Sunday, February 18, 2007

When You Don't Mow The Lawn

Still stewing over Rep. Ric Keller's (R-Florida)"lawn mowing" metaphor and so are several other people it seems. Hugh Hewitt tries to educate him using a return metaphor, but I decided that I had a real life "moral of the story" when you don't mow the lawn.

Last summer my push lawn mower died. The weeds in the drainage ditch by my house were getting pretty high and we were having a serious mosquito problem. The weed wacker was electric and I didn't have a long enough extension cord.

The drainage ditch is technically public property, but the city ordinances say that it's the responsibility of the home owner to keep it clear.

Not wanting to get a fine and getting very irritated by the mosquitos that always seemed to find a way to bite regardless of the amount of pesticide or repellent, not to mention the constant scare of the "Nile Virus" on the news, I decided I had to do something to get the weeds under control.

A friend of the family came over and helped me fix the push lawnmower. I bought a longer extension cord and proceeded to cut the weeds in the ditch. It was hard going because it still had standing water, the weeds had grown very high making it difficult to simply mow the weeds down and the mosquitos were insanely dive bombing me every step of the way.

I had to keep lifting the front end of the mower to slowly cut the weeds down. Of course, I was wishing I had gone out and fixed the push mower earlier and cut down the weeds before they were so high. It was also about 97* and 80% humidity. I was getting very tired, but I still had 1/3 of the ditch left to mow. I knew if I stopped, I would not finish the job and would have to go out the next day, get bit by mosquitos and heat stroke again. That's if I didn't convince myself that it could wait another week or so.

As I came to the last part of the ditch where the deepest water lay, mud up to my ankles, tipping up the front of the lawnmower and about to bring it down on the weeds, I got a nasty surprise.

A very nasty water moccasin (that's a "cotton mouth" for those in the south) slithered out of the weeds and water. he was coming pretty fast so I dropped the lawnmower and jumped out of the ditch. I watched the snake race to the drain pipe and disappear.

I didn't let the kids go out to play in the yard the rest of the day and I didn't let them check the mail for weeks after that because the mailbox was right by the drain pipe.

The whole time I was wishing that I had the foresight not to drop the lawnmower and run, but run the snake over with it instead.

Needless to say, the ditch stayed mowed and I worked the drain pipes over to make sure they were not blocked so I woudn't have any standing water that would attract slithering things.

That's a real life story, straight from nature, with a very real moral: If you do not mow the lawn, hostile neighbors or not, whether you "own" it or not, you will be inundated with little biting creatures that carry deadly diseases. Not to mention nasty, venomous slithering things that might crawl out and bite you or your family on a hot summer night while you are unaware, barbaqueing in your back yard.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

snakes are quite nice actually and they are not parasites or predators. If they are left alone and not trodden on they never go out of their way to attack anyone or anything. One of the saddest things I ever saw was watching a bunch of locals from my hometown kill a non-poisonous snake (and a beautiful one) just out of fear. Why are humans so afraid of the animal kingdom when we are the ones ruining their habitats, driving them to extinction to put up our ugly malls and plastic crap over their homes? Will our children thank us for ruining their future? Do we want to ignore how important biodiversity is for our own survival?