Monday, June 10, 2013

Lawn Care

The house we’re in now (rented) has a lawn. We moved in in December, a very wet time of year. The sprinklers hadn’t been on in quite some time, and yet the yard was so saturated that it was literally squishy. I don’t mean plush, like some four-inch thick country club lawn you sink into and think, “Ok, wow, I kind of get why someone might cultivate this.” I mean squishy like, “Wow, if this house were built on a slope, we’d be in considerable danger right now.”
It reminds me of an odd feature of Bakersfield in the summer. The street outside the house I grew up in would get so hot the tar in the asphalt would melt. When you stood still on parts of it, you’d slowly sink down a little. Just like with the saturated lawn, when I first discovered that the road was melting my immediate impulse was to tell somebody, who would presumably then notify the proper authorities, who would then fix it. But, as with so much that alarms me, apparently nothing is wrong.
In fact, when we hired a gardener in April (when the lawn was STILL squishy), when he left for the day he turned on the sprinklers. I turned them off, because that was just madness.
My husband later convinced me that, even though one area of the lawn was still pretty saturated, other parts were turning yellow and needed to be watered. So I relented, and now the sprinklers go on for a few minutes every morning while I shake my head in disapproval.
I think it’s ridiculous to plant anything outside that can’t get by at least the majority of the time with what falls out of the sky. I don’t mean crops. I like food. And I don’t mean your lawn, if you want one. I mean for me. I don’t like gardening beyond the confines of a large pot. Except for maybe trees, but they don’t require much in the way of maintenance.
We live near an open space preserve where hundreds (I’m guessing, it’s always packed when I go) of people go every day to enjoy all the outside stuff that grows without the assistance of sprinklers. It’s sometimes green, sometimes gold, always pretty.
But we water our lawn and then pay a guy to cut it, because it grew, because we watered it, because that makes sense. Only slightly more sense than redoing the landscaping around a house we rent.
I wish lawns would go out of style. Then maybe we could have the toilets back that only needed to be flushed once.