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Lawn Care

I’m not good with lawns.

I don’t understand why.

For thirty years, I managed to raise crops on 1,200 acres to help feed a hungry world, so you’d think that an acre of grass would be easy.

You’d be wrong.

We’re having a wedding here on the farm in October. It’s pretty exciting. Depending on the state of the pandemic, the bride and groom have settled on a guest list somewhere between 6 and 100. I’m okay with left-over cake, so I’m seeing it as a win either way – a great party OR shopping for more relaxed-fit jeans with a sugar smile on my face.

No matter how many folks come, we want the place looking as good as possible. And that means an abundance of bare brown patches should be green.

That’s a little bit of a problem. If I lived in town, I’m pretty sure I’d be the despair of the neighborhood, based on the dandelion population alone. Since our driveway is a quarter mile long, our house sits in the middle of 10 acres of trees, and our closest neighbor is a mile and a half away, I can usually get by with pretty minimal lawn care.

I don’t think that makes me a bad person. In my continual effort to strike a blow for sanity and more free time on weekends, let me remind you all that lawns were invented by the wealthy about 300 years ago to demonstrate they were so rich they could afford to have peasants keep the grass short around the castle. Now the peasants have lawns of their own and they constantly work on them in an effort to prove…I have no idea.

I still remember how astonished I was when I discovered that people fertilizer their lawns in order to make the grass grow faster. It just seems like a mistake - like teaching your dog how to tip over garbage cans, or telling a twelve-year-old about Roman candle duels you survived when you were his age.

The people of the United States spend over $30 billion on lawn care annually, more than the entire North American continent spends on foreign aid. That means if it’s a choice between supporting a new school in Sierra Leone or a better blend of Kentucky Bluegrass, we’re going with the grass seed.

Studies also show that the average American spends over 150 hours a year on lawn care and less than 35 hours on sex.

I have no idea what the deeper meaning of that is, but it doesn’t seem right.

Every year, there are 75,000 accidents involving lawnmowers. Do you have any idea how few accidents are caused by sheep? A few drive-by buttings, and that’s about it. Pesticides on lawns kill honeybees and songbirds, and 30% of the water used on the East coast is used to water the grass.

So, maybe I’m not a loser in the turf wars – maybe I’m just ahead of the curve.

I’m still going to try to get the place looking spiffy for my baby’s wedding, but after that, I’m thinking sheep. As for the rest of you, it’s none of my business, but I’d suggest you let the dandelions live and instead try to bump up that 35 hours a little.

Copyright Brent Olson 2020

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