Saturday, May 07, 2016


Yesterday I mowed my front yard for the first time this season. It's very late; the dandelions and patchy grass (it's a very shady yard from neighbors' trees and my own maple in the front; also maple trees exude substances that discourage other plants growing in their proximity) were halfway to my knees. But until I'd got rid of last year's leaves, I couldn't mow, and I didn't get around to that until Wednesday and Thursday. I'd planned to mow then Thursday but discovered that the battery for the pushbutton starter on the mower needed to be charged for a full ten hours before using it. So, yesterday I put in the oil and gas and it started right up on the first try. I was very relieved, it was a lot of money (for me) to spend on a machine that wouldn't work well. Anyway, it did, and the grass in the front is of uniform height now. The perennial bed still has leaves in it, but those are my free mulch and part of the nourishment I'm leaving there.

It is humiliating how little physical labor it takes to flatten me these days. Two hours of raking and bagging leaves sent me indoors completely knackered; I lay down for a 30 minute nap Wednesday and conked out for three hours! And was ready to go back to bed at 11 p.m. Same Thursday - a couple of hours of (slow-motion) raking & bagging and I was Done. However, I hope to keep pushing myself so that by the end of summer I can do both yards (mowing, weeding) in one day and still stay awake at least until nightfall.

Next (Monday) I start on the east side of the house (*drifts* of last year's leaves) and the back yard (many times bigger than the front). That will be slow-motion, too. First, patrol for sticks (courtesy of the ever-shedding 90-foot Chinese elm) then walk down the east edge of the lawn with the weed-whacker, so that I can use the mower with only half its width (or less) cutting the tall grass and Creeping Charlie. Most of the yard has Creeping Charlie now; I like it - because the bees love it. I can't bring myself to mow it all down, so I'm leaving a mower-width strip along the west fence-line, and I'm leaving the entire back 15 feet or so along the back fence to do anything it likes - though I'll keep after the weed trees. I've got the brush pile in the corner back there, and I know that snakes, birds and rabbits use it, so that makes me happy, if not my neighbors (the neighbor across the back fence can't see my yard, that fence is wooden and 6 feet high).

There are several problem spots I will need to work on - all of this work I had planned out step by step on paper last spring, but then the cancer diagnosis landed and nothing else got done until now. So I'm playing catch-up really, with a whole year's yard work delayed. I've decided my five day a week job now will be working on the yard this spring and summer.

Changing the subject now: I tried soft-boiled eggs for breakfast this morning, thinking of all those Golden Age mysteries where Lord and Lady What's-it sit down with their country home guests for a leisurely buffet breakfast, with eggs perched in charming little gold-rimmed Royal Doulton china egg cups. But ye gods, what is the point of soft-boiled eggs? Half the white stays with the egg shell and the rest is a mutilated mess. Also, what's with those toast racks? Is that specially designed to make sure every piece of toast is equally cold by the time you try to apply the butter to it? And KIDNEYS? for BREAKFAST? And the British wonder why people mock their "cuisine."

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