By Roger Erpelding
I had been promising Beth that I’d trim around the property and flower bed edges, but just hadn’t done it yet. My first goal was to have the job done by the time we had guests over on May 14. That didn’t happen due to weather, and Beth didn’t get her flower beds trimmed either.
Work, rain, other commitments–you name it; the job just wasn’t getting done. We were hoping to get the work done on May 21, after work. And guess what? It rained! So when Sunday, May 22 dawned clear I said to Beth “I’ll get that trimming done today if it kills me.” Her reply was “Don’t die too soon, as it needs to dry out first.”
Luckily I had a few more things to do before the lawn was dry. I purchased two nice basil plants at the grocery store, and they needed to get out in the herb garden. Due to recent rains, this was a pleasant and easy task. I had two spaces left, and they fit right in. This determination was made purely by touch. I also found out that the four plants that I’d planted earlier in May were doing well. They are over six inches tall and easy to find. If there was any doubt, a quick sniff confirmed that excellent basil smell. This also gave me the opportunity to monitor other herbs I’d planted–cilantro, and fennel; again, all is well. The trusty oregano is also back for another year. I have a mystery herb growing, perhaps caraway, which smells good like licorice. If it sets seeds the mystery will disappear. It has what are called “umbel” seed heads, like carrots and dill. The elephant garlic is tall, with thick stems. A good sign for a July harvest. The chives have purple balls of flowers on them. The sprouts are still tasty and not bitter, due to the amount of rain we have had.
Before I left the herbs for the day I needed to accomplish two additional tasks. Gardeners are not always the smartest folks in the world; as an example, years ago I placed spearmint in the southeast corner of the herb bed. It continues to spread all over, and I continue to kill it, transplant it, or give it away. The murderer was on duty this morning, and all was dispatched to compost. When I weed along the south edge of the property later this month, I’ll see how the transplants are doing. They will have a merry time spreading in this area unless they creep north under the fence and into the vegetable garden. If they do, first-degree murder will occur instantly and without mercy! Initially in the herb garden, I confined this mint to the inside of a coffee can, and that didn’t even work! But I must admit that while I’m committing this “crime?” I pull off a few sprigs for a tasty snack.
My second task was to move the rain gauge. The garlic and chives have created a canopy over it, and therefore the rain is impossible to measure. I have moved it into the northeast corner of the garden, along the edge of a large container.
The day proved sunny and breezy, so by 10:30 or so I was hard at it, pulling grass and weeds from around the edges of the property. Beth has a pair of grass shears which I am welcome to borrow; however, my hands are faster and more efficient. I feel for grass which is taller along the edge than in the lawn. The weeds will not feel like grass. Since I am indiscriminate in this endeavor, all broad-leafed flora go into the paper sack I carry with me. The front yard is easy, except for around an old pole, and the flowering crab apple tree. In the case of the pole, there are some tulip and daffodil foliage which needs to stay. I carefully feel for grass among them; the tulips are broad-leafed and the leaves are wide, and the daffodils are slender but much thicker and longer than grass. The apple tree has sprouts under it. They are tough to pull, and I’ll sometimes use clippers to cut them back to the ground.
I use much of the same method when trimming in the back. The grass around the herb garden was especially long and thick; in fact, it was starting to go to seed. Perhaps the biggest challenge in the back was along the garden fencing. There was plenty of grass and other weeds growing along both sides of the fence, and it has a propensity to become entangled in the fence as well.
We took a break for lunch and an additional break early in the afternoon. At about 2:00 Beth wanted to mow the lawn. It was definitely dry enough and long enough. My job in this respect is to start the mower for Beth, help her to move the hammock (twice), make sure the hoses are off the lawn, and help her to re-start the mower when she needs to stop for whatever reason. While she mowed, I finished trimming along the east side of the house in the back.
Can blind people mow their own lawn? Yes. When I had a different lawn in Sioux City, I mowed. Some blind people purchase a traditional non-power push mower, and this method works as well. However, in the seven years of our marriage, we continue to chop up our turf space with flower beds, brick paths, lawn ornaments and the like. As Beth so accurately stated to someone the other day “I have much less lawn to mow but it takes as long because there is more to mow around and more stuff to move.”
As for the trimming, this is an easy task to be accomplished by a blind person. It just isn’t any fun. And obviously, it didn’t kill me.