The grass keeps getting greener


Randy Riley - Contributing columnist



This weekend, I noticed a neighbor spreading some kind of weed-n-seed, green-n-grow, surf-n-turf or some type of magical concoction that is designed to make your lawn grow lush, long, green and weed-free.

My first thought was: Why would anyone want their grass to grow faster and longer?

Eight days ago, after putting it off as long as possible, I finally mowed our lawn. It’s not that I hate to do lawn work. It’s just not my favorite thing to do. Most of my neighbors had already either cut their own grass, or had a lawn-care service take care of them. Not me.

At one point in our marriage, Debbie suggested we look for a ranch-style home in the country. I had to remind her that one of my goals in life was never to have a lawn so big that I needed a riding mower. I’m content to have a little, gas-powered push mower that I can use to cut my grass in about 45-minutes. That’s enough for me. Pour in some gas and yank the starting cord and off we go.

Less than an hour later, I’m done.

I must admit that it always looks nice after the grass is freshly cut and trimmed. It brightens up the entire property and for just a short while our lawn looks at least as good as the neighbors.

That never lasts long. I have to admit that waiting until our neighbors mow doesn’t seem like a horrible thing to do.

Lions Club members recently dropped off several bags of mulch. They are stacked neatly along the south side of the house. Sooner or later I’ll spread some of that black mulch under the shrubs and trees. I have large spot on the north side of the house where several of the bags will be spread.

I’m almost ashamed to admit that I still have two bags of mulch left over from last year that I didn’t get spread out in that area. I forget what prevented me from finishing the mulch project last year. It was probably too hot to mulch, but not too hot to golf.

The front yard doesn’t usually get too out of control. I do have some tree roots that make it a little bit lumpy, but I can maneuver over those spots pretty easily. It’s the backyard that starts looking like an African savannah after just a light rain.

Up until a few years ago our little Jack Russell, Miss Puchi, roamed the backyard. It was her personal domain and private restroom. Since the grandkids didn’t play in the backyard when we had Puchi, I didn’t use the pooper scooper very often. As a result, it got fertilized pretty well.

As I mowed last week, there were several spots that had grown so fast and thick that it clogged up the mower. Those are probably spots where Puchi really liked to pile it on … so to speak. Since I don’t know how to unfertilize my back yard, I just have to mow it more often than I do the front.

The trimming, edging and weed eating only happens about every other time I mow. It’s just not a real priority for me. Like most men who are in their late 60s, my eyebrows and the hair in my ears have started growing like wild for no good reason. I now have to trim those pesky hairs occasionally, but I don’t do it every time I trim my beard.

It’s kind of like trimming or edging the grass. I could do it every time I mow, but I don’t. I can live with it most of the time and trim it only when it becomes annoying.

I’m not lazy. I just have better things to do. In fact, a few years ago, the house across the street was unoccupied, so no one mowed the lawn. After a few weeks, I started mowing it every other time that I mowed mine. It made the neighborhood look better.

Some of our neighbors really seem to love their lawns. They mow, trim and manage the grass like it’s their favorite hobby. I’m fine with that. Just don’t expect it from me. We also have a few neighbors who seem to hate lawn work more than me. That’s just fine with me.

Tomorrow will again be lawn day. I plan on mowing, mulching, trimming and edging. I’m even planning on clipping, trimming and cleaning up the shrubs. By the end of the day, I plan on having several bundles of debris all tied up and ready for the trash.

The day after tomorrow, my neighbors will probably look out and say, “Shoot! Now I have to mow.”

Sorry about that, neighbors. Maybe I’ll get lucky and it’ll rain.

Randy Riley is a former Mayor of Wilmington and a local resident of more than 40 years.

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Randy Riley

Contributing columnist