If you need yard work advice, then you’ve found the place! Dan shares what NOT to do in order to welcome Spring to your lawn.
Ahhhh Spring (which in short order will turn in allergy induced Ahhhhhhh Choooo!! around here). It’s high time to whip the yard and house into shape. Time to break out my dorky wide-brimmed hat and tame the jungle that is my yard. I actually really enjoy yard work, and working on the house, but a master gardener I am not. Neither do I have any real yard or home hacks to make your life easier. Most of what I have learned has come from fails. Failure may indeed be the best teacher. I just wish she would just quit springing pop-quizzes on me all the time.
If you can’t learn from my hacks, since I have none, please learn from my mistakes. If it pleases the audience, I have prepared a few of my more memorable home and yard fails for your reading pleasure. Perhaps you will find a lesson within each.
*Fail #1 – Mower Woes
We once bought three new lawnmowers in three years. Lawnmower#1 – My wife hit a stump and bent the rotor…it happens – lesson learned. Lawnmower #2 – My wife added a quart of oil to the lawnmower thinking it was a bit low. A mower is never a quart low on oil. She then ran the mower, which was belching huge plumes of white smoke and seized the engine… believe it or not, there is precedent out there for this scenario – lesson learned. Lawnmower #3 – My son ran over a fire hydrant and bent the rotor… If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I would never have believed hitting it with a mower to be possible. The only lesson I learned is that my children never cease to amaze me…sometimes in pleasant ways. Takeaway: Hire that neighbor kid who wants to cut your grass for $10.
*Fail #2 – Pooch Poop
One summer, some neighbor’s dog kept taking a dump in my yard. Almost daily I would find a huge dog-mine on my grass. I never determined whose dog it was. In my anger I refused to pick it up and put it in my own garbage (like my wife told me to). Instead I shoveled the poo out into the road. In a week’s time I had a veritable moat of dog poop surrounding my home. In case you are wondering, dog crap baking on hot pavement smells as bad as it sounds. Takeaway: Sometimes you have to clean up poop that isn’t yours. Deal with it before you make your problem much worse.
*Fail #3 -Tulip Trouble
We have inadvertently bred a new type of self-pruning tulip. After multiple years of having their flowers nearly immediately snipped by soccer balls – our tulips no longer produce anything but green shoots. I think that they have given up trying. I feel their pain. Takeaway: If you have active kids the only thing you should be planting is astro-turf.
*Fail #4 – Willo-o-o-w! You Idiot!
I used to love globe willows. We planted 2 of them. They quickly grew into lovely huge tree behemoths in a couple of years. Nobody told me that they are the worlds all-time wimpiest tree. If so much as a sparrow’s fart worth of wind catches in their branches they split in half. If there is an early or late snow in the forecast, they split in half. Oh, and they also easily get worms, spew foam that smells like beer, and then split in half. Takeaway: Plant some slow growing tree that won’t fully mature until long after you’re dead.
*Fail #5 – Bee smart, Bee wise, Bee wearing pants and shoes
Trimming your yard in shorts and flip-flops is a bad idea in general. However, I often fancy myself above the law, so I have been known to do this. I think this last summer cured me of this habit, but not for the reason you might suppose. I decided to shape our lavender bush with the trimmer, and in the process of doing so I trimmed up a hive’s worth of honey-bees into my bare legs and feet. Bees don’t care much for being trimmed. I don’t care much for being repeatedly stung. Takeaway: Trimmers are designed to trim grass not lavender; bees REALLY like lavender.
*Fail #6 – Window-Well Water Closet
“Brock (name changed) just pooped in your window well,” are words that no father ever wants to hear coming from his son. I had decided not to cover two of my window wells because they were relatively shallow and on the side of the house that kids never played on (ok, who am I kidding, I didn’t cover those two because I am an insufferable skin-flint). Upon inspection, my nephew, Brock truly had pooped in my window well, but to his credit, he had partially covered up his doo-doo with a leaf. Takeaway: Bite the bullet and pay for covers on all window wells to keep them from becoming outhouses.
*Fail #8 – Feed your lawn. FEED IT!
Lawn fertilizer is not chicken feed. You cannot spread it by hand when your spreader breaks. You will see strange fertilization patterns in your grass, it will scorch certain sections of your lawn, and lawn fertilizer was never meant to touch the skin. It will leave a rather painful fertilizer burn on your palms. Takeaway: Sowing impatience reaps idiocy.
*Fail #9 – Roof Slippers
My slippered foot slipped on the shingles. Surprise!! My other foot, compensating for the extra weight now placed on it, pushed the ladder out from under me. I had one second to grasp and claw at the edge of my roof and gutter before I went down and a simple shingle roof repair job became tragedy. You can still see my hand marks on the gutter where I tried to keep myself from falling… Some people say that in moments like those, your life flashes before your eyes. In my case I saw nothing flashing, but I did hear my wife’s words from 20 minutes earlier ringing in my ears as I plummeted to the earth below. “You are really going to take down the Christmas lights on the house in your slippers?” Luckily, I wasn’t too hurt by the fall. My son’s friend, playing soccer with Tracen across the street, saw me go down. “Uh, bro, I think your dad just fell off the roof.” Tracen looking up at the roof and not seeing me there replied, “No he didn’t, see, there’s nobody up there…” Had he looked on the ground, where most people who fall off the roof end up, he would have seen me, slippers still firmly on my feet, crawling into the house. Takeaway: Slippers are not Roofer’s approved footwear and look down for those who have fallen.
See more posts on gardening (satirical or not) on OSSS below:
Favorite Garden Books for Kids
Urban Farming and How Do I Get Started?
Thanks for the laugh.. I can relate to similar mistakes. 🙂