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All That Junk

All That Junk

January 27th, 2007  · stk

What do you find when you rake your lawn? We found a golf ball, tool handles, bicycle chain, bolts, hinges, nails, volleyball net ... among other things ....

Raking the Lawn

Spring is definitely in the air (along with the remnants of winter: rain and - quite possibly - more snow), so I don't want to get my hopes too high. Still, there's been a palpable change in the atmosphere and we're not talking flatulence here! The days are discernibly longer, the sun has even shown its face. It may be that we set a record and it will be sunny for days in a row! Plants are even beginning to show their buds. Wow!

Yep, spring is right around the corner.

To celebrate and prepare, we have been raking the lawn, getting it ready for imminent sunshine, verdant growth and the pitter patter of tiny feet. Much of it has been raked before, but we had yet to tackle the "west lawn". (Whoa, that sounds a lot more regal than I intended - like the lawn of a certain government building on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, eh?) Mind you, our "west lawn" isn't an actual lawn. That's more a generous euphemism for the area that might be better described as: "the west glade". (Although less regal, that doesn't sound too bad either.) What I'm trying to say, is that the lawn doesn't actually have much GRASS in it.

To read more ... hit "Read Full Story" (it's pretty obvious). ;)

When is a Lawn not a Lawn?

One of the things that appealed to us, about this property, was the lack of maintenance required. "It's all a forest," we said, "We don't have to do anything to maintain it - it'll maintain itself."

Hmmm. We're not exactly sure where THAT idea went running off to, but we're left to ask, "So why are we raking an area the size of Connecticut?" At the moment, Connecticut is under a year(s?) worth of debris - pine needles, cones, sticks, etc.

In preparation for spring, we thought it would be a good idea to clear the duff off the grass. (Not that it's all grass, mind you. While it is GREEN, it's mostly moss. Surprise! We live in the Pacific Northwest.)

The Duff Stuff (sorry Hilary)

When we begin to rake the west lawn, we quickly realized that it contains a number of old burn piles. We found that we were raking across areas with charcoal and - low and behold - bits of METAL! When we hit a burn pile, we would rake up bolts, hinges, hasps and other things, lying near the surface.

Yuck. We don't want to live in a junk pile, no matter how forested it might look. We want the property to be natural, so we began to put all the man-made stuff we found, into a pile. Oh My GOD! By the time we were done, we had quite an assortment of odds and ends. We never expected to find a toothbrush, but we did. A set of keys. A volleyball net. A BIC pen. A die from a tap and die set. A chunk of plywood. Car trim. Hack saw blade. Tool handles. The list goes on (and on)!

How can there be so much stuff in a "lawn"?

We were AMAZED at the diversity of the things we found.

The biggest haul, by far, was something that, at first glance, appeared to be a ROCK. Upon closer examination, the moss-covered "rock" turned out to be a discarded lump of used landscaping fabric. (The kind used to block weeds, when it's placed under a garden or gravel.)

When we pulled it up and opened it, out dropped (among other things) - busted PVC pipe and plastic plant ID tags. When I unfolded the 'lump', it turned out to be quite a bit of fabric - maybe 30 feet long by about 8 feet. (I hung it on the back fence to dry and allow our next rain to wash off the dirt clods.) Maybe we'll find a use for it?

We raked up much debris, which dotted the lawn in good-size piles. I'll haul those off and dump them all into some of the low spots on the property, letting it mulch, over time. When the piles are gone, the west lawn will look TONS better. I doubt we'll be running around on it in bare feet, come summer, but we'll, at least, feel good for having extricated all that JUNK. Maybe the lawn will even sprout some real GRASS this year!! Wouldn't THAT be nice?!

In truth, it's not just the glade that contains all the junk. All over the property, I've discovered all manner of 'stuff'. 5 gallon buckets (several), an 8-foot table, a plastic pool, metal fencing, a big roll of barbed wire, a basketball hoop (with backboard, stand and base attached), a huge wooden barrel, a 55-gallon drum of decomposing motor oil, an automobile grille, dog toys, a tire ... etc.

SLOWLY, we're getting it all cleaned up.

Alex's Sticking Point

ALEX has been finding stuff too!

Yesterday, while Rachel and I were raking, she went off to play in the "Happy House". She returned about an hour later, with her "catch".

"What do you have, Alex?" I asked, as she approached.

"I don't know," she said, showing me this THING, which she appeared to be holding.

"Bring it here," I said, "Let's have a look."

As she drew closer, I could see that her hand, forearm and SWEATER, were all STUCK to something. Alex had found some sticky rat traps and being curious, dove in for a closer look. :roll: Looking confused (and a smidge like Briar Rabbit), she said, "Help me." In her other hand was a pair of scissors. I said, "Don't put your other hand into it, or you'll be stuck for good!"

On the plus side, we found some rat traps we can use (once we extricated Alex from them). :D On the negative side, it took Rachel 20 minutes of hard labor to unstick our child (and rescue the sweater).

We wonder what else is out there, waiting to be found?


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Updated: 14-May-2007
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1.flag Glenn Comment
Maybe you should just bring in the land mover and start with a clean slate. Rat traps? Man thats crazy!! Note to self, when I build in FL make sure no yard to rake mow or maintain :) Its all sand any way
2.flag stk Comment
LOL ... and I "thought" that's what we were doing (no maintenance). HA!

Even sand traps need raking! ;)