Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Yard Work: It's Summer's Buzz Kill

It's time to begin thinking about getting my lawnmower up and running for the summer dirt-mowing season.

I bought the thing almost four years ago and have never replaced the spark plug. I think it is about time. The last time I started it, I almost pulled my arm out of its socket. It took me about 15 pulls. It only took one when new.

I did put a new blade on it a couple of years ago. Despite running over all manner of roots, rocks and assorted junk that winds up in my yard, I think the blade is still in reasonably good shape.

I'll also change the air filter and oil.

All this to push the damn thing around the half acre or so of my lot that the house doesn't occupy. Very little of this is grass. It's square foot after square foot of red clay interrupted every few inches by a dandelion or some other weed. If it weren't for the weeds, I could get away with only mowing four or five times a year. The good news: Dirt doesn't grow.

I am determined this year to buy a spreader and put down some weed killer. I hate to spend the money on such a stupid thing, but I have no choice. The weeds multiply with the ferocity of rabbits.

I might have planted grass if I thought it stood a chance of growing. Throwing grass seed on the red clay that's everywhere here would have about the same result as tossing it on concrete. I could rent a machine that churns up the surface, making it more receptive to the seed, but now we're talking real work and even more expense. That's not for me.

When I'm mowing, I look something like Pig Pen in the old Peanuts comic strip. I'm just this shadow in a cloud of red dust. When I finish, I've got more crap in my lungs than a Pennsylvania coal miner. I look like a red-headed raccoon when I remove my sunglasses.

The whole taking-care-of-the-lawn thing is the one drawback of the approaching spring.

Home ownership isn't all it's cracked up to be.

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