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.