Finding the Northwest Passage was long a dream of mariners.
After the township snow plow piled snow about three feet high at my corner, I went digging for the Southwest Passage.
Living on a corner has many advantages, but 100 by 150 feet of sidewalk is not one of them.
When it snows, we always clear the driveway first and then the sidewalks. That usually — but recently, not always — gives a chance for the plow to come through and throw the snow towards the sidewalk.
This year, the plow has piled the street snow on the corner of our property.
Being nice guys, we try to clear a path from the corner to the street so the people who walk their dogs and students who need to get across the street to reach the school bus stop have an easy go of it.
With all the snow this year (and more in the forecast), that has become a daunting challenge.
I spent a good bit of Sunday morning using a snow shovel and an ice chopper to break through the southwest corner of our property to open that pathway.
After an hour and a half, I “broke through” the mountain of snow.
It may only be one shovel width wide, but we did see people taking advantage of the pathway later in the day.
Somehow, I felt like a successful mariner!
On top of the Zhivago-esque landscapes from the earlier snow storm, this morning’s (February 5) freezing rain created “ice sculptures” in our yard.
The dwarf cherry tree (we call it the “Smurf tree”) on our landscape island looked like an enormous cotton plant.
The spoon sculpture — in the shape of a dragonfly — we purchased at last summer’s Riverwalk Arts Festival took on an entirely new look with its coating of ice.
The statue of the little boy mowing the lawn at the entrance to our home is our weather gauge.
After two snowstorms in just a few days, it seems difficult to remember that it was only a few days ago when I had the actual mower out and was mulching leaves with it.
How soon we switch from lawn mower to snow blower.
With additional snow and ice forecast for this weekend — on top of the almost nine inches already on the ground — it will be quite a while before the lawn mower has its day in the sun again.
Just because the lawn is covered in leaves and cold weather makes it necessary to bundle up, there are plenty of outdoor chores at this time of the year.
Having clipped an extra half-an-inch off the lawn a few weeks ago in the hopes that the leaves would just blow across the newly shortened grass (they don’t or won’t), the next step is to perform the final edging of the winter.
The trick to edging the lawn is to perform the task when the ground is somewhat dry. That way when the steel-bladed edger kicks up all the dirt and grass, it is easy to lower the mower a notch and suck up the debris into the catcher/bag.
Now if it were just as easy to get all those leaves out of the flower beds.
As it must to all mechanical things, my power lawn mower died last week.
While I was using it, I heard a grinding sound that I knew was not part of the cutting process.
Taking it to the repair shop, I found out it would cost between $150 and $200 to repair the back wheels, a cable, and self-propelled mechanism. That’s not counting sharpening the blade and changing the oil.
Since I’ve had the mower for a few years, I decided to cut my losses (there was nothing to say that another part of the mower wouldn’t go bad in another few weeks) and purchase a new version.
Now, I have a new mower … some peace of mind … and a trimmed wallet.
After almost two days of rain, the potted plants on our back patio are just about doing the backstroke.
October is turning out to be the most fickle month for yard work.
Remember the October snowstorm?
And now the October rainstorm that has caused early school closings.
Hopefully, after the deluge, the ground will be dry enough to allow the fall clean-up of the flower beds to continue.
This is a terrific time of year for gardening enthusiasts.
Not only is it cooler to work outside than during the heat of July and August, the lawn appears to be thriving. It’s also the time of year when you apply what — I hope — will be the final feeding for the year as the lawn “chows down” before its winter nap.
It’s also a good time for planting shrubs.
And a good time for planting flowers, such as day lilies and — of course — mums.
Nothing says “Autumn” like the bright colors of mum plants. There’s such a wide variety from “football mums” to “daisy-like mums” to “small mums.”
And it’s almost impossible to mistreat them. Plant a mum this fall and you can be sure that a plant will begin to emerge in the spring. It’ll grow taller all summer and then burst into bright bloom at this time next year. And each year they will spread, filling up all available neighboring space.
For a gardener, mum is the word!
Ah, yes, there’s nothing like looking out your bedroom window on a Sunday morning and seeing that someone has thrown a soda bottle or beer can on your carefully tended lawn.
I call those folks “soda jerks.”
Is it so difficult to take that bottle or can home with you and drop it in your own recycling bin? The same goes for fast food wrappers and bags that wind up in the street or on the lawn.
Or, if you really didn’t like the bottle of Cherry Coke Zero, drop it in a trash receptacle.
I have better things to do than clean up after “soda jerks.”
Few things are more upsetting to those of us who are lawn-obsessed than crabgrass.
Okay, the thoughtless people who throw cigarette butts out of their car windows onto your grass may top the list. (Note to thoughtless people who throw cigarette butts out of their car windows: cigarette filters don’t disintegrate.)
But crabgrass seems to be nature’s way of saying, “You can’t tame me.”
A few months ago we had a stand of old and shabby looking pine trees removed from our backyard. That left a good size patch of bare ground. We had top soil brought in and seeded the area. I watered and waited. I waited and watered. The grass refused to grow.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. The first signs of crabgrass appeared in the area we were renovating. And it spread and it grew. Digging it out by hand was out of the question. There was just too much of it.
So, a few days ago I attached a bottle of weed killer with crabgrass killer to my garden hose and soak the area.
For the most part it worked. The area now has a toasty brown look to it.
Would I have been better off leaving the crabgrass alone? At least it was green!
Yes, the laughter you hear is from Mother Nature.
This has been a fine spring growing season as evidenced by the sweet corn raised on York County farms.
So why are my tomatoes taking so long to ripen on the vine?
Our vegetable gardening consisted of two large pots: one for a tomato plant and the other for a green pepper plant.
So far our “harvest” has been one red tomato and one green pepper. Sure, there are other vegetables on the plants, but they seem to taking forever to reach maturity. The tomato plant especially is filled with large, green tomatoes. They are just not ripening.
I figure at the rate we’re going, I’ll have fresh vegetables for Thanksgiving.