Grumbles From Granni39
Mowin' 'n Growin'


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"Your diamonds are not in the far distant mountains or in the yonder seas; they are in your backyard..."
                    - Russell H. Conwell


I LOVE mowing the lawn - the whole acre! Well of course, it's a riding mower; do I look stupid? Okay so I look mindless out there, twisting and turning through the evergreens and dogwoods, the Siberian pea, wild rose and all that stuff we planted years ago - to encourage nature's critters to be comfortable in our yard... and you may think I am.
I scratch myself on a branch and lose my earprotectors, trying to get close in under the Autumn Olive - I suppose it should be trimmed a bit. Set the brake - get the ear-things - darn, they're broken! I see the meter reader for the gas company and think about the way I felt during the five-minute siren test last week. Now, wouldn't I look ridiculous carrying a pistol for protection during this escapade... not to mention how dangerous it could be to ME... clumsy as I just was!
Down around the ditch I have to stop and wait for the little garden snake to scurry out of my way. Don't want to be hurting him! He helps keep the bug population down. He's not REALLY scarey when I know he's there, it's only when he surprises me that I jump!

Around the Siberian pea (don't those branches just lean over way too far?) I remember the few years that we just put the whole front yard into annual flowers! The crimson and golds of the zinnias, the tall, graceful and fernlike cosmos, with nasturtiums creeping and climbing about. An occasional sunflower would pop up in unexpected places - no doubt from birds dropping the seeds after dining at the feeders. It was beautiful! But then, weeding them became a chore - easier to mow, so now we have grass.
I try to mow around the big old apple tree (wasn't it advertised as a dwarf tree?) and can hardly get between it and the house. Suppose we'll need to trim it or cut it down one of these days. Be careful not to get stuck in that hole the groundhog put in the backyard! Darn thing - the one critter I don't like to have in the yard but short of shooting him, don't know how to get rid of him (and his family). We called a critter-getter once, but he wanted to charge "by the hole" and there are lots of holes - some on the neighboring property, so how does one handle that?
Getting in close to the rhubarb and the perennial onions - trying to get that thistle mowed out. Why is it the thistle always grows in close to something you don't want to get rid of? Anyway, maybe I should leave some of it for the goldfinches. They love the seeds from the purple flower produced by this "weed." Thistle is one of the more expensive bird seeds for the feeder, too! Well, okay, I'll leave some of it.


Meanwhile Chip, one of our many chipmunks, waits for me to get out of his way so he can get back to the business of raiding the bird feeders. Sometimes he thoughtfully just picks up what's left on the ground. Can't scare them away - they entertain our cats for hours on end - chasing each other back and forth on the deck as the cats watch through the window and make clicking sounds. Those chips are worth every dollars worth of seed they waste! I think they even eat some of it.
The lilacs are done blooming, but the peonies are beginning. They permeate the yard with their delightful aroma! Even though the annuals are gone - replaced with grass - there's a perennial for almost every season - just making the air delightful!
Mowing up close to the road is reality-check time. Trash - burger wrappers, paper cups, cigarette butts - all show that "civilization" has invaded us. Even though we're "out in the country where nobody lives, Burger King and McDonald's are alive and well in our tiny town. Our mobile society buys their food, eating it in their cars and dropping their trash as they go. Can't waste time, you know?
Our road was the "scenic route" when we moved here forty-some years ago.  Driving the winding road you were truly "out in the country." The mad rush to "get out of the city" began and now many of our bean fields and meadows have become giant houses where residents can reach out their window and shake hands with their neighbors! They moved out in the country and began creating what they were escaping... and with them came the traffic and the trash.

Ah, so much for progress.

June 12, 2002