Is America Burning - a Forum To Discuss Issues

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Skyline - Houston, Texas

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Life in the Suburbs

I don't write much about the environment. I'm on several mailing lists, I sign petitions when I'm asked, and I've written a few letters. On a personal level, I try to conserve water and electricity. We've switched almost all our light bulbs over. I'm careful about driving and try to plan my trips to use as little gas as possible. We recycle and I'd far rather pass something on than leave it at a dump site. I belong to Free Cycle because of that. I do use plastic grocery bags but I take them back to the store when they've piled up a bit.

It's all small stuff but I like to think I'm doing something.

What I don't do is write about global warming very much.

Perhaps I should but it's not my field so all I'd be doing is posting links we've all seen before.

Anyhow, I wrote a post on "granny" yesterday. Usual family stuff and I mentioned Ray was out back watering the crab grass (on a non-watering day, he never can keep them straight but he'll skip today and get back on track). Our soil will grow nothing except one small patch of mint by our back door. And a little crab grass.

I'd like to plant something but the few things I've tried have turned up their toes and died. My thumb is not just purple, it's black.

Then this morning I ran across this from my friend Peter from Queensland, Australia. He writes a blog called Holtie's House. The excerpt from his longer post sums up my feelings about Suburbia and their "Little Boxes" nicely. A friend (also Australian) and I were talking the other day about hanging out clothes. Here in the USA we can't do that in most housing developments. (I can but my space is a little limited). The Owners' Association prohibits it just as they prohibit any lawn that isn't up to neighborhood standards. If I lived there and wanted a small garden rather than an expanse of lawn, I'd be violating their rules. I couldn't decide for myself whether to let the dandelions and wild violets grow. As far as a compost pile or using leaves as mulch? No way. One house and one lawn after another; the only variety the shrubs and flowers. Even those are strictly regulated.

Years ago, a man living in one of the San Francisco suburbs decided to seed his lawn with ice plant . Personally, I think it's beautiful (although it can behave like kudzu if one is not careful) but it put him on the first page of the San Francisco Chronicle. I can't remember now if he won or lost but I do remember admiring his one man protest against all that conformity.

Enough from me. Here's what the deity of your choice might think about the whole thing.

God Finds Out About Lawn Care.

Imagine the conversation The Creator might have with St. Francis about this:

"Frank you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracted butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles."

"It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers 'weeds' and went to great extent to kill them and replace them with grass."

"Grass? But it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental with temperatures. Do these suburbanites really want all that grass growing there? "

"Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn."

"The spring rains and cool weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy."

"Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it _ sometimes twice a week."

"They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?"

"Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags."

"They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?"

"No, sir. Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away."

"Now let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?"

"Yes, sir."

"These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work."

"You aren't going believe this Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it."

"What nonsense! At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It's a natural circle of life."

"You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and have them hauled away."

"No! What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and keep the soil moist and loose?"

"After throwing away your leaves, they go out and buy something they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves."

"And where do they get this mulch?"

"They cut down trees and grind them up."

"Enough! I don't want to think about this anymore. Saint Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?"

"Dumb and Dumber, Lord. It's a real stupid movie about..."

"Never mind I think I just heard the whole story."

COMMENTS:

Worried American said...

There was a case here in Houston of a rebel to conformity. She allowed her front and back yards to grow wild a la nature, with wildflowers and native bushes and trees. It harbored and nurtured wildlife; birds, butterflies and bees. The neighbors in the community were appalled and outraged and she eventually ended up in a hellacious court battle. The conformists won, ofcourse.

Monday, August 06, 2007 11:15:00 PM


1 Comments:

  • At Monday, August 06, 2007 11:15:00 PM , Blogger Worried American said...

    There was a case here in Houston of a rebel to conformity. She allowed her front and back yards to grow wild a la nature, with wildflowers and native bushes and trees. It harbored and nurtured wildlife; birds, butterflies and bees. The neighbors in the community were appalled and outraged and she eventually ended up in a hellacious court battle. The conformists won, ofcourse.

     

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