Saturday, April 4, 2009

Reflections With a Weed-Eater

With a high of 70, negligible humidty and full sun, today was ideal for being outdoors. Although I had obligations during the day, I spent the latter half of the afternoon doing yardwork. We're already falling into our summer pattern: Saturday morning market, lunch together, then Miss Chef heads to work and I either work in the yard, or stay inside feeling guilty about not working in the yard.

I can't stand the summertime heat and humidity here, but in this lovely spring weather it feels righteous to be outside keeping things trim. It's still early in the season, so I don't feel the pressure of catching up on tasks I put off too long. I'm also trying to teach myself to just focus on one thing at a time, instead of trying to do everything on my list all at once. When I succeed, I remember that I actually enjoy working in the yard. If it's not too hot.

I mowed the front yard last night, so today I edged along the drive and sidewalk. That, along with last night's clippings, left a wide green splash down the driveway. Pain in the butt time.

You see, we don't own a leaf blower, and I just don't want to spend the money on one, partly out of principle (partly out of stinginess, too, but only partly). I regret having to use a lawn mower, but am realistic enough to know I won't be doing my quarter acre with one of those scissor-action manual mowers from a century ago. And yes, we have a weedeater, too; an electric one, not that I'm convinced that's much better than gas. I just didn't want to have to bother with mixing gas and oil.

Leaf blowers, however, cross the yard power-tool line for me. Mowers are noisy, yes, and so are weed-eaters. But there is something about the whine of a blower that is piercing, even half a mile away. It's probably because the sound of mowers is so familiar, but I find that soothing, at a distance, knowing someone's home, in the yard, taking care of the chores. Leaf blowers remind me of professional landscapers at a business park; much less relaxing.

I'm not writing a diatribe against leaf blowers; that's been done and folks are free to make their own choices. Heck, when my neighbor occasionally is gracious enough use his on our driveway, I certainly don't complain! (Especially when it's hot outside.) But today, with plenty of time and great weather, I was satisfied enough with my little straw broom. There's something very soothing about the regular swish, swish back and forth, watching the green bits fly off to one side, gathering into a neat pile.

I often think about my reasons for sticking with a's relaxing, allows me to really experience my neighborhood, and it's awfully good for those core muscles! I also think of the concierges in Paris, sweeping off their stoops and bit of sidewalk in the morning; or of the street cleaners there with their witchy-style bright green brooms. I bet they'd do a better job of it than I do. For all their noise and clamor, I have to admit that leaf blowers do a much more thorough job than my broom and I.

Anyway, I spent a good twenty minutes up and down the driveway, letting my mind wander to the brush of straw on pavement, in companionable silence with the dog lying on the lawn. My intent was to write about some of my ponderings out there, but dang it if I can remember any of them! Later, in the backyard, the regular weighted swing of the weed-eater let my mind wander again. Some of my musings were about the beds I was trimming around; the cutting garden that served as a watermelon bed last summer is completely different now that it's filled with tulips.

The rest of my thoughts? me.

Well, I guess you'll just have to enjoy my descriptions of yardwork, rather than some surely amazing insights it brought me. I don't mind that I lost my thoughts; it was still relaxing. It served the same function as dreaming--letting your mind wander undirected through whatever it wants, making random connections and odd observations. In the morning, we wake up and forget it all, but our brain is cleared out of some distracting obsessions, and ready to focus on something new.

So, instead of more armchair philosophy, I'll end with some new stuff to focus your eyeballs on--Alix, you said you love tulips, so here ya go!!

Miss Chef said this picture is cool, because it looks like our entire yard is full of tulips. It's now the background on our computer. I like to change it up and surprise her. I wish I could publish this bigger. Does anyone know why only the first picture of an uploaded group can be "biggerized?"

♪ She is...pretty in pink...♪

This is similarly colored to my "little torches" out front, but has feathery fringed edges. Miss Chef just bought a mixed bag of bulbs to plant this bed, so each one is a lovely surprise!

I am enamored of the color of this beautiful specimen. It contrasts so wonderfully with the rich green of the foliage. And it just looks so quintessentially Easter!

Finally, here's a picture of my little torches, lighting the way up the path. Two petals dropped today, so I needed to capture them before they go out!

Oh face and ears feel a bit warm. I bet I got a slight sunburn. In April! It's a far cry from the snowbelt.


  1. What beautiful tulips! Every fall I think I should plant some but never do, and every spring I'm jealous of everyone else's beautiful flowers.

  2. If I lived near you, I just might show up on your doorstep one warm October weekend, with a bag of bulbs and a trowel. It's so worth it!

  3. The tulips are gorgeous, and your yard work paid off! I just came from my daughter's blog (Diane's) where she captured the April snow covering everything!!! Now I'm imagining tulips growing out of that snow - wouldn't that be a bright contrast!??

    Nancy in Atlanta

  4. Mine are in bloom too. I just love them. My Iris is just about to open. Kathy

  5. Your flowers are so lovely!

    I was laughing a little at your yard work/grass challenges. Around here we rarely ever mow. Grass is precious and we let the critters at it when it turns green.
    Sure makes the yard work easier. hehe!

    And do you that you can sweep incorrectly? I didn't!
    But years ago I was sweeping for a business and some of my co-workers laughed at me with my sweeping technique. It worked well for me and I had no idea there was a correct way to sweep anyway. lol!

    We're you following the sweeping protocol? :D


  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the bouquet of tulips!! They made my heart sing.

    And as for your brooming? Didn't Cinderella rock a broom too? I'm jus sayin...

  7. Love seeing the tulips.

    From the previous post, sure would have wanted some of that homemade pizza, looked delicious.

  8. What beautiful flowers! It really looks like Spring there! I am jealous of your weather and those gorgeous flowers. It is only about 20 degrees here right now. brrr!


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