Raking as a lost art

Since starting my blog, I have also started perusing the blogs of others to see exactly what is going on out there.

I have a moment of quiet, Samantha is quietly sleeping, in nap mode, and despite my need for my own nap, as I have felt all day long, I am wide awake. Taking care of a soon to be two year old is tiring as you run around the house and yard and try to make sure that she is safe, sated, and happy at all times. There are certain crazy moments as you try to put back the house from the swath of destruction that a toddler can cause. Once down, the mad rush to put everything back, often without completely succeeding.

Saw a few blogs and they made me think of something, my manliness in the yard, if I can call it that. For years I have been the guy who has used outdoor “appliances” but who has often tried to avoid them, some of them at all costs. There is something primal about working in nature, especially when you aren’t using all of the “easy way out” methods of doing it. My ethnic background also makes me want to create the neatest environment in which to live, with everything in place, and with things like leaves composting as they should in the back yard.

I hate snow blowers with a passion, something that is hard to do in northern Illinois with the winters we have. I hate the smell of gas; it infuses on your clothing and body. I usually shovel and/or wait for my sons and their snowplowing business. Seeing how I am pretty much last on their list, I am usually cleared out by hand. I have avoided hedge trimmers and generally use the hand shears that are available. I have been known to use the some seventy year old hand operated lawn mower, although I will say that since my neighbor has a fertile pine tree which produces pine cones that my mower tries to eat and chokes on, I pretty much use my reliable, gas reliant Snapper.

l often like to use my ecological side as a reason to not use these accessories in the yard, the air pollution, the whatever. I have resorted, I will say, to using a blower to blow out my gutters but I use the electrical variety not the gas despite the ease of use and not having to deal with a cord on my multi-layer house.

Yesterday, I found myself mentally lording it all over my neighbor as I went out and raked the front lawn to clear off the last (I hope) of the autumn leaves. I saw him come out of the garage for, what seemed to me to be, the millionth time as he walks back and forth in a continuous effort to occupy himself, and yet seeming to accomplish nothing. For all of his efforts outside his house, things don’t look a whole lot better than anyone else’s yard as my wife reminds me. So, there I was, on a cool day, in my t-shirt and jeans, raking away. I could use the blower, but I find that since I don’t practice a lot of chemistry on my lawn, don’t add a lot of nutrients, so that the least I can do is to remove a bit of the fall materials that have embedded themselves there. The blower doesn’t get rid of the pine needles either; I rationalize it this way all the time. I worked up quite a sweat, felt good about it as the puffy, angry man strutted about on his daily tasks. And really, in the end, my front lawn looked amazing!

There have been times where I have envied the man his seemingly put together life and then my wife would remind me that my kids were normal, happy, and good citizens and his were…well, I really don’t want to go there. So, things like the appearance of my garage have long been blessings not a curse.

The more I think about this, the better I feel and yet I am not sure why. Oh, wait, I hear a bit of noise coming from the bedroom I am painting in a few days. Could it be that Samantha has awakened and the Brio Train is going to get another workout? I need to continue thinking about this raking thing, LOL!

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2 responses to “Raking as a lost art

  1. After reading this, I wish I had not blown the edging debris off with my gas powered thing. Well, 50 percent on the natural, manly, simplified quota is a good start, I guess. Thanks for the comment.

    • Worry not about the gas powered thing. I have used them as well. I have learned that it is never good to be dogmatic in anything you say, as sooner or later you may have to eat your words. What I find so interesting is that the that reading your blog has been like a walk down memory road. It is a great journey!

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