Monday, July 14, 2008

Scorched earth and trickle down economics

Every July for the last few years we have left town for a week or so. Every time we've been gone, it's gotten really hot at home. Each time, we've returned to a lawn that looks nearly dead. I always think before I leave that I should increase the watering, and every year I forget. Once the lawn is brown and dry, it's nearly impossible to get it green again when temperatures are pushing 100 degrees every day. Moreover, it seems a bit irresponsible to use that much water since most of our lawn--save the section in the back where my kids play--serves as nothing more than an ornament for our house. The only reason I bother with trying to nurse it back to health is that my goal for landscaping is to avoid embarrasment, and completely letting it die would be embarrassing.

So for the last week, I've given the lawn a bit more attention. This means mowing and trimming and watering the really dry spots, and even pulling a few weeds. Apparently, it's bad enough that the enterprising young man who lives behind us thought I needed some help and even came to the door to offer his services mowing and trimming our lawn.

I actually already have a neighborhood teenager who mows my lawn. Last year for Father's day, my wife hired another neighbor kid to mow the lawn for me in order to allow me more time to train for Lotoja. I liked the arrangement so well that I kept him on this summer. But last week he was on vacation, so I did it myself. And being out of work, it's pretty hard to justify paying someone else to care for my lawn when I'm home to do it pretty much every day.

So yesterday we had to let our neighbor know that he was being laid off from his lawn mowing gig at our house. I assured him he'd be called back once I was working again and no longer had no excuse whatsoever not to do it myself. I'll have to figure out a clever way to turn this into another economics lesson for my daughter. She'll get the first part of it really easily, but if my nine-year old can get a reasonable grasp of the multiplier effect, I'll be really pleased.

Don't expect any posts for the rest of the week, as I'll be in northern Idaho on a Boy Scout High Adventure trip riding the Hiawatha Trail and the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes. Can't wait to see what my lawn looks like when I get home.