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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Green Emergency

While I was away on the trip to Bloomington, the grass in the backyard grew a little higher than is comfortable, and when I got back, I had a lot of things to get caught up on.

The backyard at its worst with Brownie

 There were torrential rains for over a month, so I could not use the expedient of not watering the lawn to slow its growth.  I was behind on lawn chores for a while, but I went at it for the past three days full force with garden shears and a reel mower, and now things are back to normal.

The backyard under control with Leo

You might say that I now have a manicured lawn, if by "manicured", you mean that it was all done by hand, as opposed to motorized machines. But if you mean that it is perfect, then manicured is probably not the word for it. Also, I did use store bought implements, so it was not really by hand.

The implements 

One of the reasons I don't let the professional mowers in the backyard is that having strangers there would be upsetting to Bow. Another reason is that he hates engine sounds. He hates the vacuum cleaner, too.

I like these flowers that grow by themselves in the yard by the fence and the wall, so I did not mow them down

But truthfully speaking, if I have to do it myself, I would rather do it using hand powered tools, because I find it hard to control a motorized weed wacker and the average motorized push mower is hard for me to start. I have little girl hands,  I'm not super muscular, and I can't handle anything with too much kick-back,  This is also the reason I prefer low caliber guns to high. You have to know your physical limitations and pace yourself, if you are going to accomplish anything on your own.

I went out to mow every time that Bow asked to go outside, so he could see what I was doing, and I could see what he was doing. He wasn't always happy that I was out there mowing and not paying attention to him, but he was good. He did not misbehave.

The leaf Bow did not use. It was greener yesterday.

Yesterday morning, when I was almost finished with my work, Bow suddenly had to use the potty. It was number two, and he sat there waiting for me to come in and help him wipe. But I was almost done with my mowing and had just a little more to do, and I did not want to stop while I was in the swing of things. So I picked up a green leaf and passed it through the grid and said to Bow: "Bow, could you just use this leaf to wipe yourself? I can't come in just now."

He looked at the leaf with a very doubtful expression, because after all, he is a civilized chimpanzee, and he is used to facial tissue, not leaves. "Use the leaf to wipe yourself!" I urged.

Bow did not do as I  asked. This, however, does not mean that he did not understand what I said. Sometimes, Bow just thinks he has a better idea. For some reason, in language comprehension tests, this aspect of language and communication is not accounted for.

Bow spotted a brown, dead leaf -- much smaller, but closer to him -- on the concrete floor and used that to wipe himself. Then he got off the potty and looked at his hand, to make sure it was clean. He is very fastidious.

Later when I came in to empty the potty and inspect everything, I saw that Bow had done a pretty good job with that tiny, dead leaf. Maybe green is not always more clean!

We are so used to modern amenities, that sometimes we forget what can be accomplished with much less. My daughter thinks I need a gym membership in order to stay fit. But I can assure you I exercised a lot of  unused muscles in the three days I took to mow the backyard.


  1. When they say you can watch a plant grow, I always thought it was a joke of sorts. Then I noticed that I can sort of see a morning glory vine growing before my eyes, so yes, there is something to that old saying. I love the picture of Brownie standing next to the overgrown grass. I have always felt that overly manicured lawns were boring, and I think yours is more beautiful and interesting because it grows so fast, and you mow it when time allows. I prefer your kind of grass over the artificially preserved kind that so many people in California cities are struggling to maintain. With our water shortages here in California, it no longer makes any sense anyway. I noticed a couple of businesses have gone to using gravel and flowers that require little rain. I think grass works better in places like Missouri where it rains more, but this seems to be a bit of common sense people just do not grasp in dry states.

    1. Thanks, Julia. I like the way my yard looks, too, and would not prefer anything fancier than this. It does seem foolish to try to grow a lawn where rain fall is scarce. I don't think I would do that.