Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Joys of home ownership

white violets
white violets
Originally uploaded by erink.
My notebook computer has become more and more unstable, and so I'm a bad blogger. No cookie.

The beau and I are discovering the joys of lawn ownership. Back when we each had our own place, we didn't care so much what our yards looked like, just managed to keep the grass under 8" most of the time. But now that we have a new neighborhood, we actually care what our neighbors think about us - at least so far!

A few weeks ago I had my first experience with internal combustion lawn tools when I decided to mow the grass. It was terrible. My arm got sore pulling the cord to start the engine, the fumes made me sick, and I spilled gasoline everywhere when I turned the thing over to see why it had stalled. Plus the mower was heavy and sprayed poo and old mulch on me. I'm starting to understand my family's love for electric mowers - I think this was my dad's bias since he and his father were longtime Westinghouse men. In retrospect, it seemed a bad choice because my childhood home had a huge grass yard, and so did my grandfather's place. I distinctly remember yards and yards of orange extension cords, and you'd see Dad off in the distance with the cord slung over his shoulder.

As the spring went on, we couldn't help but notice the big yellow spots on the front yard weren't getting any nicer. My pseudo-in-laws advised us to de-thatch and replant with perennial grass seed. Off to the home improvement superstore for a thatching blade for the mower, grass seed, and to read all the labels for "weed & feed" treatments. The grass seed told us we needed fertilizer and to water, so we got a new hose and a sprinkler. Luckily, it started raining a few days ago and hasn't stopped since, so my battles with the sprinkler are over for a while.

On the bright side, we have flowers everywhere. We haven't done a lot of yard planning, the people before us had lots of plantings and so far we're just seeing what turns up. We have azaleas and rhododendrons and tulips and some other flowering bushes I don't know. There are two orange azaleas, which seem a little weird to me, but they're pretty. And we have a big honeysuckle bush next to the back porch - the fragrance has been amazing the last few weeks. Haven't seen any hummingbirds yet.

Also I've found these weird white violets in the neighborhood; there are a few in the yard. This was a factor in our eventual decision to avoid the "weed & feed" lawn treatment, since it kills all broadleaf weeds like clover and violets.

In other news, we removed the large bird feeder, which has cut down on the pigeon population a bit. The squirrels are still there, but a friend of ours who lives across the park says he's been seeing owls and kestrels, so we figure we're still feeding the birds, indirectly!

No comments: