Another season of Karen vs. the Lawn has begun.
So far this year, I have raked, top-dressed and overseeded the front and back yard, half-heartedly pulled up some weeds (which I was hoping were very lush, strong little grasslings but am starting to suspect are an army of maple trees), and watched anxiously for signs of buds on my crocuses (2 flowers from 7 plants), tulips (3 for 5), and daffodils (0 for 2). The score so far: my hosta is just starting to peek out of the earth, in tightly-furled purple points, but other perennials, like my hydrangea, are barely putting out tiny green buds. The lilac turned into a lush, green tree sometime in the past week, and the peonies, echinacea, and bleeding hearts are already battling over which one gets to escape their little fenced-off area and overrun my yard. (Answer: none of the above. The rhubarb has exploded into two giant ... red and green things ... and one smaller one.) (Make up your own descriptor, please.) Of the three "perennial" plants that I planted in late summer -- and even covered with protective cones, only one is showing signs of life.
We went to the New Edinburgh plant sale last weekend, and picked up some geraniums (coral and red; Ailsa's choice) for our front door hanging basket, and a flat of daisies, which are cheerful and easy to grow. I also transplanted two shrubs of unknown type from small pots into my driveway planters - we'll see what they do with more space and some proper care, and once I figure out what they like, may well transplant them in the fall.
It's like this every spring. So much green! So much hope! My garden patch is in desperate need of weeding, but I'll let it remain Vaughn's construction site for another week, at which time I can prepare the soil to receive, then kill, those hopeful little seeds.
But back to the lawn. I am still determined to have a beautiful lawn. To that end, I decided at the end of last year, that it was Time to Sharpen the Mower Blades. I would go to Lee Valley, buy the kit, figure out how to do it and... was quickly talked out of it by my father-in-law. "Why don't you find some travelling knife sharpener who will do it for you?" I immediately saw the benefits: after all, I had memories of the knife sharpener driving down our street as a child, and I could relive that. I'd be saving time, effort, and probably several pints of blood and a few fingers. Sold!
Surprisingly (to me, anyway), there is only one company in Ottawa that does mobile lawn mower sharpening. I called the number on the website, and spoke to an actual person, who was also the owner and entire staff. For $34, he would pick up my lawn mower, bring it back to his shop (his shoppe?), sharpen it, and return it a week later. If I wanted it back within 48 hours, I'd have to drop it off and pick it up myself. And it would cost $25, before tax.
"For an extra $5, essentially, it's worth the mobile service."
The directions were simple: tape a post-dated cheque for $34 to my little push mower, leave it out of the garage (but not out in front where it would wander away*), and ... wait for it to be returned next Wednesday. I put the cheque in a baggie, in case of rain, and then decided that my lawn would be a jungle by next week, so I mowed it quickly, cheque-in-baggie already attached to the handle and flapping jauntily in the sun.
We went to pick Vaughn up at school at 3 pm. When we came home, the lawnmower was gone, and a receipt was in my mailbox. What an awesome business, I thought.
Either that, or I just paid someone $34 to steal my lawnmower.
* see also, Vanier-is-up-and-coming