Courage at Twilight: Lawn Care

Dad keeps his lawn green and trimmed and mowed. The lawn gets nourished monthly with the correct kind of fertilizer, and enjoys a haircut twice a week.  Donning a straw hat against the sun and potential skin cancer, he drives his red riding mower, curving around the beds of bushes and flowers, happy to be in the saddle.  A neighbor commented, “Nelson, you are the most determined man I’ve ever seen in caring for a yard.”  One Friday night in spring, Dad asked me if I would fertilize the lawn first thing Saturday morning so that the coming snow would dissolve the fertilizer into the turf.  Come morning, however, the lawn was buried in four inches of heavy wet snow.  Not wanting Dad to be disappointed, I ventured to push the spreader anyway.  With two wheels on the “ground” the spreader merely pushed against the snow.  But with one wheel on the ground—the wheel geared to the spreader—and the other elevated, I made good progress.  It is often hard to see where one has fertilized because the spreader swath is three feet on either side, and I lose track of where I’ve been.  I did not have this problem now because the fertilizer sat on the surface of the snow.  Unfortunately, the grains of this particular fertilizer were yellow, and now Dad’s entire yard was covered with yellow snow.  Dad was astonished, having never seen fertilized snow.  He commented, “Roger—it looks like the whole lawn was trampled by peeing deer.”  Indeed, deer are frequent visitors, eating down spring’s lily shoots.  Just yesterday I watched a nearby mule deer doe watching Dad as he string trimmed.  Now, at summer’s end, the grass is green green.  Dad cut the grass again last night.  Now it’s my turn to do my job: take the push mower around the places where the riding mower can’t easily maneuver.  And empty the bags of cut grass.

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