Once upon a time, Steve and I lived in a pristine neighborhood, on a picture book street, with perfect homes and immaculate yards. Steve spent his weekends and some evenings tending to his manor with laser-like focus. Every blade of grass was cut within a millimeter of the next and no weed would dare to show itself amongst the lush green carpet of pure Kentucky Blue.
Our yard was so fabulous, in fact, that our house was a yearly contestant in the prestigious “Garden Walk” every summer. Seriously, you kind of had to try out just to be included. Steve would stand with pride the entire day as groups were ushered in the fenced yard. A gasp or two was inevitable and Steve would look over and give me a wink. He adored the look of his landscaping so much that he would booby-trap the perimeter of the front lawn if neighbors were having a party or during 4th of July festivities when street parking was at a premium. It was like he dared anyone to even get a tire near his edging.
During the first year on the farm I noticed a slight shift in lawn care, but nothing too obvious. Steve fretted over the smattering of dandelions that invaded the front yard, but he was out there like a soldier to dig them out long before they went to seed. He kept neat borders and precise patterns while cutting the lawn, both in front and behind the house.
As the months went by, I was slowly relegated to cutting the grass, while Steve took charge of maintaining pastures. He checked my work at first, but began to lose interest in “teaching” me the finer points of how to make a kick ass pattern. He also seemed to turn a blind eye to the beautiful bouquet-worthy flowering weeds that sprouted everywhere. Instead, while sitting on the front porch enjoying a beer, he would look out and declare, “the weeds look pretty good freshly cut.”
So here we are three years later. The “front lawn” has turned into a hodge-podge of raised planting beds, poorly pruned trees and bushes, and a bunch of broken sprinkler heads from the abandoned irrigation system that I have run over in the past year. The cinderblock raised beds look eerily like a drab mass graveyard and the lawn tractor only makes it’s way out there if we fear a small child might get lost while wandering through the knee-high growth. There is not a blade of anything that could be defined as “grass”, just weeds and grave plots.
Today Steve took off early to pick up a tractor-trailer full of manure from his friend Sandy who owns a horse farm. As Steve dumped the load of premium aged horseshit right smack dab on the front lawn, where it will remain for months, all I could think of was, are abandoned cars on blocks, discarded toilets, broken dishwashers and machinery parts that far behind?