I just came in the door after mowing through 18″ blades of grass and weeds in our yard.
We’ve been out of town for the past 5 weeks and came home to an embarrassingly redneck-level unkempt yard. The weeds are what get me the most, though. Last summer I spent 8 hrs one Saturday and 3 hrs on Sunday digging out dandelion after dandelion from our front yard. I think I counted somewhere close to a thousand. And our front yard is only about 30’x20′. When this failed miserably, we called a professional to come and fix our yard. He had been working on the neighbours’, whose lawn runs into our lawn, so we asked him to just continue doing what he was doing with ours. He de-thatched it and then filled in low spots with new soil and planted new grass seed, fertilized it, watered it, etc. A few hundred dollars later, we were sitting on the front steps looking out on our lawn with a true sense of optimism, a feeling that we might end up beating these yellow stress-inducers after all. And then 3 weeks later, as we watched our neighbours’ lawn grow beautiful green grass and watched them laugh with joy as their child frolicked about in the lush pastures reminiscent of Psalm 23, we turned our eyes toward our own lawn only to see that, despite the proper prayers and sufficient sacrifices, the plant gods did not seem fit to bestow the same blessing on our humble piece of earth. In fact, the dandelions came back in full force, almost mocking us for making such piddly attempts to remove them.
Recognizing full well that dandelions do, in fact, take on a personality of stubbornness and, indeed arrogance, I decided it was time to commit dandelion genocide on our lawn. In other words, I needed Roundup. Roundup, for those not in the know, is a total and non-selective herbicide that kicks the crap out of your weeds. You mention “Roundup” on your lawn and I’m almost positive the dandelions shrink back a little – they know what’s coming. There was one problem, though, and that is that Roundup is banned in Ontario – and most places in Canada I think. Or so I thought. This is what everyone had told me yet one day in the department store I noticed a shelf full of this heavenly product and so promptly purchased a bottle, looking this way and that to ensure no one was trying to frame me as I committed this devious purchase. I pulled into the driveway, barely able to contain myself or explain the giant grin on my face to Rhonda. She looked at me as I showed her the bottle and she knew, she knew…
I sprayed the bottle of Roundup. I sprayed it for what seemed to be hours. I sprayed every weed and felt this inexplicable wave of joy pulse through my bones at every pump of the trigger. It was nothing short of euphoric and certainly cathartic for my weary soul. I believe I got every weed that day. It took a few days for the effects of the chemicals to kick in, but it did. Oh, it did. The weeds died. But then… so did all. of. my. grass. I had not read the instructions that said to use the product only on weeds growing in between cracks in sidewalks and around concrete as it would kill all plant life around the weed. Did it ever. Our summer battle ended with no dandelions (yay?) and not much of a lawn either. The grass had turned yellow, and in its final breath, looked at us as if to ask why we had abandoned it and then turned away from the sun and died.
As the Spring of 2013 draws to a close, the long fought battle ensues, but with little hope. The weeds are back in full swing and hardly a memory of the attempted genocide remains. Despite this, the evidence of a hard fought war being waged on our front yard is hard to miss. Summer 2012 will forever be enshrined as the year I gave it my all…. and failed. It will serve as a time to find humility in the midst of those moments in life in which haughtiness and pride are about to overtake me. In those moments where I start to get whisked away with my own sense of importance, Summer 2012 will serve as the rope needed to bring me back to reality. Summer 2012 will forever ground me. It will be the summer that I took on the weeds…. and was forced to submit.
I read a saying on some friends’ wall the other day that read, “The only difference between a flower and a weed is a judgment.” That’s deep isn’t it? Perhaps the only way to save face, the only way to hold my head high as I walk past my front yard each morning is to concede that maybe I don’t have a yard full of weeds. Maybe I’ve been looking at it the wrong way all along. Maybe I’ve been blessed with these beautiful yellow flowers and my poor neighbour, with his flower-less yard looks over at my yard each day and sighs – not a sigh of pity…. but of envy.
Clearly that’s not happening. But I’m definitely open to new ideas that won’t cost me a lot of money. Rhonda says no more “significant” money can be spent on this yard as she is morally opposed to spending lots of cash on enhancing our curb appeal by way of fixing the yard. And I get that. So, suggestions? Please let me know. If you’re in Thunder Bay, your advice is particularly welcomed as you know the climate and conditions best. Have you any secrets? Or any similar wars fought?