Post Partum Lawn Care Observations.

In our neighbourhood, we are surrounded by people who take lawn care more seriously than we do. Lawn care for my husband involves putting on sturdy shoes or boots and locking the kids in the house (all part of his paranoia about lawn mowers abilities to cut off limbs) and then cutting the grass with our push mower. He is usually done in about 20 minutes (our lawn isn’t very big) and he repeats the process about once a week.
Five days after baby boy’s birth, I spent the day resting on the couch (while my husband made his token appearance at church) and watching our neighbour across the street care for his lawn. His process was dramatically different.
Around ten in the morning, he came outside with his push mower and after circling his small square lawn twice, he stopped mowing to empty the bag of grass from the mower into a bright orange waste bag. His wife came outside with the baby in her lap and sat on the porch talking to a neighbour. The man continued cutting his grass in an intricate pattern shaped around the places where he had removed trees the year before. (He had also had the stumps professionally ground out, so I’m not sure why he wasn’t comfortable with mowing over the slightly rougher grass patches, but he seemed determined to avoid them.) He stopped to talk with the neighbour as well, and had a drink with him on the porch. His wife went indoors.
He finished mowing, bagging the grass as he went. Then to my surprise he got out a rake and spent a good hour raking his already bare yard. He managed to scrape together some dried straw like stuff out from under the grass. (I found my perfectionist side fascinated by the raking, wondering what I would discover lurking under my lawn if I just spent the time and effort to rake it) He left the dried scraps lying there, and walked back to his garage. He came back with a lengthy extension cord which he stretched out on his driveway. His wife brought the baby back outside in the stroller, and he spent a few moments talking with the baby.
Then he got out a weed wacker, and attached it to the extension cord. He walked around his yard waved the weed wacker at a few (apparently invisible) blades of grass. His wife came back outside and began weeding the flower bed in front of the window.
He pulled out some more orange bags and began bagging up the grass he’d raked up. At this point 4 hours had gone by, I was sure that he was done with his lawn care by now. But no, after bagging the last of the scraps, he went over to the rougher looking patch of grass, (where the tree stump had once been) and started raking out dirt and wood chips leftover from the stump grinding. After a while he went to his garage and came back with a spade and started digging.
He encountered a root, and walked across to his neighbours house and after coming back with an axe, he carefully hacked out the root and then went back to digging. He called his wife over and had her hold the waste bag open while he filled it with the dirt he had dug out of the hole. The baby began crying and his wife left to take her indoors. He continued filling bags with dirt until he had 4 bags full. Then he dragged all the bags to his garage, and put away all his tools, and got his wife and kid into his car and drove off to eat out for dinner.
He had just spent 6 straight hours doing lawn care, and that was just the front yard. What makes someone spend that much time, in the sun, working on their yard? Are my husband and I just lazy in our approach? Is this guy a perfectionist? Is he OCD? Did he come from a family with a big emphasis on yard work? Does he have an exceptional hatred of wood chips being mixed into his dirt? (Although if I compare him to his next door neighbour, who was vacuuming his driveway (seriously, don’t ask), maybe he is completely normal and just loves working on his yard?)
(And just so you know, I wasn’t just sitting on my couch for 6 hours watching his every move. We had lunch, I changed diapers, my midwife came to check on the baby and me, I tickled my kids and listened to them have a 45 minute discussion about poop. But I figured none of that would be very interesting to blog about.)
Anyways, my neighbour’s yard looks nice, though I wonder what’s going to happen this coming weekend now that I notice he has a few dandelions, and the other ground up stump has remained unexcavated.

  • Michelle

    This made me laugh. Really…some people really love their lawn an awful lot more than I love mine. Now, i do hate weeds…so we fork over money for a lawn service to come and take care of that stuff…and then we spend 20-25 minutes mowing once a week.

    So glad you and baby boy are doing well! My congratulations got eaten by Blogger the other day. :)

  • This Heavenly Life

    For some reason, this was HILARIOUS!! My bet is that this guy actually enjoys the process, and thinks of it as a hobby. But to spend 6 hours every weekend on a hobby seems extravagant…

    However, I can relate: my dad — no kids at home anymore — LOVES his lawn. It's huge and landscaped and plotted with trees and shrubs and flowers, and I imagine he spends a good hour or two per DAY on yard work. For fun. And on the weekends, it's several hours. Personally, I'm grateful for the distraction: he becomes a different person in the winter when he can't go DO something. Plus, I have to admit, it's lovely to let the kids play outside over there. It's a treat to sit in such a beautiful place and keep an eye on them!

    But to spend 6 hours on grass alone still sounds funny :)

    Right now, the grass in my own back yard is 6-8 inches high, at least. We clearly don't do much, and avoid it as long as possible :)

    (Hmmm…novel much, Sarah? Sorry for the lengthy comment!)

  • Hermana Linda

    Fascinating! And funny, too. <3

  • Me

    Wow. I just took our weed wacker to the back yard because it was covered in clover (we are looking for a used mower with no success, so the weed wacker has to do the job now). He would probably have a panic attack over my front yard. :)

  • Amber

    OK. Vacuuming the driveway got me. HAHAHA!!!

  • rachel

    My grandma was told by a pastor that the state of a person's yard reflects the state of their soul. Perhaps this guy feels the same way :-)

    By the way, that's a terrible, terrible thing to tell an elderly woman who can't get out and actually take care of her own yard. It makes life pretty rough on the grandkids who are given that responsibility b/c then grandma gets REALLY picky!

  • Incongruous Circumspection

    ROTFLOL! Vacuuming his driveway! That is awesome. I just bought a leaf blower for the driveway and all the landscaping in the yard of the house we just bought. The kids love using it to chase each other around. We also enjoy vases full of dandelions every morning.

    In contrast, I clean the house like that guy does his lawn.

  • David T.

    Perhaps he finds it relaxing.
    Although other people I know would hold this guy up as a paragon of responsibility.
    I guess I would want to ask, would a professional lawn care service have put as much work into it as this guy?
    Ultimately, it is a matter of priorities. Nobody has the resources to make every part of our lives A++ perfecto… unless you are rich enough to hire people to make it so.

  • SarahZ

    Maybe this is mean, but when I was reading this I kept thinking "This must be what its like to be Canadian. Spending 6 hours on the lawn cause their so happy to have finally found it under 30 feet of snow!" But seriously I kinda like working on the lawn and landscaping. Its relaxing, and I get some sick sense of satisfaction that even if my house isn't perfectly clean at least no one would know that based on the outside of my house.

  • Julie

    Congratulations on the new baby!

    But I hafta tell you, poop is always (!) more fascinating than yard work. We live on a golf course (fareway lot) and our south next door neighbors hire other people to be obsessive about such things as stumps and dandelions. Our yard looks like crap because the north side neighbor is bent on destroying his grass by mowing too short and letting the weeds roam free (as in, "let 'em seed into the neighbor's — read 'my' — yard. Let's throw our dead tree limbs and other assorted trash over there too, since we're too cheap/ignorant to buy the [mandatory recycling] lawn bags.)

    Talking about poop helps me stay sane.

  • Young Mom

    Michelle- Seriously! There are SOOOOOO many other things I could do with my time. : )

    Sarah- So cute about your Dad. And congratulations on your ultrasound today!!

    Me- Um, yeah. We never weed wack, I should ask him to come over and fix up our yard.

    Amber- He really was vacuuming! That was the final thing that made me turn this into a blog post.

    Rachel- Haha! I guess that makes my soul about average. Actually I’m good with that.

    Incongruous- Seriously, he was out there with a Shop Vac! I’ve never seen that before. But you’re right, we all have our little obsessions that we spend more time than average on.

    David T- Since I didn’t see him swearing or kicking tools (something I would be doing if I spent that long doing yard work) I’m assuming he enjoys it. Maybe that is the place he can keep perfect, I know I’m that way about cleaning my bathroom, it’s like the one place in the house that will stay clean for more than a minute, since we aren’t living in there!

    SarahZ- Lol! So true, I think we are all still in awe up here that the weather has finally reached the 60’s and 70’s.

    Julie- Neighbours can be rough! I was ready to kill mine when I was 9 months pregnant and they were cutting down trees in their yard with a chainsaw during naptime on a SUNDAY! And the poop conversation may yet make it into a post, we have 2 in diapers again, so this kind of thing is a daily occurrence.

  • munchesmom

    LOL! I guess to each his own. We have neighbors who are very obsessive about their lawns. The lady behind us will mow her lawn twice…once to cut the grass, empty the bag, then mow again in a different direction/pattern. Then she'll get out the weed whacker/trimmer. She has no weeds in the yard & her grass ALWAYS grows so quickly. She mows at least twice a week.

    We, on the other hand, usually do the bare minimum. Maybe once a week our oldest will mow & we may use the weed whacker once every 3 or 4 mowings. While I would love to have that perfect lawn, it's just not going to happen w/ four active munchkins.

  • Edita

    Hahaha, that post made my day!
    Our left side neighbor has a similar obsession with his lawn. In summer, they will spend days in a row just taking care of the lawn. in bathing pants and bikini, mind you they don't have a pool. Nothing compares to how funny it looks when a woman in a bikini crawls along the lawn line with a pair of scissors (no joke!). They keep nagging us about our "terrible" lawn. They might be right, we mow our lawn once in two weeks tops.
    Our right hand neighbor on the other side never does. NEVER. He didn't for the past 10 years. The grass goes up to my hip and I'm a tall person. The cats love to play there, hunt mice and birds (which regularly end up dead on our porch!).
    We don't mind that the garden next to us looks like a ruin, dead trees and such… Can you imagine how many beautiful birds, butterflies and dragonflies keep us company?

  • ~M~

    My husband is like that with the kids, fearing for limbs and such…so funny!

  • Calah

    That's hysterical! Wow. My hypothetical yard would be lucky to get a hypothetical mowing.

  • ‘Becca

    My parents and their across-the-street neighbor have this contrast. He has a special lawn-vacuum that he runs over the entire lawn every time to pick up all the clippings! The guy next to him is almost as obsessive. When I was a kid, they were always talking about how lawn care is so important to Keeping Up The Property Values. (I don't know why that matters, seeing as they've lived in those houses for 40 years and seem to be staying for the rest of their lives.)

    I don't have a lawn. Flower garden in front and semi-wild forest in back. I like not having to mow!

  • Erin

    Funny! Okay. So, we aren't lawn people. My husband's lawn care sounds similar to what you describe of your husband's lawn care. BUT. He does love spending all his spare Saturday hours working in the yard. It is his therapy. He needs it. So, maybe your neighbor is the same. Who knows?

  • Houston Lawn Mowing

    This post is a comfort. Cant forget to laugh.

  • Margo McCann

    Lawn care is huge where I was growing up and it was so funny that everyone had their own way of doing it. My dad was agrass bagger but some people like to let their grass act as mulch and there were actually arguments between neighbors about it. I am not that interested in my lawn now that I am all grown up but I can relate.