Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Lawn Ranger Goes Over the Top

I dragged out the spreader on Sunday and spread noxious chemicals across my lawn. This was not as satisfying as it might seem.

Our lawn is a patchwork of many things, most of which are not green and those that are green are not any uniform shade thereof. There are wide swaths of purple and splotches of bright yellow, and I have taken to calling the whole conglomeration "The Southern Wisconsin Dandelion and Creeping Charlie Preserve." There must be a grant in there somewhere, surely. What isn't yellow or purple ranges from clover green to crabgrass green to actual grass green, with clusters of yet-another-shade-of-green daffodil stems randomly strewn about. Sometimes there are daffodil flowers too, which complement the dandelions quite well I think, but those bulbs are over a decade old now and are mostly just plum tuckered out these days.

I find this all rather charming, when I stop to consider it at all.

As a general rule, the only thing I do to the lawn is chop it down every so often in the summer time. Having grass long enough to lose the cats is generally frowned on in our neighborhood of tidy, uniformly green lawns. The neighbors will put up with my colors - Creeping Charlie is common around here, though our lawn seems to have more of it than most - but forests of grass are just right out. This is why I kind of like the clover, actually, since it only gets so tall and is, from a distance if you look quickly and squint a little, easily mistaken for actual grass.

But twice a year the shame gets too much around here, and I am tasked with the Weed And Feed duties.

You would think this would be fun. The spreader is a simple yet fulfillingly mechanical sort of thing, with wheels and gears and actual metal parts that make me think I'm being vaguely handy by wheeling it about. And the Weed And Feed is as close to violating the Geneva Conventions as I'll ever get, with a list of warnings that starts with "Do not feed to small children or pets," escalates to "Burn all clothing worn during application of this material," and continues right through "Invest in bottled water in case any of this leeches into the river." With this kind of chemical warfare, all I need is the Red Baron and I'm back at the Somme.

But reality is always somewhat less exciting than that. The machine is balky, and only after dousing it with WD40 and laboriously clearing out the holes at the bottom with a pointed stick would it consent to roll about and drop noxious chemicals on our purple and yellow splotches. And since the targets of all this activity are plants, you really can't hear them scream in any satisfying sort of way when they get hit with the stuff. Perhaps if the spreader came with sound-effects.

It's been a couple of days, and the purple and yellow splotches are still there. They're tough little things, they are. I worry that one day they will simply rise up in one photosynthetic mass, laugh audibly at me and my spreader, and then scoop up the chemicals as if they were onion dip and eat them. Then they will burp, crumple up my spreader, and threaten me with legal action if I ever try that again.

Perhaps I should have read those warnings more carefully.

1 comment:

KimK said...

Yes, and soon it's my turn to flea-spot the cats. Similar warnings. Soon you will have no feet and I will have no hands, and together we'll make one human (almost).