Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Today I borrowed a rake from our neighbour and decided that today was as good a day as any to start tackling our lawn. There were big dead brown patches all over the place, and I thought that this is as dry of a stretch as we're likely to get, so I was hoping to avoid ripping up as much of the sod and soil underneath as I could. My was there a lot of dead material back there. In places it had been so dark for so long that nothing at all was growing underneath the brown. In other places the grass was over a foot long, simply trampled down under the weight of the dead clippings. I worked in little shifts. See, the bugs are getting far better. Good enough to enjoy a nice long walk or read a book in the sunshine. But the moment you get sweaty and start churning things up and uncovering wet, rotting patches of earth, the blackflies and mosquitoes appear as if out of nowhere and attack with a vengeance. So I'd go out and rake until I raised an ungodly swarm, then come back inside, guzzle down a glass of water and stand in front of the fan until the sweat all dried from my skin. I may have forgotten to mention, but so far this is the hottest day this year. Then out I'd go again. I made three trips out, and managed to rake up about a third of the lawn. Not bad. Not fantastic either, but not bad. It's a small lawn. I think I'm done for right now, though if I gets cooler before it starts getting dark I may take another swing at it. If not I'll be back at it tomorrow morning. So far, the dead pile is making quite the impressive hay stack, and I think the lawn will start looking a lot less raggedy after it's next mowing. I figure I'll keep the hay pile in a tidy little corner of the yard, add the fall leaves, and see if we can't end up with a bit of compost out of it in the spring. Or perhaps, when Andrew builds me my garden boxes, I'll heap the organic material right into them, let it break down over the winter and plant directly into it in the spring. Will this work? Is there such a thing as having too rich compost? I think I'll find out. I'm also taking a good hard look at the lawn, and trying to decide if I might just have the space to house a trio of hens out there next year in a chicken tractor. I think if it's not too big of a run, and I move it every day faithfully, there might just be. Of course, plenty of people have stationary coops and I could too, but the goal is to enrich, not ruin the ground under them, and also to make feed bills cheaper by letting them forage for bugs and grass. Hey, if a byproduct is less bugs in the yard, I'm a happy camper.