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October 13, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Grim Reaper measures a yard

My yard has a death wish.

No hiding it any more. Useless to try to talk it out of it.

Reel lawnmower.Kallerna/

Some remarks are cutting, but certainly not to die for. (Kallerna/

Played all the regular excuse cards gathered from sidewalk discussions over the years:

Raceway for big footed dogs.

Grubs are a part of nature.  Stupid birds aren’t eating fast enough.

The drought’s killing everything. Water rationing, you know.

All the hurricane rain sogged the ground and squeezed all the oxygen out of the soil.

Who forgot to turn on the sprinkler system timer when we went on vacation?

We’re thinking about putting in a new flowerbed there.

Volleyball/basketball court

Too many dogs visiting the same spot over and over.

Color coordinating for autumn look.

vintage couple.1918. Film."Clay God" /US PD:exp.CR, artist life+70/

Do you think they bought it? Quick, run to the car without making eye contact. (US PD/

Oh, raised eyebrows. Walk away quickly before what’s next: a litany of suggestions.

I nervously watch the calendar urging the weeks to run swiftly into October and winter. Then who can snort when the explanation turns to “Oh, that’s part of the Halloween decorations. Dead grass for a graveyard theme. Goth.”? Some observant troublemaker will point out we said that last year, but decorative headstones never appeared.

We’ve always counted on homeowner turnover.

Poster for 1867 Automaton lawn mower by Ransomes, Sims, and Jefferies/,artist life/

Dream on. (1867/USPD/

No doubt the grass squares were disappointed upon arrival. Probably dreamed of being part of a pampered estate. Anticipated being fretted over on a golf course. Expected museum quality nurturing while embellishing the emerald green rolling lawn of a public building. Only to be stomped into an uninspired place of driveways and sidewalks – with dogs.

Lost dreams grow despair, but shriveling up, turning brown, and dying is overly dramatic.

If you’re trying to embarrass us in front of the neighbors, forget it. Don’t delude yourself. Lesser turf than you has tried that.

And don’t be naive enough to listen to that weed saying a strike could get you moved to nicer digs. That one has ulterior motives.

Really. After all we’ve done for you. Regular feedings. Even Winterizer. Winterizer – at the right time of the year! Trims sharply clipped as needed.

Simply don’t know what this anti-growth stems from.

Guess they were right after all: indulging in grass leads to bad attitudes.

Shorter days welcomed. Darkness is a problem yard’s best friend.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Bike with cylinder lawnmower/B.Jankuloski/

Multi-tasking: spin class meets landscaping class. (B.Jankuloski/






  1. bulldog / Oct 13 2014 12:54 pm

    The last lawnmower is what I needed at the last golf course I worked at…. would have saved some time….


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 13 2014 2:02 pm

      That pix originated in New Zealand, I think. It may have been a “relic” but on flat land, a possibility. It was too great to ride away from. Thanks for cutting out a comment to leave


  2. easyweimaraner / Oct 13 2014 1:16 pm

    I like the idea to use the lawn for my howl-o-ween decoration… it has more pee-spots than grass leaves :o)


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 13 2014 2:04 pm

      And you can win awards for being environmentally focused if not “green”…we know it won’t be green. But it’s ornamental. You’re always on the ball, Easy….or chewing on it…I get confused. (With Molly it’s definitely chewed). Paw waves!


  3. katecrimmins / Oct 13 2014 1:20 pm

    When I had my own home (before Mr. Wonderful) I had gorgeous flowers and shrubs but so-so grass. Didn’t matter what I did there was too much shade or too much sun or moles or voles or something. I got married and moved!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 13 2014 2:07 pm

      Here stuff grows with wild abandonment. Toss out a branch and it roots. Except for grass. If it is determined to die, nothing you do will stop it. More flowerbeds or decorative “rock” stream bed…those are my current thoughts.Thanks for moving a comment this way

      Liked by 1 person

  4. susielindau / Oct 13 2014 1:29 pm

    I burn out like your grass on gardening this time of year and can’t wait for first frost. It is 39 degrees right now, but it will hit the 80’s by Wednesday! What????


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 13 2014 2:13 pm

      The storms ahead of the “cool” front are about 2 hours away. It better rain, final offer lawn: grub bait to be watered in.
      (80 there is better than 80 here on the humid flat plains. NAture would find humans more easily trained if she was more consistent? Will hop back by to see pix again – too hard to comment with tiny cell keyboard yesterday…but did show mts pix around again!) Thanks for edging over with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Your Moderate Mama / Oct 13 2014 2:31 pm

    I don’t do yards… I do dinner 😉


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 13 2014 3:16 pm

      We switch off. Honestly, he grew up doing the yard and hates it – I get tired of being inside.(Grilling outside works pretty much any time of the year in this climate, though – less clean-up.WooHoo!) Thanks for rolling over with a comment


  6. Rob Moses Photography / Oct 13 2014 2:44 pm

    I have one of these! Works like a charm 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 13 2014 3:18 pm

      My dad didn’t see any sense in buying a motorized lawnmower when there were kids available…but in 90+ heat and humidity and tropical growth of grass, we finally went on strike until motorized….but the first one you still had to push – we should have done more research before making demands. Thanks for clipping up a comment to add


  7. Paul / Oct 13 2014 2:44 pm

    I’m not much of a lawn man myself – I’ll water a bit and commiserate over the patchiness while having a beer in the shade. i can’t imagine maintaining a lawn where the temp regularly gets up to 100 degrees. i had a neighbor who ran and maintained golf courses for a living and he lived for grass. His lawn did not look much better than mine. He used to keep it golf-course quality but tired of coming home from work and working more. Grass is not naturally green and verdant – we humans like it that way and it is labor and resource wasteful and even dangerous to make it look so. Over a certain temp, grass goes brown to reduce water loss and retains life in its roots. When the water returns, it will come out of dormancy and grow green again. The moles and grubs and such are natural elements of the location and regularly inhabit grassy areas. Healthy grass should be tall – depending on the variety over 6 inches and up to a few feet. This allows the plants to retain water and be more resistant to the sun and heat. We cut it short for our own satisfaction and that makes it naturally damaged and suseptible to infestation and water loss and dormancy. We then devote watseful amounts of resources to keep it teetering on the edge of death and staying green. Because of the shortness it looses much of its hydration daily and requires more to survive. Even a short time loss of this care (i.e. water rationing because of draught) causes immediate dehydration and dormancy or death. We also pour insecticides, weed killer and grub control chemicals on the lawn to keep it balamced one step from death. These chemicals are poisonous to children and animals, run off to pollute waterways and again waste resources and money when the grass would have a natural resistamce if left to grow as much as it wants.

    So, Phil, for the health of children, the environment, resource management, and the grass itself – the key is to just sit back in the shade, have a beer and let the grass do as it pleases. Your neighbors are all damaging the grass, damaging the environment, threatening the health of children and animals while trying maintain their lawn one step from death for ther own selfish purposes. Rat bastards.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 13 2014 5:41 pm

      You are so right about the lawn treatments. We are pesticide free yard – years ago I started looking into what those companies actually put on yards (and the health records of they people who handle them.) Everything that goes on yards/flowers/gardens ends up in our lake, to the bay and on to the gulf waters. Last weekend a group was talking how it could be possible to swim in Buffalo Bayou (actually runs by/through downtown) IF people would stop using demanding perfect lawns. A few streams/watersheds are clean enough to swim in – and the others could be also. More people are using canoes and kayaks, so maybe someday…
      Regional plants are much easier to grow and more hardy. Pressure is on subdivisions’ management/ordinances to reduce the required percentage of grass per yard.(they can issue HUGE fines in some areas) And to allow bigger natural planted areas. Drought helped a bit there. Using grass varieties makes a difference, too. St Augustine tops out about 5-6 inches, but you don’t let it get that high due to mosquitoes (and snakes). Kept short, it uses requires less water for the broad blades and it gets thicker and healthier all by its’ self – great plan. (grows by runners and is not reseeded each year.) It’s different from yard grasses in other areas. Newer varieties are resistant to funguses, viruses, and need less water. The less you pamper those varieties, the better. Better life through!
      Golf courses use a different sort of sod here – thinner blades and lots of them – looks like velvet on a good day.Only one house around here has that kind.The closest golf course was one of the first to use recycled/cleaned waste water – had to have special permits, but now others looking at that idea, too.
      Would really be nice to find a balance. Like to run barefooted, but wish lawn service companies could only use organic products…so do the ladybugs, butterflies, bees….
      Thanks for seeding in a comment


  8. Littlesundog / Oct 13 2014 4:51 pm

    I have my great-grandparents old reel mower. It works great unless there are twigs or branches in the yard… which is how it is most of the time around here! I hand pull weeds where I can, and I don’t worry about yard appearance. Daisy deer and the birds have shown me that most of the weeds and wild plants (like poison ivy and sumac) are edibles to wildlife and even though we might despise them, they do serve a purpose in the ecosystem. I completely agree with Paul’s comment… especially that last paragraph. Great post here my friend!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 13 2014 5:47 pm

      Wish we still had our old one. Each spring it would get filed to cutting sharpness. This yard isn’t hilly and one would work just fine in cool weather. (out door gym!)
      Once you figure out this plant encouraged this bird/predator who eats that annoying insect, it’s easier to tolerate the temporary ugly stage of some plants. (But drawing the line at poison ivy around house/homestead – fine in the woods, but I’ll never forget the case my mom got…even internally. Luckily some have more resistance that others – and if you are careful…always the city kids that get it when they visit.) Thanks for digging up a comment!


  9. Carrie Rubin / Oct 13 2014 4:52 pm

    We used to get patches of dead grass every August but haven’t the last few years. I’d like to say it’s because we take better care of our lawn than we used to, but it’s not that. It’s just that our summers haven’t been as sunny and hot the last few years. Which I kind of miss, actually. Though I don’t miss the brown grass…


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 13 2014 5:20 pm

      Whimsy of Mother Nature making a point. “The best laid schemes of mice and men….”(Apologies to Steinbeck…couldn’t help it – inserting giggles) Thanks for patching in a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  10. jannatwrites / Oct 13 2014 6:45 pm

    We experienced your lawn woes when we lived in Phoenix. The back yard was too shaded in the winter, so winter grass was a joke. In the summer, it was burned and dead. And the front yard. I was on a slope so water would just run out onto the street. Funny… drove by that house and they’ve replaced the front grass with desert landscape!

    As for our house now… the land is more forested/natural, so there is no lawn to mess with. Tree trimming, however, is a never-ending duty!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 13 2014 7:49 pm

      Desert landscape sounds like a better idea for that house. I was glad to leave the pine trees of our last house – mounds of pine straw/needles and piles of pine cones. Now it’s mostly dog hair that shedding. Thanks for clipping a comment to leave


  11. robstroud / Oct 13 2014 6:57 pm

    I remember well how much energy was required to cut a large lawn with those rotary mowers. I would have been up for trying out the bike… but I’d prefer to see it in action first.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 13 2014 7:46 pm

      It looks like the bike has a bell on the handlebars. Gotta warn the squirrels! Thanks for pushing over a comment


  12. jubilare / Oct 13 2014 8:06 pm

    I’m shrinking my front lawn, strip by strip… hopefully in 2 or 3 years, I won’t have one. Muahahahaha!
    I’m planting lots of flowering plants (natives, mostly) that don’t take much maintenance, and that are good for bugs and birds (which are far more interesting than grass). I’ll do my running around in the back, and it’s appearance doesn’t really matter.
    Good luck!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 13 2014 8:36 pm

      The oak trees here have long branches that will droop close to the ground if allowed. Now there’s an option. Probably get applause from owls and squirrels. Thanks for planting a comment here


  13. dogear6 / Oct 13 2014 10:14 pm

    I’d love to take a match to our backyard and burn it all out! We seeded over a bunch of mulched areas earlier this summer. It grew for about 4 weeks and then it all died. We’re not sure why, but I’m starting to think there might be landscaping cloth under it. So next years we have to scrap it down, see if we can figure out what happened and try again. In the meantime, it’s right where the dogs walk in so it will be another six months of mud and crud being tracked in. Argh!!



    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 14 2014 5:07 pm

      How about a very very large deck….boardwalks. Nothing like dogs running marathons to churn things up. Already have a pile of doggy foot towels stacked by the door here. Thanks for scraping up a comment

      Liked by 1 person

      • dogear6 / Oct 15 2014 5:18 pm

        Perhaps it’s time to reconsider just blacktopping the whole thing!


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 16 2014 1:35 pm

          Hmmm, if we could paint the blacktop green, maybe we’d get past the civic association. Great idea!


  14. marthaschaefer / Oct 14 2014 12:09 pm

    “Leaving” the lawn to do its thing until all the confetti of Fall has blown away. Neighbors just shaking their heads…


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 14 2014 5:10 pm

      If only there was a leaf fall here to cover it. Mowing at least once in December. Thanks for leaving a blade of hope


  15. Ally Bean / Oct 14 2014 1:31 pm

    My relatives in FL got so tired of watching the backyard grass not grow that they had [as you mentioned above] a basketball court installed. After the kids were grown and flown, they turned it into a maze of raised planting beds with beautiful flowers and herbs. Just a thought, should you get desperate enough to give up on grass.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 14 2014 5:12 pm

      Civic groups have % of lawn that are required to have grass….it doesn’t say “green” but too much brown gets noticed. The flowerbeds just inch larger each year in secret. Thanks for mowing down a comment!


  16. EllaDee / Oct 15 2014 1:23 am

    Our yard is currently comprised of dead grass and bindies… the upsides are it’s not worth wasting time & petrol on mowing, and the galahs love dining on the bindi-eyes… they look like grey and pink chooks as they roam around completely at home.


  17. jmmcdowell / Oct 16 2014 9:16 pm

    Native vegetation! Why can’t we just go with native plants that can tolerate the local conditions? Who decided we all need little golf courses around our houses?


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