View Full Version : Mowing the lawn

Jack Heinlen
09-16-2004, 07:48 AM
I hate mowing the lawn! The noise, the fumes, the cutting down of pretty plants. So a couple months ago I slowed down. I've got sandy, gravely soil around the house, and it's never grown much in the way of real grass anyway.

The most beautiful crop of yellow composites has blanketed a large part of the open space, along with two kinds of marshmallow, and Queen Anne's lace, and daisys and clover. I know I need to mow them down at some point before the fall, if for no other reason than to keep the saplings and the runners of raspberry at bay.

Driving around, I'm amazed at how much attention and money goes to the strange cult of monoculture turf grass. It's a symbol somehow: of control, of gentility, of English manors, of civilization itself I suppose.

Those like me who 'experiment' are undoubtedly looked down upon by the followers of this religion of golf course lawns. Almost everyone has one, what's wrong with you!? But my small field is alive with all manner of bugs, frogs, toads, birds. They hop and buzz and call to one another. They are enjoying my sloth. I can tell they like it here. smile.gif

09-16-2004, 07:51 AM
but its healthier to put poison around the house for the sake of green grass isnt it?

09-16-2004, 07:54 AM
Ticks thrive in tall grass and weedy patches. A freshly mown lawn feels wonderful on the soles of your bare feet. The smell of a freshly mown lawn in late afternoon, with the sun tree topping, and the crickets chirping, is one of those indescribable moments.

Leon m
09-16-2004, 08:07 AM
I think the main reason lawn mowing was originated was for fire and rodent/pest control.

09-16-2004, 08:15 AM
... ahh the smell of freshly opened beer.

Garrett Lowell
09-16-2004, 08:22 AM
Lefty forgot to mention that many weeds, which are prone to invasive activities, contain thorns and burrs. These are not so nice on the tootsies.

Jack Heinlen
09-16-2004, 08:25 AM
Ticks thrive in tall grass and weedy patches. I've heard that said. I wonder how true it is.

As a child I lived amongst wonderful uncultivated fields in Ohio that I wandered almost every nice day, and I never got a tick on me. As an adult, in some fields south of the Mason Dixon I did have an occasional tick, and Sheba in New England fields picked one up occassionally.

I'm not against a patch of well-cultivated grass mind you. Walking with bare feet, a place for small children to play, keeping the biting bugs at bay, those all make sense. But looking about there is an inordinate amount of energy going into lawn; acres and acres of it, which as Dutch says are supported by all manner of fertilizer and poison, and often don't allow the hint of an intruder.

A Japanese visitor to my father, when I was growing up in Cleveland, made a comment that has always stuck with me. He'd observed many people's obsessive compulsive weeding of dandylions. In his rough Enlish I remember him saying, "Why, why kill this beautiful yellow flower?

Ken Hutchins
09-16-2004, 08:44 AM
I do not cut any dandelions since I discovered that finches love to eat the seeds. smile.gif Fun to watch as they walk up to a fuzzy topped stalk, pinch it with their beek and bend the stalk down so they can reach the seeds. ;) Now you know where the yellow finch gets it's color.

Joe (SoCal)
09-16-2004, 08:57 AM
OK sorry, I just got to ask. Jack you live in a trailer with an unmowed lawn? Do you have an old Trans Am up on blocks in the front yard too?

You spend most of the time posting on here. No one knows what you do for a living and yet you don't have the time to mow the lawn ?????? Come on man get out and mow yer place make it presentable. I have gotten so busy with work I don't have the time to mow, so I hired a kid for $20 a week to mow my 3 acres. We have a listing for a $1.3 million house the owners do not live there. The house is overgrown with "wildflowers" it looks like a $1.3 million dollar dump. The owner is asking us why it hasn't sold ??? Duh we told him for the third time to mow the dam lawn. He says people don't understand "wildflowers" NO people don't understand an overgrown yard that makes the house look spooky and uncared for.

Go out and mow

09-16-2004, 09:05 AM
I am of the school that thinks that if it is green and covers up the dirt, that is ok. My wife disagrees.

Now that we have moved south I have speculating on virtues of Bahia grass, but she doesn't like that either.

09-16-2004, 09:17 AM
Mowing the lawn, is one, of the two, truly noble intents man has been allowed to guard and promote, leading to proof of a his absolute worth in the universe. (the other is barbequing)

Each quest brings an unequalled , and little known caveat, that drinking beer is thusly allowed .. nay, encouraged.

I have a lawn and I have a barbeque.

[ 09-16-2004, 10:17 AM: Message edited by: popeye ]

09-16-2004, 09:21 AM
.. which leads me to another thought.. i may invent the worlds first 24", propane powered, mulching gas grill mower with side burner and fridge attachments.

09-16-2004, 09:29 AM
Originally posted by popeye:
.. which leads me to another thought.. i may invent the worlds first 24", propane powered, mulching gas grill mower with side burner and fridge attachments.popeye, that's a good start but can you make it a little more environmentally friendly, say do without the propane, maybe devise on that eats flies for energy, or better yet hamburgers off its own grill?

09-16-2004, 09:32 AM
after bbq and beer, i got lots of spare methane.. hmmm...

Jack Heinlen
09-16-2004, 09:33 AM
Oh Joe. I know all of that. I know that I'm breaking the rules of a strange ethic. Do you know what I'm speaking of?

I haven't mowed because I like what has grown. It has encouraged an entire ecosystem of plants and critters. As I said, I'll have to mow again before long.

BTW, no cars on blocks. I hate holding onto stuff that is no longer useful to me. I'm a giver away of things, not a keeper of them.

Diogenes is my favorite Greek philosopher, Chuang Tzu my favorite Chinese, Rumi my favorite Muslim, Jesus my favorite Christian...who'd I leave out? Oh, I'm rather fond of Black Elk and Don Juan on the Amer-indian tickly, Jeremiah and Isiah on the Jewish, and Walt Whitman is my favorite deist/pagan of all time. Anything else you want to know? smile.gif

Jack Heinlen
09-16-2004, 09:38 AM
Trippers and askers surround me,
People I meet, the effect upon me of my early life or the ward and
city I live in, or the nation,
The latest dates, discoveries, inventions, societies, authors old and new,
My dinner, dress, associates, looks, compliments, dues,
The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I love,
The sickness of one of my folks or of myself, or ill-doing or loss
or lack of money, or depressions or exaltations,
Battles, the horrors of fratricidal war, the fever of doubtful news,
the fitful events;
These come to me days and nights and go from me again,
But they are not the Me myself.

Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am,
Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary,
Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an impalpable certain rest,
Looking with side-curved head curious what will come next,
Both in and out of the game and watching and wondering at it.

Backward I see in my own days where I sweated through fog with
linguists and contenders,
I have no mockings or arguments, I witness and wait.

Walt Whitman

Joe (SoCal)
09-16-2004, 09:42 AM
I just get my 6 year old daughter to do it :D
While I supervise :D


Now doesn't that look better smile.gif

Actually I miss mowing I found it meditative and gave me a chance to inspect my land.

And Nothing feels quite as good as freshly cut grass on your feet :D :D

Alan D. Hyde
09-16-2004, 09:46 AM
Jack, grown-up hayfields or lawns do promote more mosquitos, more ticks, and, if you have dogs, more fleas.

Sow some alfalfa mix and see how your soil improves (from the twenty foot deep roots).

We need to encourage our botanical and biological friends, and discourage our enemies. It's that simple, but there are several paths to that goal, each of which may work as well as another. At that point, it becomes a matter of taste.


[ 09-16-2004, 10:47 AM: Message edited by: Alan D. Hyde ]

Joe (SoCal)
09-16-2004, 09:51 AM
Oh and Jack I like wildflowers just fine I have them all along the perimeter of my back yard.


My property is actually very rugged and requires a modicum of grooming and I like that. The two parts of the property that need mowing just make the wild parts stand out better. Just my opinion.

Oh and one question how do you live on Whitman. I know he makes a tasty sampler but can you really live on choclate :D

Phillip Allen
09-16-2004, 09:51 AM
What a study in sloth...may I join?

my only poem for you sailors and wannabes...

I Want

I want to see whales again...and porpoise...and a shark...and bioluminescence in water thatís dark.

I want to stand my watch at the helm and to feel the largeness of the sea and the smallness of me.

I want to look out on the circled horizonÖand know itís not changed for years upon years and Columbus, too, saw what I now hold my eyes on.

I want to come out, in the light of the day but still it seems there are dues to be paid.
So back I will turn and midnight will burn though Iím tired, Iím worn out, my day must be earned.

My dreams may grow old, my ardors diminish but on I will keep and my life I will finish.

I fear to be tossed in my ship in the sea but fear more to be lost in the vessel thatís me.

Phillip Allen

Garrett Lowell
09-16-2004, 10:09 AM
Turf Master Lawn Care. Every Friday at 2:00.

N. Scheuer
09-16-2004, 10:17 AM
My wife of four years has lived 35 years in a neighborhood where NOBODY has dandelions in their yard.

We have a 60-ft-wide grass/treed bolevard between traffic lanes, and there ain't no dandelions out there neither.

My dream is to have a place where there is virtually NO LAWN. Boy Scout Cmaps are like that, plenty of forest and fauna, but NO LAWNS.

I consider any sort of yard work to be a huge waste of time.

Moby Nick

Phillip Allen
09-16-2004, 10:24 AM
I got 3/4 acres in NW Arkansas...haven't mowed in a while but can't put it off much longer.

09-16-2004, 10:26 AM
My lawn is a great hobby for me ... not a single weed, no crabgrass, no foxtail, no nothing but beautiful bluegrass ...

We have several garden areas ... believe me, the hummingbirds, the grasshoppers, toads, etc. know how to find them! ;)

My backyard is my haven ... a great playground I built for the kids (actually, I just assembled, playground was courtesy of Home Depot!)

Just had a nice four-foot vinyl white fence put in a couple of months back ... with gates across the rear drive ...

Just put in my 400 square-foot brick (paver) patio ... got out the outdoor fireplace (hope to use it this weekend)

Have the grill and the smoker on the patio ...

It's our oasis ...

I love our yard (back yard) ... front doesn't get used much ...

To each his own ... Jack, it's your land, do with what makes you happy!!!!

When you go to sell it, listen to the agent, however, that says to cut your grass!!!

Enjoy your oasis as it develops ...


John Bell
09-16-2004, 10:28 AM
Don't mow around here and you wind up with a lot full of briars and poison ivy which eventually gives way to a dense stand of juvenile pine trees, or worse: kudzu!


09-16-2004, 10:32 AM
I have a small field with the 300-year old house. It's what is left of the colonist's 40-acre spread. I mow once or twice a year. Since we've been encroached upon by megamansions, a super highway, and so called luxury apts/so-called affordable housing, my little field has attracted all the refugee birds and wildlife. It's great to see all the critters out there.

Also this time of year, the wildflowers all bloom and gives the neighbors in the cruise ship of a luxury apt. house something to gawk at across from their green Bank-like lawn.

It's chem free. I've never seen a tick. No poison ivy.

I'm thinking of getting some pigs. tongue.gif

[ 09-16-2004, 11:37 AM: Message edited by: Fitz ]

Peter Malcolm Jardine
09-16-2004, 10:33 AM
I can see Jack's point. The mown lawn is a strange part of civilization I think. There are some new thinkers up here that sow orchard grass and let it grow. I still mow my lawn, but I could just as easily live in the woods and let Mother nature decide what grows. I must admit I don't use herbicides very much anymore... or fertilizers for that matter. This year it's rained so much the lawn has prospered anyway.

09-16-2004, 10:59 AM
1/8 acre lot I can mow with a weed whip. I decided to buy a house on an old cottage size lot with lake access. It used to be 1 1/2 hours on the lawn. Now it's 15 min. on the lawn and 1:15 on the lake. This is livin'. Added advantage of watching the bats over the house and "yard" because of the older houses in the hood and water nearby. I got an electric mower as I don't really like the noise and fumes from the gas.

Matt J.
09-16-2004, 11:01 AM
I hear ya, Jack. I hate yardwork - not because of the work, but because it's pointless. Jenny and I are slowly enlarging all garden beds, and planting areas to cover most of the grass areas with densely planted mulch areas. few weeds need pulling with the right shrubs and trees; our yard offers lots of habitat in our neighborhood full of people who tihnk chemlawn is sacred and trees are unholy...

A neighbor has a completely mulched/ architectural stone yard with heavy planting he's out in the hammock while the rest are out blowing moto-exhaust and sweating.

Not to mention how much better for the waterways mulch and planting are than grass - particularly chemically treated grass... that stuff's really putting a hurt on the waterways downstream.

but, in a nod to convention, we'll eventually leave a small area of mown grass - not more than I can mow with one of those cool push mowers with no engine... but enough to look "normal".