On suburban splendor

I just mowed our front lawn, for what I suspect will be the last time this year (note for the record, that’s not our house up there) and after finishing the job I texted my wife to come outside and look at it.

“We have lived in this house for ten years,” I said, “and this is the best the lawn has ever looked. Right now at this exact second.”

Y’all know this about me if you’ve been around here for a minute; I hate yard work. I hate it. When we bought this house there was a foot of snow on the lawn and on the roof and had we looked at it in the summer when I’d have had a moment to realize what I was getting us into I would have argued against buying the place. The couple that owned the house before us were elderly and retired and they clearly had channeled all of their leisure time into the landscaping and the lawn, much like one of our neighbors still does (our other neighbors keep their front lawn putting-green short, which is a whole different, slightly weird vibe) and we are clearly the No Fucks to Give house in the neighborhood.

Anyway, this year– and not for the first time!– we shelled out some money for a lawn company to handle things like fertilization and reseeding for us. We have done this in the past with another company to no real result, and figured it was worth one more shot with another company this year, and … man. I gotta admit it, as much as I hate this shit it’s nice to look at a lawn after it’s been mowed and you can see the lines and everything is nice and clean and even. And there aren’t any super-thin patches and that damn fairy ring is gone and no weeds. Hell, there weren’t even any leaves, since raking happened this weekend(*) and I mowed up everything that fell since then.

Anyway, if you’re local, and you don’t have the patience to deal with your lawn’s bullshit yourself, you could do a lot worse than hiring Lawn Doctor.

(*) by which I mean my wife raked the front lawn. Isn’t passive voice awesome? I bet you thought I had something to do with it.

In which I still hate nature

I’m still holding true to one of my summertime goals: every day, do something to clean and/or organize and/or improve something around the house. Frankly, most days I’m doing multiple things, but even on the laziest of days I’m trying to get something minor accomplished. To wit: there is a bush in front of our house, and there were a bunch of big weeds and two actual small trees growing out of the bush that needed to come out. I initially posted a picture of one of the weeds to Facebook, because it reminded me of something that the back of my head was telling me was poisonous and I wanted to know if anyone could identify it. (The poisonous things are hemlock and giant hogweed, which are both superficially similar; I do not think this weed is poisonous any longer.)

Several hours later, I still don’t know what the hell the thing is and now it’s a blog post. We’re all about plants around here today.

Anyway. First picture: I pulled the thing out of the ground barehanded and with very little effort, so the roots don’t go deep. I tossed it on the hood of my car for scale. This was not here last week, so it grows fast.

A close-up on the flowers. Note lots of tiny clusters of white flowers but no stamens (stama?) anywhere. This is relevant, as lots of plants have the flowers but they have stamens all over the place.

The underside of the flowers:

And the leaves:

I took another picture that was a close-up of the stems, but you get a good look in the lower corner of that picture. The two most common guesses have been mock bishop’s weed and Queen Anne’s lace. I feel like neither is right. Mock bishop’s weed has really needly leaves:

And Queen Anne’s lace leaves don’t look right either, although they’re a lot closer, and I keep seeing QAL described as “hairy”:

… which, shit, maybe this IS hemlock. The stems and leaves look right, but the flowers really don’t. This is hemlock:

No little stamen thingies on the flowers, so not hemlock. And, interesting: I just scrolled back up to look at the pictures of the flowers more carefully and the stems by the flowers are a little hairy. So maybe it’s Queen Anne’s after all?

EDIT: Found a website about QAL and hemlock and now I don’t think it’s either, because the stems don’t have any purple in them (which hemlock does) and the flowers don’t have any purple spots in them or any bracts, which Queen Anne’s Lace does. So I think it’s another thing altogether.

Gah. Screw nature; it’s stupid.

Must be July

I love how tight a schedule these things are on.


Good morning!

I’ve got to take the cat to the vet and who knows what kind of drama that’s going to create, so have a few more backyard flower pictures for the time being:



Question for the lawn care enthusiasts


What’s the deal with the rings? ¬†Do I have faeries? ¬†Should I never walk into them at midnight?