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lighten up lawn nazis

April 17, 2011

A week ago last Thursday, I spent a good part of the day pulling out weeds in the front and back. That last round of rain– they grew a foot overnight, and the lawn too. Not to mention they were topped off with Fukushima rain.

I hate to pull them out, when they’re growing so beautifully and enthusiastically. But I have found if you leave something like a foxtail to dry, it disintegrates very suddenly into a million obnoxious prickles. It was a lot of work, especially since I have to lay them on the ground and cut off the lower parts to put in my leaf pile. I don’t throw my soil down the drain.

Anyway, after I was all happy and tired and accomplished, at six o’clock in the evening, our neighbor knocked on the door. “I was noticing your yard,” he says, and then, in a confidential tone, “is the back that way too?” Actually, the back is really pretty! Besides the overgrown lawn, the bone of contention in the front is my poppy field. I’ve been saying to people apologetically for months, “I’m growing poppies here.” I know what they think when they see me out there selectively pulling one type of weed out what looks like a gigantic patch of weeds: they think I’m delusional

He wanted to send his gardener up to cut the lawns, at his expense! “Oh, thanks so much” I kept saying, “but we’ll get someone to do the grass, and I’M GROWING POPPIES HERE.” At that time, there were no poppies yet in sight.

Now, if any one should pay for it, the City should, since the reason the grass died there in the first place was that I fell for their low-water propaganda and scare tactics. Oddly, while I was scrupulously saving every drop for the good of all, they continued to spew untold gallons all summer over road medians, etc.

Was it just three or four years ago, that this city was hiring extra LAW ENFORCEMENT to go around and fine and harass people for having weeds or dry grass in their front yards? Frankly, I consider it the judgment of God on this town that every third house is now vacant. Deal with that, weed police.

So, I really am growing poppies, but there is a small element of civil disobedience as well.

Because you know what makes this a good town? It’s not lovely, well-tended front yards– though I’m quite fond of them. It’s people like my neighbor, who saw a need– maybe a sign of distress– and reached out to help with it.

Kindness. And also forebearance.

As of now, there actually are some poppies; the pictures were taken last week. So I have something to point to, and also some kind of explanation for why I’m watering the cracks in the driveway.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2011 3:42 AM

    lol I don’t really understand this thing about big and small lawns.. Isn’t everyone free to have what they want to have?
    (America, land of the free? :))

    I love it what you write about kindness… :))

    My dad is obsessed with lawn (and loud oil-guzzling lawn-mowers) too, I wish he wasn’t… I think it’s just ‘the neighbours have this short lawn so we must have it too’ syndrome..
    There is something about short lawn, big grass makes my heart sing though… (Or were they worried some seeds might ‘spill over’, or about the allergenic plants – like the notorious ambrosia? or that dry grass could be a fire hazard or something? Well, so could be Dow Chemicals, but I don’t see them shutting it down, hmm?? Maybe you need to build a shelter siren for your big dry grass too, lol? Though I don’t see it in the photos??)

    I wouldn’t apologize about growing big grass or poppies either – I would FLAUNT it!! – And plant some other bee-friendly flowers to boot!! Bees totally need all the flowers they can get!!

    Saw a TV show the other day too: a lot of what we think as ‘weed’ may actually be healthy or edible!! So, maybe get a book on ‘wild edibles’ or ‘healthy weeds’ or such??

    • E. A. Peregrine permalink
      May 1, 2011 9:27 AM

      Well, I ate some mustard greens a couple of years ago, spurred on by my LJ friend auntysocial. You should read her blog– it’s the best and most beautiful commentary/photography on the L.A. area ever

      I’m always on the lookout for edibles. When the apocalypse comes, I intend to survive. I follow a site called foragesf for that. What do we have wild around here, besides mustard? Purslane, miner’s lettuce, a few other things.

      You’d be amazed how little people think of freedom and individual rights around here, when they decide they’re protecting their “property values.” In just slightly more affluent neighborhoods than ours, there are homeowners’ associations that are positively fascist.

      I think they’re worried most about aesthetic conformity, when it comes to the grass. But I have no intention of letting it go too dry, in case someone walks by and tosses a cigarette in there. I just weeded out all the oats and foxtails that were getting mature, and in a week or so I’ll probably have to cut it down quite a bit. Meanwhile, though, it’s still just lovely!

  2. April 27, 2011 3:50 AM

    Oh, and some cities (and even countries) apparently have had too much time and money on their hands, and no clear vision of where to use it most efficiently for the benefit of people who live there?? (Many cities/towns/communities here have suffered from this too..)
    Some actually don’t have enough knowledge about eco/nature things and might appreciate help from people… (especially if it would include getting some inter/national grants or such!!)
    Yup, health and wellbeing of people (and plants) is more important than to ‘look pretty’ – tell that to Co0smopolitan-reading crowd or such though?? Many people still suffer from the same syndrome (on a personal and community level), I think it’s a long-term effort..

    Maybe you need to get into the town meetings and/or find friends who work/volunteer there or such…? Maybe they would appreciate some pointers? ;)

    About watering cracks, looks pretty, maybe not such a good idea though – the cracks would widen more quickly and you’d need to get new asphalt more quickly…? (Not sure how fond you are of new machinery or iffy smells that come from new asphalt, some can be more or less toxic, depending how fast it dries..)

    • E. A. Peregrine permalink
      May 1, 2011 9:33 AM

      Well, after all the rain, a few extra drips of water I don’t think will make much difference, though you have a point. As far as town government goes, I do occasionally go to meetings (read back entries). But believe me, they’re not looking for pointers.

  3. August 25, 2011 11:52 AM

    it’s just too funny, watering cracks in the driveway…:)

    • E. A. Peregrine permalink
      August 25, 2011 11:00 PM

      I love those red poppies. Wherever they grow, I am their servant!

  4. August 29, 2011 6:37 PM

    lol, yes i can get that :) but still… it just cracks me up, pardon the pun

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