|The grass was greener -- or maybe that's just how I remember it -- when John and I bought our Saltspring property in 1999. John photographed (l to r) me, mom and my sister Betty at the top of the hill in those early years.|
|The lawn mower is nearly hidden by this spring's grass before John begins the first cut of the year on Saltspring this week. Photo by John.|
One day, shortly after we bought our Saltspring property in 1999, we were outside in the yard when a truck drew up to the fence. “Do you need someone to cut your lawn?” a man asked, and named a princely sum. Clearly, he had us nailed. We were rich come-from-aways and he, a local, would take care of our nuisance yardwork for an appropriate amount of money.
We were young enough then to think we could do any and everything, so we told him cheerfully that we would be cutting our own grass. In the 18 years since, our half-acre lot has grown much bigger and our hill much steeper, but John still cuts the grass with a little gas-engine lawn mower, and a weed-whacker when things get really tough.
We haven’t done the Saltspring lawn any favours during our tenure; it’s mainly weeds and brambles now. Perhaps the fact that we don't fertilize, aerate, top-dress, reseed or water has something to do with that? But somehow, something green leaps up again every spring, and John has to make frequent island visits to keep it under control (the local grass cutter would likely be cheaper than the ferry fares). The season is short, though. As soon the summer heat and drought kick in, our undernourished, unwatered lawn stops growing and turns a toasty, dusty brown.
For now, our system still works. But as John pushes his little mower up that daunting hill in 90-degree heat, our next-door neighbour’s ride-on mower begins to look increasingly attractive. Eventually, we may have to get one of those. Or phone back that guy in the truck.
|A partly shaved section shows how high the grass had grown as of this week. Photo by John.|
|The view down the hill, before the cut. Photo by John.|