Humor is the salve that allows me to move forward when life conspires to puncture my ever-fragile skin, and then proceeds to grind coarse salt into the open laceration. A person who is incapable of poking fun at himself, is apt to find the going much tougher.
With that thought paramount on the reader’s mind, I present to you, “A Rebel Without a Lawn,” intended to both enlighten and entertain audiences far and near, though probably more near than far. And yes, I know the title changed, as it will do so repeatedly as we move through this saga.
Water is the nectar of life; if you have it, you enjoy the fruits thereof. We have struggled to subsist on minimal amounts of this precious commodity for much of our thirty-three years here on the ridge. Only in recent times with the construction of two ponds, one substantially larger than the other, has the specter of no-water been chased away from our land.
Coinciding with the decision to put in a second pond came the ever-increasing reverberations from the drought in California, making the move seem that much smarter. In a global sense capturing rain water to redistribute it over time, hurts no one, helps maintain the moisture levels in the soil, produces fresh produce for a grateful community year-round, and provides employment for the members of HappyDay Farm.
The ponds serve the agricultural needs of the farm primarily, but also the needs of two homesteads as well, one of them mine. When Annie and I relocated here in May of 1982, (http://markyswrite.blogspot.com/2011/07/blue-rock-ridge.html) water was the main source of our anxiety: the less water-the more anxiety. Never did less produce more.
As misdirected as it may seem, the summer following Unc Rob’s miraculous development of the spring down below on my parcel (1984), which we pumped up to a tank above both of our homes, I put in a small “Despicable Lawn.” Why, you might ask, if water was so scarce, would I do that? The answer is contained somewhere deep within my upbringing.
I was fourteen the summer of 1967, down in SoCal http://markyswrite.blogspot.com/2013/06/1967-or-fire-engine-red.html, and there was no shortage of water. We lived on a plot of land that had a large back yard, extending back a couple hundred feet at least from the street, before encountering our neighbors’ fence. Within our lot were towering pecan trees, unappreciated persimmons, majestic avocado trees, and many, many more varieties, creating a shady environment of an oasis in arid SoCal.
Our yard stood out because it was so different from many of my friends’ tract homes, which had postage stamp-sized back yards, with no room for anything other than the obligatory barbecue patio. Ours had originally been divided in half, with a huge play yard for the younger set in front, and the more untamed portion out back for the older generation.
I was in the middle, with three older brothers more than willing to make my life hell, but also willing to beat the bejabbers out of anyone who messed with me. It left me confused at times but that was to be expected. After all, I had three younger brothers upon whom to inflict the same set of familial expectations.
I was determined to domesticate that “untamed portion” out back in that yard down in SoCal and remove the wooden play-yard fence. I thus united the two in a sizable unit which I then proceeded to convert to St Augustine grass, transplanting little chunks from a small section in the middle yard, and redistributing it all over the whole premises.
For a fourteen-year old kid, who was also painting the family home the same summer, it was a monumental task. I was in no hurry because in SoCal there is no winter. I went forward with my task, even as I entered my sophomore year in high school and started a job at the local grocery store.
The lawn was everything I had hoped for; I kept it watered on a meticulous schedule, and reveled in its beauty. Ostentatious? For 1967/1968 SoCal, it was no more ostentatious than a family with nine children. It was how we rolled when times were good.
If that helps explain why I wanted a lawn, then fine. Call it “Alice in Wonder-Lawn.” For whatever reasons, once I moved up here and put in that little lawn, I nurtured it every year from 1985 until last September. I have mostly watched it radiate vitality and greenery in the spring, and then gradually over the summer seen it decline, so that by August it is mostly just an off shade of dull yellow, with a hint of green.
With the new pond in place, not only did I see visions of grandeur with my original lawn, which was probably about twenty feet by twelve, but I wanted to expand my palatial lawn holdings. Think of it as “Dark lawn Rises.”
“Jurassic Lawn” will continue...