Back in the Saddle – September 9, 2020

I wasn’t wrong guessing where the lawn’s grass would be when I returned from “up north.”  Wasn’t entirely correct either.  A matter of degree.  It was thick and healthy, but it didn’t compare to baling hay. Adjusting the deck so the mower took three-quarters of an inch less off the top, I avoided using the bagger.  There are a couple of reasons why that was a good idea. 

With the bagger it takes three times as long to mow.  Reckon at the “normal” height I’d have emptied the bag three if not four times.  Each time, stopping the mower to transfer clippings to compost, it is harder for a not-young dude to bend over, reattach the bag, and yank the starter rope for the next pass.  Since I put chemicals on the yard, I can’t put the clippings on the active compost, either. 

It’s best to have grass clippings and residual chemicals cycle three years before being eligible for compost.  When it became apparent we’re going to sell here, three compost piles, besides taking time to manage, would have to be removed before sale.  Not many urbanites keen on recycling, fewer understand “chemical residue,” and yet less willing to invest the time and sweat to get the quality compost from their own kitchen, yard, and tree “waste.”  Even “for free!” doesn’t seem to interest them.

So, already I’m down to one compost pile.  A modest amount of foresight. When what I have in the one pile is sufficiently decomposed, it goes directly onto a flower, herb, or veggie bed.  In practice, I only pull two-thirds of the compost pile to waiting beds, leaving the last one-third to accelerate the next “batch.”  It works well.  Kind of like starter for sourdough bread.

Cutting grass higher means I’ll likely cut again Sunday with the deck at normal height.  That will be two cuttings but will still take less total time than cutting once and bagging.  Too, if I bagged, I’d have a good amount of chemically tainted clippings to dispose of.   Those few sturdy neighbor males (and at least two women) who still tend their own yards when grass is so thick it would leave piles of clippings to mess up the picture-perfect manicured look so desired here in the burbs, put those clippings in bags for the garbage pick-up.  Wrong, to my way of thinking; unnecessary additions to the landfill and depriving the yard of the nutrients left when finely chopped by a “mulching” mower.

Cutting twice, my mower, with its blade sharp, will add all the clippings to the in situ mulching process.  Both times to get me back in synch with the still growing grass.  Win-win.

Took a little extra care in trimming and edging, starting prep for the up-for-sale run come spring.  Spring, hopefully.  We’ll see.  A lot to do.  Started knocking down some of the vegetable plants.  They’re past producing, for the time of year exacerbated by the fact that this trip away we did not ask a willing neighbor to pop over and water the beds.  Covid and all, you know.

This spring surely, we’ll have to plant some annuals.  Big tussle expected when I insist on all ornamental plants.  Once again, burb buyers are not interested on edibles, preferring curb-appeal daisies, petunias, and such.  I’m not against them, but when I’m the one living here, I’m good with ornamental plants only where edibles are inconvenient. Bigger tussle when I decommission all the big planters on the deck and refuse to do the spring plantings of annual herbs on the larger beds and surrounds. 

Herbs that “overwinter” will be the biggest challenge. I’ll want to abandon them, empty the pots of soil, and clear the deck. Resale, you know.

Traffic wasn’t too bad this last trip.  I drove.  As a youngster, it was a piece of cake to drive twenty-hours, stopping only for fuel and a bite to eat.  Not anymore.  Lots of “necessary” stops.  Not so many “idiots” on the roads, either.  They were in hiding or I was just supremely lucky. Coming and going. Mostly nice weather too. That helped.

Checking on outstanding email from WordPress, I believe I’m almost caught-up. I may go back to reread a couple of pieces posted by folks I’m following.  Working in a spot where I was frequently interrupted, and placement of computer and keyboard wasn’t optimal, replying while on the road was neigh impossible.  I have difficulty working with a laptop keyboard.  Manufacturers put the (tiny) devil in an awkward position, requiring odd wrist angles and errant cursor movement and ‘click’ detents.  I have large (male) hands, suitable to lifting bricks and stretching wire, bullying shovels, hoes, rakes, and wrenches.  So, I cable-in a real mouse and keyboard if at all possible.  Carrying the extra pieces of gear is awkward too, but when connected, I can at least type with fewer mistakes and much less swearing.

“Real mouse.” There’s a genuine laugh.  Of course, I don’t mean the fury little vermin.  What I meant of course is one I can hold in my hand and “clicking” is an intentional act, “hovering” not unexpectedly getting in the way, and the thumbwheel is (for my purposes) ever so much more accurate and faster.

Day one of serious “chores” has closed with modest accomplishments.  More tomorrow and the next day and the next.  Some serious WP catching up.  One or two personal emails to reply to.

Gee.  Maybe I can make time to do some writing.  Think?  Midas County is first up.  Have three folks who’ve read the first few chapters and they’re eager to see it finished.

And schedule aerate and overseed. And schedule an eye exam.  And… And…. And…

Published by spwilcen

Retired career IT software engineer, or as we were called in the old days, programmer, it's time to empty my file cabinet of all the "creative" writing accumulated over the years - toss most of it, salvage and publish what is worthwhile.

3 thoughts on “Back in the Saddle – September 9, 2020

  1. You just reminded me to check my email, too. I have a special account I use for WP, but I set it up so everything comes in a notification instead. So in theory, every email is just a dup. But…

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