Every year, at about this time of year, well, no, I think it’s at exactly this time of year, I get “a hankerin’” as Jed Clampett used to say, to get outside and get some things done. This hankerin’ always starts a week or two before the last flakes of snow fall on us from the Vermont sky, and continues until summer.
What happens is that I venture outside our house and peruse the condition of the front and side lawns of the estate. (The fact that the estate stretches eight or ten feet on each side of the house and about the same distance down to the street in front of our palatial front portico is no matter. (I don’t know what a portico is, but we have a front porch. Close enough?)
Anyway, at this time of year, I always get the itch to take out the lawn rakes, leaf blower, and other ‘implements of destruction,’ as Arlo Guthrie used to say, and get to work sprucing up the yard for spring. Last fall’s leaves are everywhere, from our huge front lawn maples. I have offered several times to give some to the neighbors, yes, give them, free of charge, but they never seem to have any need of them. So strange. So, a few days ago I got them all bagged, hauled away, and/or blown away. (Not the neighbors, the leaves.)
Another thing I like to do asap in the spring is to ‘hoe out’ as all good Vermonter’s say, our carport. We don’t have a garage. If you have ever had a carport, you know that it does everything a garage does, except store things out of the weather and keep dust, sand, mud, snow, and unrecognizable bits of winter litter off your car. If snow and rain fall exactly straight down onto your car under your carport, you’ve got it made. Other than that, you might as well park your car at the town sandpit.
So, what I do to get things that have spent the winter under my carport outta’ there, is to, firstly, move the cars to the land of far far away. Remember Shrek? Then I take what I think of as the ‘good stuff’ and put it out on the lawn someplace. Those items include things like the lawnmower, weed whacker, leaf blower, rakes, shovels, and those other implements of destruction, and, most importantly, my shiny new big and bad snowblower. (I hate blowing snow, but I love that monster machine!)
The next thing I do is something that I learned from a children’s book when our older kids were young. The book was titled: “What to do if your Mom or Dad asks you to Clean up Your Room.” The idea of this book, which I still think is a great concept, is for the child to pick up everything that is on the floor in their room and place it on their bed. Then, when that is done, they are to pick up one item from the bed and not put it down again until it is in its proper home. Eventually, everything that was out of place is put away neatly.
I’ve always thought that idea was one of genius, and have incorporated it into several areas of life, including this ‘hoeing out’ of the carport. So, next, I move everything out from under the port, get a rake from my cache of dangerous lawn care implements, and charge up my wonderful leaf blower.
The rest is fun, at least to me. I first throw out anything that I don’t want or recognize, carefully considering if any of my other family members might want them, (Not … If they wanted them, they would be out here helping me.) leaf blow the heck out of the carport, and then marvel for a moment at the great, clean covered space I have created. Lastly, I put the ‘good stuff’ back where it goes, neatly and carefully.
My next project will be to start the raised garden over. The yearly goal with that is always to get more vegetables out of it than it costs me to grow them. Last year my wife pointed out that spending thirty dollars on tomato plants, tomato cages, soil, fertilizer, and fences to keep the squirrels out was probably not worth the three dollars worth of tomatoes I harvested.
She was probably right, but still, I’m not sure. Hoeing out the carport, raking the lawn, and planting a garden remind me, in a way, of one of my other favorite pastimes, which is fishing. In each of these things, the result is much less important than the experience. Happy Spring!