the dandy dandelions are baaaaack and we are celebrating them! i cannot help but smile looking at dandelions. i have a rich history with them. i suppose many moms do.
so, for many reasons – the bees included – we won’t be quiiiite as obsessive about ridding our lawn of them. not to mention, they are stubborn and will likely return despite any attempts to mitigate them. i have found taproots of great length underground – dandelions aspiring to be large carrots, channeling the subterranean tenacity of root vegetables.
but – in the end – even with this year’s gargantuan effort to have nice grass and earn the respect of the GrassKing, we need our pollinators and we need flowers for tiny toddlers to pick. so, we will dial it back a little bit on total eradication and live in the memories of fists full of dandelions.
this is david’s year. the year that his grass (aka our grass) might – just might – even a tad – a smidge – a skosh – a teeny-weeny-yellow-polka-dot-bikini-bit – look like dan’s.
dan is The GrassKing. his lawn is manicured and beautiful. it feels lovely beneath your feet and, crosshatch-cut, looks lovely as well. tidy and healthy and green – all the things all those brochures tout – the ones that arrive in our mailbox, tucked into our front door, rubberbanded onto the doorknob of the screen, stuffed under the welcome mat. there are many-many-many companies out there that believe we need their help.
we don’t need their help.
we just need dan.
and so, we wait for instructions. he swings by to examine our poor front yard, post-demolition by the company that eradicated the lead water pipes and everything else in its excavation. he texts, “looks pretty good.” we breathe a sigh. luckily, he also texts, “call me.” he is our grass-hero and we love him for it.
you might think that you know all the special devices and products for lawncare. all kinds of spreaders and seeders and sprinklers and milorganite mixes and shade/sun helpers and weed and feed and lawnmowers and edgers. goodness!
the one thing you might not be aware of? the meat thermometer.
the soil must be exactly right for overseeding. and the only way to know is to set those grilling steaks aside.
at long last, there is not an unsightly mound in our front yard and our grass is actually growing. it is astounding what a little attention will yield.
we will never quality for the lawn olympics, but neither will we get the worst-on-the-block award. we bought a used edger and are defining the daylily garden with vintage bricks that match the old brick wall behind it. we used to have a beautiful old brick patio up by the front door – back in the day – but had to remove it in order to have the (non-disclosed-at-the-time-of-sale) underground oil tank removed. i’ll not forget the day we found a 7′ stick in the garage with carved inch and foot marks. we wandered the yard and discovered the cap, hidden in plain view, that spelled out the epa no-no. our poor yard has been through upheaval more than once.
and so, here we go. the backyard and the frontyard have consumed us this summer. but we are making headway. yup. no medals but it makes us just a little bit happy watching both flourish. just a little attention.
though a red and white striped jumper, accompanied by white tights and saddle shoes, was not my favorite outfit, i really loved being a candystriper when i was in high school. the local hospital – huntington hospital – had a training program and then you could choose as many days as you wished to volunteer. there were many options – to help in the coffeeshop, to deliver meals, to offer magazines or books on a cart, to visit with patients. my favorites were the coffeeshop and visiting with patients, but i loved all of the work i was assigned. i learned about origami from one of the patients and spent hours with him making cranes and lightening his spirit. i don’t know what his diagnosis was, but i do know it was very serious and he was only a little older than we were. he needed light and we all tried hard to bring it to him whenever we could.
the coffeeshop was a blast, always filled with patrons. i have this unusually tactile memory of making toasted onion bagels with butter – giant new york bagels – i can even still catch a whiff, mixed with coffee wafting from large pots we continually refilled.
the worst part of the job – as a candystriper – was wearing a hairnet. clearly it was for sanitary reasons, but no sixteen-year-old-girl really wants to scoop all her hair into a net and plaster it against her head. especially not if she has a nordic high forehead – which i did – well, and still do. yup. at the end of our shifts, we would go out into the sunlight and yank off our hairnets, leaving our long hair to blow wild and free.
our front lawn is wearing a hairnet. it kind of made me giggle a little as they laid down the haynet and rolled it out. the dirt and seed under it likely groaned – confined! – but the hay will keep the birds from snacking on the new seed and dan said that the hay will dry and then you can rake up the netting. easy-peasy.
mostly, it is astonishing to look out the front window or drive up to the house and see a flat yard. for the last seven months or so we have had a giant lump in the front yard, a debris pile with cement and rocks and asphalt and chunks of hard rubber and copper fittings and some cast iron – and, i’m guessing, lead – since that is what they were removing – bolts. when grass-trying-to-be-a-yard-again grew on the lump (which was all the way from the house to the street and at least twenty feet across) there was no way to cut it. we quickly became “those people” on the block, with the messiest (and ugliest) yard. david went out with the mower, but that was impossible, so he took trimmers and diligently trimmed the top of the mess. a lower mess is better than a higher mess. but – a mess nonetheless. i’m quite sure that people drove by and pointed. i can’t say i blame them.
they came and excavated the debris lump. it was a big job and they had big scraping machinery and a big dumptruck. it was quite the process. the guy in charge was particular and, thus, particularly annoying to the other workers. but they were a hardworking crew and, a few hours later, drove off with our water line replacement leftovers.
and so now we are primed for new grass. we are watering appropriately and we are conferring with dan, who has the best grass ever. he will guide us into better grasshood. we will tend our new yard carefully as it comes back from its turmoil and wreckage.
and one of these days we will be able to remove its hairnet and verdant grass will blow wild and free.
we have dandelions. ask our neighbors. luckily our neighbors on the west (and our sweet friends) share our love and adoration of dandelions. well, maybe not love and adoration, but they don’t have a terrible aversion to them either. neither of our households competes in what charlie calls “the lawn olympics.” we have old houses and, thus, old lawns. and yes…i have walked around our neighborhood and there are plenty of old houses with utterly rich, dense, verdant carpets. but, alas, that is not us.
we have much to learn about grass. everyone in our circle asks dan, because dan is a lawn god. his grass is gorgeous and cross-cut and weedless. we do have a lot to learn from him. we are glad (but only for the grass reason) that he and gay don’t live next door. but if they did – (and that would be lovely, but only on the east side so as not to displace our west side neighbors) – i am betting that our dandy dandelions would be gone and we would have dandy grass instead.