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Back Beat: In our neck of the woods, lawn care matter of obsessiveness

By Tim Osburn

I live in a very nice, middle-class suburban conclave known as Pinecrest. Our home is a Cape Cod, built by my Lady Jane.
The lawns of all our neighbors are beautiful. Most of them fertilize and put weed killers on in the spring. We don’t, being eco-minded and cheap!
Our next-door neighbor is a lawn jockey. In the spring, when the grasses first emerge from their winter’s sleep, he mows, sometimes four times a week. It is important to him that his lawn resembles the outfield at Kauffman Stadium. Either that or his wife is a nag and he mows to get away from her.
A couple of years ago, I decided I would try my hand at lawn horticulture. I raked and poked the yard, got a load of rich dirt to fill in low spots, spent A LOT of money on seed and fertilizer and put a great deal of sweat equity into it that spring. For naught.
The spring rains washed away all the seed I had put down (we live on the top of a bluff – the yard slopes away on all sides). The dandelions came anyway, despite efforts to prevent them. Crabgrass, chickweed, clover, almost every bane to the lush lawns surrounding us popped up. Defeat at the hands of Mother Nature!
But we have trees. In full summer, it is hard to see the house, particularly from the back. It looks like a rain forest.
I happened upon the idea of having the property certified as a Nature Sanctuary by the Wildlife Federation (we have a plaque in the front yard to prove it). Voila! The perfect excuse for not having the perfect lawn!
So now, I scoff at the neighbors and their bi- or tri-weekly mowing ritual. As they are toiling away, I sit on the veranda, watching the parade of Nature pass by. And no one can see me smirking!

Tim Osburn, retired from AT&T, played drums at the
Farris Theatre when it was still home to the Farris Opry.

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