Spring brings joy of mowing the lawn


Why is it that the first mowing after the long winter is such a pleasure — and how is it that by the end of summer the last mowing can’t come too soon?

Climbing aboard the dear old John Deere was such a familiar activity yesterday but I didn’t remember being quite so stiff! Winter is surely defeated, but according to this morning’s weather report, snow showers are in the forecast, and this after six days of record-breaking high temperatures. I told you April is a flirt and nothing she comes up with is surprising.

Yet, I look out over the yard and everywhere are daffodils and violets and hyacinths and flowering trees in such numbers that even though I planted them (with help from Mother Nature, chipmunks and squirrels) I can hardly believe what I see.

The magnolia tree which I planted at the grave of my wonderful old horse, High Noon, 48 years ago come May, is a pink and white cloud. It was my published tribute to him that changed my life and set me on journalism’s path to a continuing career.

An interesting saga, at least to me, is ongoing in the back pasture and the pond. The initial pair of geese has made it their business to harass a lone goose which has apparently lost its mate and decided to live here.

The poor soul is such an annoyance to the mated pair that they — not the loner — left and even though they come and go, Lonesome George (Georgia?) remains and has become a buddy of Apache’s, choosing to remain close to him. Two mallard drakes swim together, telling me their ladies are nesting somewhere nearby.

As of today (April 8) there are no juncos at the feeders, which is a good sign. Alas, grackles and starlings are taking their place and are quite brazen.

* * *

The best laid plans often go awry, and so it was with my Easter plans. Everything was ready by Saturday, down to peeling the potatoes. I was feeling unwell, but gritted my teeth and prayed I would improve. I didn’t.

Judy called to say Roy would be unable to come as he was unwell. She called back to say she was also unwell. And Marcie’s John was out of town and couldn’t get back in time so we just postponed our celebration until the following Sunday.

Also “on hold” is my 88th birthday horseback ride! The Ladies of the Clinic (three times yearly at Judy’s) who have loaned me a horse to ride since my N’ahli’s passing three years ago, are promising they’ll have one for this April’s clinic, beginning on the 23rd. Not my birthday, but close enough. I’ll let you know.

As an ex-smoker (10 years now) I am interested in the latest statistics showing that not all smokers get lung cancer. (My dad smoked all his life and when he passed at 89 it was not from lung cancer.)

Smoking was the sophisticated thing to do in my teen years, and we all smoked. So did all the Hollywood actors and actresses. In the August 1931 issue of The Pathfinder there is an ad for Lucky Strike, one of the many popular brands at that time.

Listen to this: “Consider your Adam’s apple! Remember, Lucky Strike is the only cigarette in America that through its exclusive ‘toasting process’ expels certain harsh irritants present in all raw tobaccos. These expelled irritants are sold to manufacturers of chemical compounds. They are not present in Lucky Strikes. Don’t rasp your throat with harsh irritants — reach for a Lucky instead.”

* * *

Once again, it is time to repeat the ode to hyacinths, a tradition in On My Mind.

“If thou of fortune be bereft

And in thy store there be but left

Two loaves; sell one,

And with the dole,

Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul!”

* * *

A fascinating and educational read: Making Rounds With Oscar, a true story by David Dosa, M.D. Oscar is a cat living at a nursing facility and he has a remarkable gift in sensing when a patient is about to die and will go to that bed and remain with the patient until the end.

Dosa’s insight into the patients, their families and Oscar is marvelous reading.


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A lifelong resident of the Mahoning Valley, Janie Jenkins retired in 1987 as a feature writer and columnist at the Youngstown Vindicator. In June of that same year, she started writing her column, "On My Mind" for Farm and Dairy. She loves all animals and is an accomplished equestrienne. Local history is also one of her loves, and her home, the former Southern Park Stables, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.



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