By John R. Greenwood
Lawnmower clogs of fresh cut grass are a welcome change from the wet snowblower variety. April is only on week four, but if I'd waited any longer to mow, Vincek’s Farm would have another field to hay. A wimpy winter and 24 hours of cool rain had my lawn as thick as the fur on a Samoyed’s back. Even the dandelions looked exhausted trying reach the surface.
I’m not a lawn snob or grass-rat. I know my monetary limits when it comes to golf course quality lawn care. The moles and grubs keep me on the edge of crazy and a dirty carburetor on the mower almost resulted in the neighbors having to call 911 to report a rabid old man foaming at the mouth in his driveway.
I’ve been an active member of the “First Mow Club” since I was designated a teen. Even though I’m now deep into geriatric territory I still look forward to that first pull start. It’s different now than it was fifty years ago. Now the grass I mow is my own. The mower, the rake, the view from my front window is mine. My yard is far from Augusta National but it’s my personal labor of love—bare spots and all.
There’s been a movement in recent years to turn front yards into native flower gardens or at least let them grow uncut through May. This in an effort to provide pollination habitat for bees. I fully support and commend those who embrace this admirable practice. I’m simply not wired for it. I’ve been edging walks, raking grass, and trimming lawns for my entire life. I did it as a boy to put money in my pocket and as a young father to buy baby formula. Now it’s mostly therapeutic and the best exercise money can’t buy. To sit by and let the yard go wild in the spring would be cruel and unusual punishment for me.
I do have a confession to make. In the heat of last summer I purchased a riding mower to give me some needed relief. It was a not purchase made easily. I felt like a traitor, a sellout, and a fraud. I still do. I feel guilty when I’m barging my way around my 1/4 acre on a mower made for one or more. I could live without it and may yet. In the meantime I think it took a little worry off Mrs.G. She says she wants to keep me around awhile. So, if you drive by and see me tooling around on my rider or following behind a mower, know that I'm in my happy place--perspiring grimace and all.