Sunday, June 06, 2010

Lawn Blues

I lost the lawn war.

My mower bearing froze a couple weeks ago, and although I took it apart, I was unable to get that bearing freed up to easily spin. I'm still trying.

In the meantime my brother sent me another reel mower, this one not as sturdy as the one that broke. I immediately mowed the front lawn, however. I had chopped the top off the 18 inch high back lawn using a hand sickle. It was rough looking but low enough that yesterday, I intended to mow it down with the reel mower.

However, the old man intervened. I didn't ask for it, but it happened.

I heard him cursing up a storm in his backyard and went to see if he had injured himself. He'd come out of his place in the back, he said, and gone through a bunch of cobwebs which got all over his face.

He doesn't like cobwebs or spiders.

So I tried to shoot the breeze with him. He was trying to decide on a bike ride or mowing his lawn. He had neighbors after him, he said, over his yard. I said "Ignore the lawn nazi's and go for a Harley ride. This is the only day it's not going to rain for awhile. Screw the lawn. Go ride your Harley." I told him I now had a mower, pointed it out proudly, and said I'd mow his front lawn if he wanted to go ride his Harley.

He doesn't think reel mowers are "real" mowers, and started saying he was going to mow my back yard. I again urged him to chuck that idea and go for a Harley ride, to seize the day!

He showed me thistles three feet tall out front, next to his window. He said, with a sarcastic grin, "Took a lot of loving care to grow those that big." I started laughing and said "They're fine looking thistles for sure!"

He took off then. Next thing I know, he's out there, mowing my back yard space, which is rather small. I go out and try to tell him, because he's huffing and puffing due to breathing issues, that I'll do it, but he won't have that, because he says it's the only exercise he gets. I try to tell him, "But mowing is the only exercise I get and I need it," which is true, but he won't give it up.

I try to warn him about rocks on the edge, because he's mowing right over my flowers, and then, sadly, my four inch high vegetable plants. He yells at me and waves me away, thinking I'm saying I don't know what to him. He doesn't really hear much. My back yard vegetables are now history, fodder, mulch. Sad.

Then he mows out front, too and I'd already mowed that, but he didn't think it was short enough I guess and now it's, um, certainly short enough.

I appreciate him wanting to help, but I didn't ask him, to, and now he's taken over again. I don't know what to do anymore here. I don't know. It's a confounding confusing thing. Cul de sac life is really soap operic and silly in many many ways.

If he'll leave my vegetables alone, and I can replant, I've decided to hell with the rest of the yard, and he can do what he wants. Seems important to him to do it, and I don't like doing it. So it's a good deal for both of us. He's a bored old man, like I get bored. He's got power tools and needs places to use them. I just want to have the vegetables because I need to have them to eat.

I haven't been to a store for vegetables for a long time. The reason is, I can't find anywhere affordable around here, where the vegetables aren't all shipped in from out of country. Yes, I said out of country, not out of state.

To shop for groceries and vegees, I go to Winco in Corvallis or Salem, or farmer's markets or farm stands where I know the people and how they raise crops. I do not frequent roadside stands of people I don't know, who could possibly dump a zillion chemicals on their vegetables or raise them in their own poo, for all I know. If you don't know who is selling food along the road, you don't know how they grew what they're selling or even where it came from. I want to know.

I've been to Shop n Cart since moving here, now renamed Mega Foods and the prices are over the top. Very expensive. The first time I went there, I saw freezers full of FREEZER BURNED chicken packages. I thought "Oh my gawd, why are they selling this?" I figured they'd accidentally stored it wrong and were selling it off cheap. But no. That's how they sell it there--freezer burned to beat the band and even the freezer burned chicken is higher priced than Winco's non freezer burned chicken. That was a telling factor for me about that store and what it stands for.

What kind of a store matter of factly sells freezer burned chicken and why?

The other stores here in town are very expensive. Safeway. Fred Meyer. Albertsons. The only food store I can really afford anymore is Winco. Walmart's food prices are way up there too and they mainly sell prepackaged food, which I don't think is real food.

So, at least in the spring and summer, I like to grow vegetables, so I can just go out and pick something and eat it. I don't grow a lot because I have almost no space where the sun might hit, if the sun ever returns to Oregon, that is.

It doesn't take much skill or anything else to grow squash and bush beans, so that's mainly what I grow. Last year, two yellow bush bean plants, rarely tended, gave me beans clear into the fall and they were delicious. I have mustard spinach growing everywhere now like a weed, so I do have plenty of that to eat. Nothing else is really growing much because of the weather we've had, cold, extreme rain and wind and no sun. Plants want some sun. So do I!

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