The climate changed on us this year. I suspect it will change again next year. It does indeed change afterall …. as it sees fit. As it always has. As it always will. Imagine that.
It has been a disappointing spring to say the least in many parts of the country. My little slice of growing zone heaven here in Minnesota is no exception. A couple of days last week we were appeased with warm, dry weather and sunshine. The grass took advantage of the warming trend in the days just prior, and shot up. Seventy two hours later, a 30 degree drop and lots of rain. We are getting the April showers a month behind. Some of the lawn got mowed in that window of perceived normalcy. Yet, we now need to turn the heat back on. It happens some years. No need to panic.
When I first began gardening, I asked my lifelong, farmer uncle about the last frost date in our area. He said he always figured “about May 21st”. Now this approximate date deviates somewhat thru the years as should be expected. Even an online search for frost dates by zone reveal an eyebrow raising variance of information. Simply stated, frost dates are just one of those things that can’t be precisely declared because the climate changes. After an abusive end to winter, many folks are understandably growing impatient with this rainy, cold spring. I hear the grumbling on talk radio, in the workplace, at church social time after service, and in general small talk. Sometimes I’m joining in. Other times I remember what my uncle told me…. “about May 21st”. So we just need to be patient and remember that that’s how it goes some years.
Patience or not, one still is wise to “make hay when the sun is shining”. That’s one of my favorite farm related sayings. And that is sort of what the mowing aftermath tends to resemble in my yard throughout the summer. I have a lot of yard. Time is not as equally plentiful to attend to it grooming. That’s my way of saying…. my grass tends to get too long.
And since time is on a limited budget, I also tend to cut it too short. Thus, I end up with a metro version of a hay field. It’s not entirely unintended. While I don’t overly concern myself that the neighbors might view it as an eyesore, I still usually get it gathered up. Partially because I do like my neighbors, and I want to get along, but also because the clippings serve multiple purposes.
Raking them up is good exercise. It’s also a simple chore that my kids can help me with, or undertake themselves. That’s provides more than quality family time, as chores teach kids lots of good lessons. Lastly, the clippings are enlisted into the mulch brigade nobly fighting the war on weeds in the garden. Along with last autumn’s carpet of collected leaves, the grass helps choke out those uninvited “wedding crashers”.
This is one of the reasons why I choose not to put chemicals on my lawn, or hire a service to do the same. Just as I don’t use chemicals in the garden, why would I want chemical tainted grass clippings transported there from the yard? While I don’t begrudge others who take pride in their trophy lawns, it’s doesn’t align with my objectives. Furthermore, from a grid down perspective, all those picture perfect front yards would also return to their more natural, organic state. Home values aren’t going to matter at that point should it occur.
The type of green my focus is on doesn’t help me build wealth in order to upgrade to a bigger home purchase. That’s foolish in some eyes. But it sure makes the food taste better!
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Have fun in your backyard… and turn off the lights!