The Washington Post (which apparently is written by people who’ve never been beyond the suburbs) wrote “Lawns are a soul-crushing timesuck and most of us would be better off without them“. I hate lawns but they serve a purpose and are better than most alternatives (what am I going to do, pave the forest or live in a jungle?). Thus I must fisk:
“A recent essay by an Ohio woman who refuses to mow her lawn has struck a nerve. Thirteen hundred people have weighed in with a comment on Sarah Baker’s tale of flouting a neighborhood mowing ordinance in the face of a $1,000 fine.”
Agreed. Anyone who makes mowing lawns into a law needs to be tarred and feathered and then burned alive while being fed into a wood chipper. Then we should bury the ashes, take a dump on them, and nuke their grave from orbit.
A note to local governments: if you’re not plowing the streets or putting out house fires, shut the hell up and leave us alone. In fact, just stay in the “shut up” mode permanently; you’re not important and nobody likes you.
“As Baker notes in her essay, lawns are a big part of contemporary American life.”
No they’re not. Maybe you should get a life?
“There are somewhere around 40 million acres of lawn in the lower 48, according to a 2005 NASA estimate derived from satellite imaging. “Turf grasses, occupying 1.9% of the surface of the continental United States, would be the single largest irrigated crop in the country,” that study concludes. Conservatively, American lawns take up three times as much space as irrigated corn. The authors mapped the entirety of the nation’s turf grass, below. You’ll notice that it’s basically a population density map of the U.S. — where there are people, there are lawns.”
So? I can use Google too. Did you know some kid in New Zealand found $65,000 worth of whale shit? Is this what they called “research” in journalism school?
“In some states, a significant chunk of the landscape is covered in turf grass — meaning residential lawns, commercial lawns, golf courses, and the like.”
Don’t live in those states. If a state overdoses on “lawn” does that mean I should too? Perhaps I should freebase “subway” because Connecticut gets high on “turf”? If New Jersey jumped off a cliff should Wyoming follow?
“Delaware is 10 percent lawn. Connecticut and Rhode Island are 20 percent.”
Delaware and Rhode Island don’t exist. They’re just ink blots where colonial cartographers spilled their ale. (Probably Sam Adams brand.) I refuse to acknowledge any state smaller than a Texas ranch. (I also think Luxembourg is a brand of car.)
“And over 20 percent of the total land area of Massachusetts and New Jersey is covered in grass, according to that 2005 NASA study.”
Massachusetts and New Jersey? Are you suggesting those two are the “go to” places for good examples of natural resource policy? Probably 20 percent of those states are Superfund sites or mob burial grounds. Also, I don’t take economic advice from California or friendliness advice from New York.
“Perhaps not surprisingly, the traditional American lawn has come in for some scrutiny in recent years.”
Is anything not under scrutiny in 2016? We Americans are having a “national conversation” over which shitter I should use in Target. Time for a new variant of rule #34; if it exists someone is “scrutinizing” it.
“Some, like Baker, are abandoning regular lawn maintenance out of environmental concerns — lawns require…”
Wait for it… Wait for it….
“fertilizer to grow”
NO. THEY. DON’T!
Unless you’re in a Utah desert the grass knows what to do. Any place that has dirt and rain (see Utah for “no rain”) will grow grass.
Why in God’s name would you bitch about the hassle of managing the growth of something you fertilize? Quit fertilizing it and it’ll grow less. Are you unclear as to what fertilizer is for?
“and gas to mow, and…”
Wait for it…. Wait for it…
“they take up space that could otherwise be used for animal habitat.”
I call bullshit!
Listen up you pansy assed urbanite pontificator… where I live lawns are the buffer zone between my house and wild friggin’ animals who want to kill me and trash my stuff. Only people who haven’t been out of a city think places that aren’t lawns automatically default to pavement. They default to a jungle that’s red of claw and tooth. Woodland creatures won’t stop until they’ve killed your cat, taken a dump in your garage, eaten the tomatoes, sprayed skunk musk on your dog, and chewed the radiator hose off your truck (or in the case of Washington Post hacks, your leased Prius). Nature is not a Sierra Club poster and it’s not your friend. My lawn is an open shooting lane that allows me to pick off furry interlopers before they kill the chickens.
“Other folks are ditching their lawns because of the amount of water they soak up — 9 billion gallons of it per day, according to the EPA. Think of the miracle that is the modern water supply — pristine water pumped hundreds of miles, passed through shiny state-of-the-art filtration systems, treated with miracle chemicals that keep our teeth from falling out of our heads, and available on-demand at the twist of a knob. And then consider that we intentionally dump billions of gallons of that water out on the ground!”
So don’t do that! Quit fertilizing it and quit watering it. If you quit forcing it grow so much you wouldn’t have to bitch about chopping off the extra growth.
Are you freebasing Paul Krugman’s economics again? Explain to me again how spending more money is good because then we’ll have more money? Is that why you fertilize and water the thing you hate trimming?
“These reasons are all well and good enough. But if you’re an average lazy American like me, with kids and a dog and maybe a mortgage and probably a job too, these may seem like valid concerns but they’re probably not worth changing your behavior over.”
Translation: you probably shop at Walmart and I’m better than you. However, I’m going to pretend, temporarily and for the sake of discussion, that Washington Post authors are “average lazy Americans”.
“So consider the most compelling reason to ditch your lawn, or to at least scale it back: time.”
I agree time is a big deal. When possible I mow with a tractor; ostensibly because it’s faster. In reality I like the tractor because it’s awesome. It’s an antique tractor without OSHA approve ROPS system. I’ll probably die wrapped around the PTO someday. As an American I don’t care because awesome is what American is all about.
When shit gets in my way I’ll mow over it. I tell the kids I’m sorry that I “mowed” their Frisbee.. but I’m not. I loved it!
Who’s got time to drive around a Frisbee? I’m a busy man.
Thankfully, I don’t have a HOA to bitch about my lawn when it’s scattered with Frisbee bits. Folks around me know better. If anyone came to bitch about how I should water and fertilizer my scraggly lawn I’d run over their ass with my tractor. Because I value my time! I can’t waste my life sitting through HOA meetings with a bunch of useless nincompoops discussing grass.
For efficiency sake I only mow just enough to keep the lawn from going feral. I never water and fertilize it for any reason at all. If it dies then I’ll have dirt. I can live with dirt. The best part of late summer is when the grass goes semi dormant and I can ignore it. Dirt is just a non hippie way to say “mother earth”.
“The average American spends about 70 hours a year on lawn and garden care, according to the American Time Use Survey. Considering that this is an average figure that also includes people who don’t spend *any* time mowing, the number for people who actually have a lawn, and actually mow it, is going to be considerably higher than that.”
The average Washington Post reader hires an illegal alien at $6 an hour through his Condominium Association fees and then signs a petition demanding a $15 minimum wage at McDonalds which doesn’t serve the gluten free vegan carrots that are his main diet. Juan, the poor bastard who gets paid $6 per hour to mow the fertilized lawn works 70 hours a week. If he complains his employer will break his kneecaps. Remember this while you sip organic guava nectar fruit drinks and Google the percentage of land area in turf by state on your iPad.
“Some people take pride in their lawns,”
“and get a lot of fulfillment by keeping them immaculately-manicured.”
“So for these folks, this is time well-spent.”
The word for that sort of person is ‘retired’.
Ever notice a retired guy in rural America will have a 60″ deck on a brand new diesel powered “garden tractor” that has more horsepower than a semi truck? He uses that to mow an 8 acre square upon which you could land a DC-10. If there’s a dandelion on it, he’ll drop a grenade on the fucker. There’s something about retired men and dandelions. I don’t know why. I suppose when I retire the AARP will explain it to me.
“But for many of the rest of us, mowing a lawn is nothing more than a chore, and a despised one at that. A November 2011 CBS news poll found that for 1 in 5 Americans, mowing the lawn was their least-liked chore — ranked lower than raking leaves and shoveling snow. Interesting aside: Democrats (25 percent) were considerably more likely than Republicans (16 percent) to say mowing the lawn was their least-favorite chore.”
Can you name any “chore” that involves actual, non theoretical, work that is more popular with Democrats than Republicans? Protesting, preening, and pestering doesn’t count.
When I see a Democratic stronghold full of men stacking firewood and raising two acre “kitchen gardens” I’ll revisit this question.
“Again, in some cases the time investment may be worthwhile — some families use their lawns all the time.”
I do. My lawn’s utility is that:
- It’s where I park my cars.
- It’s where I process firewood.
- It’s where I gut deer.
- It’s where I shoot guns.
- It’s where the chickens graze.
- It’s where the dog shits.
- It’s where I watch the stars at night.
- It’s the free fire zone raccoons and skunks must cross to harass my chickens.
- It’s the place I shove snow when I plow.
Something tells me that suburban boy has never done any of these things. That’s why his lawn is soulless. He has an Ansel Adams calendar on his cubicle wall and stares at it wondering why everything is so much more beautiful in black and white. He grows old waiting for the day to end so he can commute home in the carpool minivan. When he was younger he had dreams of being a trumpet player and having sex with supermodels. That’s all gone now. It’s all very tragic.
Also I can see why I don’t live in a suburb. I’d cause a revolution on a 1/10th acre suburban lot with McMansion’s on all sides. My neighbors would be sipping herbal tea and emoting about Guatemalan peasants and looking forward to Hillary Clinton’s vagina being the next president. Meanwhile I’d be shoveling deer intestines into a garbage bag while my diesel truck heats up. They’d have a HOA on speed dial.
I wonder if I can move in next to the author? It would be an eye opener. I like to tune my motorcycle at 3:00 am. I buy fireworks in box lots. When my dog howls I join in. If I don’t wear pants it’s none of your business. I could probably set my HAM radio to the right frequency to explode his tooth fillings. I might take up yodeling. I’d give his kids a bottle of vodka for Christmas. There’s no reason why you can’t make a snowmobile dragstrip out of the driveway. I like it when life is fun!
“But think of your own neighborhood, and of the number of houses where the only time you see somebody out on the lawn is when it’s getting mowed.”
The only time I see my neighbors is when they’re harvesting the fields. The only thing they do that I can hear is chainsaws for firewood and people shooting guns. They’re busy either working or living.
“It doesn’t need to be this way — there are plenty of low-maintenance alternatives to turf grass out there.”
Brushfields and dirt. I can live with those. Sometimes when the lawnmower breaks I consider mounting a 50 gallon tank of Roundup on my ATV and just going for it. Why not?
In fact, I heartily encourage Mr. Washington Post author to give it a shot. Just go nuts and kill all the grass. Quit watering it. Quit fertilizing it. And live in a dustbowl.
I’m certainly not stopping anyone from embracing alternatives to stupid expensive lawns. The author should quit writing whiny articles and nuke his lawn. I’m rooting for ya!
Hat tip to Maggie’s Farm.