Sunday, November 8, 2009

FIELD NOTES: In pure New England style, there has been a reprieve…

Sunday: Before & After

…from the predicted rainy weekend and now I can take a swipe or two at those leaves that last weekend were doomed to overwinter on the lawn. At the stroke of 9:30, the first leaf blower has sounded in the neighborhood giving me the go-ahead to put on my work clothes and head out, although I will be quietly hand raking and then mulching the piles with the lawn mower. Never buy a house before you research its trees; dangerously old oaks with leaves as leathery and large as baseball mitts and the spindly locusts with confetti for leaves that will hang on nearly until new buds evict them do not respond very well to mulching. Oh for a stand of compliant primary colored maples! Mercifully, the entry on Lawns in Wikipedia has given me a place to lay blame for my love-hate relationship with lawn and leaf:

“In the United States, it was not until after the Civil War that lawns began to appear outside middle-class residences. Most people did not have the hired labor needed to cut a field of grass with scythes; average home owners either raised vegetables in their yards or left them alone. If weeds sprouted that was fine. Toward the end of the 19th century, suburbs appeared on the American scene, along with the sprinkler, greatly improved lawn mowers, new ideas about landscaping and a shorter workweek.”

...and towards the bottom of the entry, further explanation (and a long list) of the meaning of ‘maintenance’ in the ‘burbs:

“There is often heavy social pressure to mow one's lawn regularly and to keep up with the Joneses. Maintaining higher quality lawns may require special maintenance procedures:”

But I feel more like Pooh today, so perhaps I’ll rake a pile…and just jump right in!


  1. Diane- This is a great blog! You need more traffic.

  2. A world without lawns sounds great to me. Less work, more plant diversity, better habitat.

  3. Plus, people often do not use their lawns.
    It is just ornamental.