Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Gardening tips

                                                      the ugly tree

                                        we have a tree we bought a time
                                        when on the lot the trees were few
                                        'twas sparse and craggy for its size
                                        and age as though 'twere old, not new

                                        not cute nor sweet in any way
                                        nor promised future grander bough

                                        from hook-like stubby clawing stalks
                                        that grasped a flapping leaf or two

                                        why e'er we bought it i'll not say
                                        so often we bemoan the lapse

                                        and how the beastie will not die
                                        but only leans in feigned collapse

                                        altho' an ice storm hit the thing
                                        'twas only strengthened in its will

                                        much more unsightly to become
                                        and grow more asymmetrical

                                        with ropes to close the gaping holes
                                         i pulled the splaying branches in

                                         essaying to affect a shape
                                         less spider-like and more sanguine

                                         alas the day we planted it
                                         grim future we could not foresee

                                         and now years hence i sound the cry:
                                         ye best not pick a forlorn tree.



Tuesday, May 21, 2013


I really enjoy cutting the grass.  A large part of this is having a great lawnmower.  Maybe not everyone would consider mine a good one, but it is just right for me.  I love my little red mower.  It is not fancy at all.  It was cheap when we bought it, about $100 almost 20 years ago. I believe we got it at K-Mart.  It has a 3.5 HP Tecumseh engine, whatever that means.

Little Red almost always starts on the first pull.  She's lightweight enough to maneuver easily around all the twists and turns of flower beds and other plantings in our yard.  I don't use a weed whacker so I have to get up and around things, like the swingset and gutter extensions, pretty close.  Her wheels have become somewhat floppy over the years, which actually helps to navigate these challenges.  Her handle has broken through a couple times and is held together by metal slats bolted on each side.  The loop which once held the pull cord up to the side bar is gone so I have to stretch a bit to grab it, which I don't mind, kind of like reaching down to give an old beloved dog a pat.

Recently a neighbor friend of ours was selling his mower, as he had bought a newer fancier one. Happy as I am with Little Red, I know she won't last forever.  Sometimes her wheels get so wobbly my husband can hardly do anything about it.  And she is getting old.  Knowing that our friend buys quality stuff and takes care of everything he owns, I decided to buy his machine to have as a back-up.

His mower, although replaced by a "better" one, is still pretty deluxe.  Large and yellow, with huge tires that do not falter at all, it is quite heavy and goes forward only in straight lines.  It is a behemoth of immense power and multiple features, such as a mulching option, choke knob, and probably a bunch of other things I don't know about. I tried out Big Yellow a time or two, and it was not my favorite.  He was to reside in the shed, on furlough, until further notice. 

Meanwhile, I continued chugging along happily with Little Red.  I felt kind of guilty as our neighbor would probably see me still using what he most likely considered my old junky mower.  He might be wondering why I was rejecting his super monster...  And then we started getting rid of stuff. We go on these purges once in a while, and I thought, "It's kind of dumb having two lawnmowers.  Maybe it's time to  give Big Yellow another try."  So I did, and I did not like it.  I even said to Ron, "If I had to use this thing I would hate mowing the lawn."  So back it went into hibernation.

I resolved to use Little Red til whenever she finally died.  One day I needed her wheels adjusted to a better height.  But when Ron was done with that she wouldn't start.  I let her rest a long time, several times--still no luck.  I decided to pull out Big Yellow as I needed to get the job done.  It was a lot of work.  I started to think about how, if it had to be, if the time had finally come, at least I would be building a lot of muscle using that beast.  It was a hot day and the extra exertion caused me to stop for a drink.  When I came back Big Yellow wouldn't start.

Pretty soon I was out there cursing under my breath as neither one of them would start and I needed to finish up.  Finally I called Ron for help.  He came out and discovered that Little Red's spark plug wire had come loose.  He popped it back on and BAM--she started right up on the first pull.  Boy, she felt light as a feather!  Big Y went back up the makeshift plywood ramp we had built for His Bulkiness.  I was back in the saddle, well, not really as they are both push mowers. But seriously, there is nothing wrong with Big Yellow, per se. It is a man's mower.  I am not a man.