After a summer of seeking a way to rid half a lot of knee deep grass, moss and dandelions that proved impervious to my gas-powered mower, I had resigned myself to ignoring the mess until next spring. By then the grass would be dead. How I would cope with it then I had no idea.
My problem began in April when I read that dandelions are the earliest blossoms available to feed bees and therefore should not be mowed until other flowers come along.
Unlike 2015 when my mower was inoperable for weeks, this spring my mower was tuned, sprang to life with one yank of the rope.
No calling in a relative or neighbour to start the motor for me.
Knowing I could start the mower whenever I wished by myself made up for the visits I missed.
By mid-May, fewer dandelion blossoms showed, replaced by cherry trees in full flower ensuring a food source for bees … if any bees had stopped by.
In all this season, I counted two bees, not worth the headache that finally faced me. My mower stalled cutting a swath more than six inches wide.
Alternative modes of lawn trimming were long overdue.
With my farming background, my first thought was goats.
One or two would do. Nanny goats for ease of handling and absence of objectionable odours typical of male goats. In the regional district where I live, bylaws strictly prohibit farm animals in my neighbourhood.
I bunted that notion around for some time before I reasoned, nothing ventured, nothing gained, and phoned the bylaw officer for permission.
The bylaw officer granted my request to pasture two nanny goats for two days on my field.
What I didn’t know was that goats of any description or breed are rare in this part of B.C., so rare none could be found to take part in the 2015 Skeena Valley Fall Fair.
A forenoon spent phoning veterinarians, a feed store, a petting zoo, farmers market vendors, as well as the local dog pound proved fruitless except for useful information.
One told me sheep would balance on the top of my wooden fence to strip leaves from my cherry trees rather than munch grass. An online source said both goats and sheep prefer almost anything to grass – noxious weeds, shrubbery, pine seedlings.
I’ve watched sheep climb twin berry bushes for the leaves. But grass? No way, unless the alternative is starvation.
Horses were listed as a better means of taming grass, with less incidental destruction. Their hooves also stimulate grass regeneration. But who would trust me with a precious pony? And what if the horse broke my fence? I’d have a bigger, more urgent and expensive problem.
That’s when a friend suggested a commercial company with a ride-on mower. Over the phone the owner proposed a time of two hours at $60 per hour.
But one look at my lodged tangle changed the estimate to a day of weed whacking before mowing could begin.
Disappointed, I wrote what I intended to be my last column on the subject.
Except the column elicited a response from Optimum Lawn Care.
I phoned Richard Lawrence at 250-877-0965 and asked him to take a look to be sure his machine could deal with my mess.
Two days later he drove his 60-inch industrial mower toward my grass and chaff flew like threshing prairie wheat on a windy day.
Fifty minutes and $60 later, my lot resembled a golf course rather than an illegal dump site. No more eyesore. If only I’d have learned of his business sooner.
Claudette Sandecki now looks over her cut lawn from her Thornhill, B.C. home.