Hot Dogs and Dry Grass

What can you do if you’re a dog and it’s too hot to run around and play? You lie down under a tree and conserve your energy. Make sure the tree is in a place where you can see the back door and the deck, in case there’s any action there, or a chance to come in and have a snack.
Poor Emma looks bored, and Ruby has given up on anything interesting happening. But wait! Something is moving in the trees above.
It’s just a chickadee. Too high up to jump for.

Emma gives it a look. “If it wasn’t so hot, I’d make a leap for you….”

But, yawwwwn … she knows she wouldn’t get it.

Might as well just nap until this dog day of summer is over and the mistress calls us for supper. Sure wish she would have watered the grass though, so it’s not so prickly to lie on.

Grass is dry and breaking off,

It’s dry this summer season.

The mistress turned the water off,

But do you know the reason?

 

It’s not for conservation that

She lets the grass go yellow.

The fact is she is lazy and

Would rather just be mellow.

 

If grass is green it grows a lot,

And then you have to mow it.

The mistress is a lazy sod,

Now all the world will know it.

 

 

 

The Mowing Game

Apologies to a couple of faithful followers who visited my blog three years ago and are still hanging in there, please forgive the repeat. This re-blogged post is meant to buy me some time to get out and take more pictures. Our weather has been less than pleasant so I’m desperate for new photos. Here is a true story from some time ago:

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When I emailed to my friend that I had to go out and mow, she thought I was using the riding mower, so she wrote:

“It’s so funny knowing what you’re doing right now—mowing. I can just see you, sitting on this wonderful vehicle, speeding through your yard, pedal to the metal and hair straight back. Right?”

I wrote back to her:

“No such luck. I had to mow the part of the back yard that has fruit trees and shrubs growing here and there, the parts the riding mower can’t reach, and so it was grunt and shove with the power mower.”

At one point I was backing up, pulling the mower, and I tripped over a stick I had pounded into the ground beside a small apple tree. The stick was meant to protect the tree from getting rubbed if I dragged the hose around the garden.

So I’m lying there flat on my back, my nose crinkling at the stench—oh God, I missed the nearest pile of doggie doo by only a couple of feet—and I have to hold onto the handle or the lever will shut off the mower.

I could get up easily enough, and continue mowing, but this mutt comes over to lick my face and bat at me with her paws. Ruby thinks this is a new game where I roll on the ground and she wrestles with me. I push her away with one hand while the other arm is stretched full out holding onto the mower lever. The more I push Ruby away, the better she likes it. Still on my back, I now have a dog tussling game in full swing.

I’m at a disadvantage because I do not want “doo” on me. I could let the lever go, but I’d rather the mower didn’t shut off. It’s a miserable old sonofagun, a bitch to start, and I’m just too lazy to pull the cord repeatedly and fight with the machine.

Meanwhile, I’m thankful for the many shrubs around our yard, so the neighbours don’t see the old lady flat on her back losing the wrestling match with her springer spaniel.

In the end, I have to let go of the lever. As Ruby stops pouncing long enough to figure out why it’s suddenly so quiet, I find my feet and pull myself up. As I brush the grass clippings off my clothes I hear giggling from the neighbour’s yard.

“Hi, Anneli,” calls a child’s voice. I look over to the fence and see the grinning eight-year-old boy from next door.

Oh, Rats!

It really is time to mow the grass. It’s getting to be embarrassingly long. Sure we live in a semi-rural area and it’s not so important to have the lawn clippy-clippy perfect—you may have noticed I called it the grass, not the lawn—but still, it’s “high” time (excuse the pun) to cut it.

The John Deere riding mower is parked in the half-finished storage shed. One wall of the shed is still open. Makes it easy to drive in and out with the mower.

I fill the gas tank from a fuel caddy. Screw the cap back on the tank. Need to check the oil. I lift the hood on the mower and let out a shriek. There, between the motor and the battery sits a fat rat. It shrinks together and stares at me with shocked beady eyes, then hops to the other side of the battery just before I drop the hood.

Now what? Well, first things first. I have to stand there and shake and shudder and groan and wail for a minute. No way can I sit in the driver’s seat now with the rat only inches away behind a thin wall of metal. And anyway, I still have to check the oil. No way can I lift the hood again and reach in to unscrew the dipstick. No way the grass is getting cut today. But I have to cut it. The sky is threatening rain in the next hours and the grass is already too long.

I find a pair of long-handled pruners and bang on the tires with them. Nothing happens. I bang on the hood. Nothing happens. I bang on the side of the mower. Something scurries to somewhere. But did it leave the mower or did it run to hide underneath it? Maybe it’s sitting on top of the mower blades.

Standing well back, I gingerly open the hood again. No rat in sight. Quick! Check the oil. Fine. Put the dipstick back. Drop the hood. Take a breath. Put my earplugs in. Start the mower.

I back it out of the storage shed. So far so good.  I put the blade in gear and turn the steering wheel to start mowing. Was that a squeak from the steering wheel or a squeak from a rat? With the earplugs in, I can’t tell. Moments later, I realize the chute from the blades to the catcher bag is plugged. Is it the long grass, or something else? I stop the mower. Nervously, I use my garden claw to reach down into the chute. What will I pull up? Grass? Or pureed rat?

I have serious thoughts about moving closer to town, but I saw a rat run across the street in town one night, so I know they’re everywhere. I’ll just have to  tough it out. Oh, you’ll be wanting to know what I pulled out of the chute. Only grass … this time. I can hardly wait till it’s mowing time again. Meanwhile I’m going shopping for full body armour.