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Slightly Corked – wine

Stop mowing and start flushing


As the cryptic kung fu guy on TV once said, “Without a problem Grasshopper, there are no solutions.” To which Grasshopper said, “Hey Dude, how many times do I have to tell you, the name’s not Grasshopper, it’s Bernie.”

To this day no one knows why the kung fu guy gave people insect names, too much smoking up behind the dojo possibly, but his point remains valid. Innovation doesn’t occur without stimulation, which means I must be close to a breakthrough discovery, because I’ve been stimulated to hell and back.

Yep, it’s the lawn again. Not the whole lawn, just the dreaded part over the septic field where even a non-gardener could determine something is afoot agriculturally. Take the flowering chestnut tree that was planted there 20 years ago, it has the trunk of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Forty feet away, outside the magic field, another chestnut planted at the same time is a waist-high bundle of twigs so scrawny it gets sand kicked in its face on a regular basis

But, it’s the grass that tips

you off. It is thick and luxuriant, with the thread count of Hugh Hefner’s pajamas, grass so energetic if you watch carefully, you can actually see it grow, and this without the hallucinogenic the kung fu guy prefers.

The problem is cutting the lawn over the field, especially early in the season when ample rainfall stimulates growth. It will choke my trusty side discharge, 6 hp Briggs and Stratton in about 10 baby steps. This means, getting down on your hands and knees, lifting up the side of the mover, and clawing out 10 pounds of lawn trimmings every 20 feet.

The lawnmower absolutely hates this. To attract attention to its plight, it emits a heart wrenching choking sound alerting passersby that they have witnessed the pre-meditated murder of a perfectly serviceable, loyal to the family, always started in three pulls, internal combustion engine. This is how I have become a person of interest to the Society That Prevents Cruelty to Lawnmowers and got dragged down to the Honda shop and asked to explain myself.

Meanwhile, below the surface, the roots reach down and put a full nelson on the drain tiles; and just like the horror classic, The Lawn That Devoured Smithville, travel inside the pipes, under the lawn, over to the house, up the wall, into the toilet bowls where they lie in await, extorting, ah, nutrients out of unsuspecting washroom users.

To make things easier for the lawnmower, I started using the weed eater to chop the lawn down to more manageable proportions before mowing. This only caused the lawnmower to cry foul. It refused to start until I raked the weed eater cuttings off, and even then would only run 50 feet between breaks.

By the time I had finished, the grass where I had started had grown another six inches and it was time to start again. This caused both the lawnmower and I to break down in tears. But before the neighbours had a chance to call in the grief counselors, the strangest thing happened. Not 20 feet away, a bush spontaneously burst into flames, and just as spontaneously, the kung fu dude appeared behind it, and said, “Do not be defeated Cockroach, go with the flow, go with the flow.”

Cockroach? And Bernie’s whining about grasshopper?

After admonishing him for torching my wife’s rhododendron, I started to think. Go with the flow? Go with the flow? What the hell was he talking about?

“The flow of sewage, oh stupid one,” he said. “Don’t fight it, embrace it.”

A wave of enlightenment flooded through my veins. Or was that just the post lawn mowing beer kicking in. Why are we planting grass over our septic fields? Why are we wasting our most fertile soil on a maintenance problem when we could be planting vegetables instead? Let’s face it, human excrement, will do for your garden what human growth hormone did for Lance. Get you on Oprah to explain yourself.

I know, all of you not living in rubber tire houses are questioning my judgment, but before you send the authorities out with the butterfly nets, think about what our vegetables are subjected to now.

At last count our vegetable garden was labouring under three flavours of manure, (horse cow and sheep) with aromatics provided by a mélange of fish heads, starfish, seaweed, and to kick it up a notch, a seasoning of compost, which is a euphemism for whatever is rotting in your fridge. All of which is just window dressing to make us feel better about ourselves because what’s really making things grow are the grass clippings coming off the septic field! The grass clippings infused with you know what. Let’s just call it terroir like the French do.

Not only that, but all these ingredients have to be carted in. Your septic field, on the other hand, is ready to go, juicy tomatoes only a flush away. So I say why be handcuffed by squeamishness, give your garden the break it deserves, stop mowing and start flushing. And while you’re at it, pick up a bottle of Ribera Del Duero, Milagrosa Milcampos Vinas Viejas (Spain #603656) $17.97. (If you can’t pronounce that, a beer’s nice.)



Delbert is the co-proprietor at Mahle House.


About the author: The Boss

The Boss

Marina is Editor of TAKE 5 Magazine.

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