Something weird has happened to a side of our front yard.
This confirms my belief that the whole concept of the suburban lawn defies logic. I say this as a witness to my husband’s landscaping struggles, which roughly last April through October. And now, just as he’s about to wrap up another excruciating year of outdoor maintenance, I remain thankful the grass has always been his domain.
Every warm season brings the typical battles. Too much sun here but too much shade there. A sprinkler system with a mind of its own. Dull blade on the mower. Dandelions. A wife whose mantra has become, “Why don’t we just hire a lawn service?” A husband who will never loosen his grip on the edger.
But now it seems we’re punctuating our Green Carpet Dreams of 2018 with the sudden appearance of a moles or voles or, in my opinion, a science fiction underground monster. Something we’ve never seen before is going on beneath the surface. It’s like a mini episode of “Stranger Things.”
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My husband said to me, several times, “This happened almost overnight! I mowed Thursday evening and everything was fine. By Saturday morning, there were holes and uneven ground!”
He was right. I checked the 5-by-10 foot problem area. It looked like Bigfoot used oversized machines to core and verticut the lawn for a cartoonish effect. (The whole mechanical aerating thing is another expense I don’t understand.) Also, the ground was disturbingly, suddenly lumpy, as if the soil below boiled in a most violent way. A walk across that affected patch presented a huge invitation to twist one’s ankle.
Within minutes of the discovery, my Toby Tobin lawn and garden radio show fanboy ran to Markups ‘R Us Nursery. He was armed with cell photos of the newly unearthed disaster. The diagnosis was moles or voles had likely feasted on grubs. Or, the expert offered a second theory: Our yard was so healthy an abundance of earthworms attracted the feasting critters.
Flattery will get you everywhere, especially to the cash register.
Regardless, a mammalian Pac Man game bloomed under our feet. Now, it seems, we might have to partake in grub prevention. I have no idea what grubs are and I’m determined to never find out. But also, as I mentioned, it might not be grubs but an earthworm convention. Vole Dirt Sushi. There’s a band name for you.
I have too many other things to be nervous about right now. Which brings to mind the time my family was horribly lost in the Bronx and my husband and I argued about where to turn next. Our then-teenage sons took turns saying: “I’m sitting this one out.” That phrase has become one of our family catchphrases.
All I know is the lawn industrial complex is stacked against us mere mortals. Alternative landscaping ideas often germinate in my mind. Like having big, big shade trees everywhere with exclusive hosta gardens instead of lawns. (About a third of our backyard is actually a hosta sanctuary. I love it. And so do the rabbits.)
Also, I think about Europeans who actually plant abundant swatches of fruits and/or vegetables and/or flowers in their front yards. Here, I know that concept would stir HOA warfare. But imagine lawn care companies switching their services to tomato planting and marigold maintenance. A gal can dream.
Meanwhile, my husband is dealing with our chewed up yard in what I think might be a multipronged attack. Or not. This is between him and Markups ‘R Us, because, as I have decided, I’m sitting this one out.
Reach Denise Snodell at email@example.com or on Twitter @DeniseSnodell