The Suitcase Lady


July 6, 2021, 8:43 pm

Lawns are the diabolical invention of the English around the 16th and 17th centuries. The aristocracy needed to show off their superior status. What better way than to create a monoculture crop and then forbid it to do what nature dictates…grow? Keeping your estate shorn, emerald perfection would flaunt the fact that you had a carload of servants.

A good analogy to the folly of the lawn is these same people’s devotion to gleaming silver. Tarnishing is what silver naturally does. Therefore, status is achieved by having someone from the downstairs’ staff spend their lifetime polishing your hoard of silver tableware.

Switch to our current times. Nothing much has changed. We live in the country, and status is still obtained by mowing acres of lawn to golf course standards.

The servants have been replaced by $3000 plus riding mowers. But here’s the hitch. The lords and ladies of these modern day manors usually drive the mowers themselves. That is hours and hours of going round and round in circles every week.

We gave away our lawnmower when we moved from our city house to our country home. About 95% of our land is natural habitat, a small little bluestem prairie and a meadow. All the plants in the prairie are native species that attract butterflies and birds.

Unfortunately, we did have to buy a small non-riding mower for the area of our yard next to the road. Trying to be reasonable people, we do understand that a small swath of vegetation should be cut alongside the road so drivers can spot deer, turkeys and other wildlife before they dart into the roadway. But our highway department has gone way overboard, scalping and ripping out much more than is needed for safety. The only way we can be spared a massacre is to carefully mow the buffer zone ourselves, and this is what we do.

An example of the silliness of whacked-off grass was on display in our yard this Spring. We had an extremely dry spring. Our natural yard stayed green, growing, flowering and buzzing with animal activity. The mown part turned brown and barren after a few weeks without rain. Status can be most ugly.

A member of our younger generation helps us with the diabolical roadway.

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