-mown "skippers" are everywhere. I should've known better.

Actually, I do know better.

This time of year, 15 days is way too long between shearings. I could blame it all on the weather, but that wouldn't be entirely true. Truth is, I think I secretly enjoy watching dandelions bloom, the yellow flowers becoming seedy puffs guaranteed to get the neighbors cussing. Let 'em cuss.

Ours isn't a weed-free lawn because, dammit, I don't want one. The manicured, monochromatic green carpet typical of suburbia bores me. Weeds, on the other hand, are colorful. Weeds are interesting.

This yard really is mostly grass, at least by some loose definition. In addition to dandelions it also includes patches of ajuga and violets as well as spring beauties. We even let the crabgrass bloom. And one of the best things about mowing our lawn in the spring is the sharp, oniony aroma of wild garlic -- the stuff is all over the front yard.

Out back the air is heavy with the sweet scent of lilac and honeysuckle blossoms. The latter is anything but subtle, because we don't have honeysuckle bushes, we have honeysuckle trees.

No kidding -- when they're 15 feet tall and 20 feet across, they qualify as trees and we've got three. The smell, pleasant as it is in small doses, is enough to make a grown man woozy.

Today also was the day when I took my annual shower in conifer pollen. When I try to mow close to one particular Virginia pine, invariably the tree's pregnant clusters burst and cover me with yellow dust.

Fortunately, I don't suffer from allergies (touch wood).

With my shameful mow-job finished and the tractor back in the barn, I grabbed a pair of snips and harvested sprigs of honeysuckle and lilac, along with our last two crimson tulips. I transferred the fresh and fragrant flowers to vases, which now brighten our kitchen and dining room.

As I type this, a wonderfully cool spring breeze wafts through my office window. I think I smell onions...