Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Winterize Your Lawn

“A smooth, closely shaven surface of green is by far the most essential element of beauty on the grounds of a suburban house.”
– Frank J. Scott, The Art of Beautifying Suburban Home Grounds, 1870

- Me

I live in a relatively new housing development in Phoenix which means at least one thing: I have a very small yard. About 10 x 15 in the front and maybe 25 x 20 in the back… something like that… These yards are irritatingly small. They’re only useful if you have very little children or you are very little yourself… like Frodo little. So here I am with my hobbit yard trying to figure out if I’ll put winter grass down this year. Not sure why. It’s just another expense but everyone else on the street keeps doing it and my kids don’t need anymore neighborhood embarrassment. They’re already disturbed enough by the inferior amount of Christmas lights we have and heaven forbid my resistance to putting up Halloween decorations! Where do these people get all this time to decorate for Halloween? They’re killing me. My kids already have a dad that says, “No dogs and no adopting babies from Mexico.” And now they have to deal with me saying, “No, I’m not buying any goofy scary cutoff at the elbow arm hand light things and then spending an entire Saturday scattering them evenly around the front yard in order to spread the Halloween cheer.” Good Lord. How much Halloween cheer do we need? Anyhow… So, OK, I’ve winterized once again. Amazingly, even though we live in a desert the backyard looks like a bad episode from the Planet Earth series. We’ve got about 4,000 pigeons, doves and other smallish, riffraff birds feasting on grass seed. It’s like going into a Golden Corral or Western Sizzlen in some small town around lunch time… ever seen that? Folks just gorging on food… That’s what these birds remind me of. They do nothing else. They eat. Fly up onto the wall and look stupidly at me when I open the door shooing them away. Only to descend lightly and sweetly down to consume my lawn yet once again. I mean, I like birds and all (and I absolutely love the Planet Earth series. It’s on my Christmas list this year) but not the ‘Western Sizzlen birds’. They need to be out with the real birds like hawks and stuff, you know? They need to be out there fighting for life and limb with a fox over a piece of jack rabbit or antelope or something rather than eating all my grass seed. They don’t have my respect for being lazy and consuming my grass seed. You can't call that foraging. They aren’t real birds. In fact, come to think of it, that’s what I want. I want real birds. I want a backyard full of top-of-the-food-chain hawks or stinkin’ bald eagles. Or how bout like, a flock of condors crammed in the front lawn. Can you imagine the neighborhood on Halloween with little Johnny in his superman costume crossing to the other side of the street ‘cuz a giant California Condor is eying him? That’d be sweet. Wait, I’ve got it! That’s what I’m doing next year for Halloween. I’m getting grass seed that attracts condors. I’ll have a yard full of them and it will bring so much halloween cheer and be so scary. It will be awesome. And then I’ll win some award or something from the housing association and in a few years everyone will be doing it and then my kids will finally understand that their dad isn’t strange and barbarous. He just wants green grass during the winter.

and winged carnivores in his yard…

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