Priorities are set in feet — and yards

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It has come to my attention that when I shared a photo of our head dog, Ace, with my blog readers recently, I may have unwittingly become the subject of some good-natured ribbing (and abject horror) over the state of our less than stellar lawn.

Mainly because a fair amount of weeds and bare spots were clearly visible in the photo.

Most of this abject horror was felt by Mr. Wonderful. “Do you have to show that to EVERYONE?”

Yes, honey. Did we just meet? Did you just get here? Of course I share everything with EVERYONE. That’s my JOB.

Boys.

The thing is, I don’t know why he’s acting so uppity about the lawn, it’s not like we’ve ever been “pretty lawn” people.

Yard

For that matter, it’s not like we call it a “lawn.” To me a lawn is an emerald expanse of glorious, weed-free perfection.

What we have is a yard. Some weeds (hearty!) and grass (numerous varieties!) all mixed together to lend a nice green (and brown and yellow) color to the place.

It also helps keep all the dirt from washing away. We are all about holding on to our dirt.

So, this lawn thing has never been a hot button issue for me. Oh sure, I’m house proud. I just tend to define “house” as anything from the front porch INWARD.

I don’t grow all that faint over the errant dandelion (or thousand). I am, it should be noted, the black sheep (black thumb?) of the family.

My grandmother possesses two green thumbs and eight fabulously green fingers just itching to toil alongside them.

She has tried, bless her heart, to instill in me a passion for planting. To her everlasting horror, however, I am most noted for the time I protested that I hated gardening because once you spend an otherwise lovely afternoon weeding a garden you’ll just have to weed it again next year.

Mulch

I plant mulch. I was noted this summer for my uninhibited joy in creating beautifully mounded mulch beds. That’s pretty much it. Just mulch.

Oh sure, I did jam a few solar lights in the mulch. We aren’t savages and we like things to look nice. We also have a shrub. One.

You might guess I hate the outdoors. You would be wrong. I love the outdoors. I love the smell of fresh cut grass (weeds?) and the way the yard looks right after Mr. Wonderful has given it a fresh trim.

I like fresh mounds of mulch, cute patio furniture and the sweet little toss pillows on the front porch wicker (otherwise known as “appetizers” to the dogs).

That said, what I don’t love is the unending WORK and DUTY a yard can become if you allow it to turn into a “lawn.” A lawn is high-maintenance. A yard is just there.

I am a tried and true yard girl. I don’t care if we mow in perfectly even horizontal lines. I just care that we mow when we can no longer see the children in the backyard.

Mr. Wonderful spends an inordinate amount of time worrying he isn’t doing ENOUGH with the yard.

Will the grass suffer for lack of attention? Will it allow itself to grow shaggy and unkempt? Will it begin to hang out with undesirables like grubs and moles and such?

Stay

The thing I have personally noted about yard work is this: you can go away and leave it for long stretches of time and it’s always there waiting for you upon your return!

I have never, not once, neglected an overgrown garden or patch of grass only to return and find it had just gone ahead and remedied itself in my absence.

In 40 years, God willing, we won’t remember — or care — we stayed home on a gorgeous, Indian summer Saturday to mow the grass.

We will remember — and care — we coached our daughter’s soccer team or threw a ball with our son.

Due to my slack attitude about such things, our yard is home to weeds, dandelions, bare spots and probably more than a few moles, bugs and grubs.

It is also home to two great kids, two dogs, one goat and numerous friends and family members. It has hosted bonfires and pool parties and sledding, softball and soccer.

It is shaggy enough to provide a soft landing for lying back and watching the clouds roll by and for running barefoot on firefly hunts and the playing of freeze-tag. Granted, it is worn down to pure mud under the swing set.

Lawncare? Forget about it. It’s more like lawn-not-a-care-in-the-world.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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