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Loose Ends: Call me the haphazard greenskeeper

Yes, indeed, we're finally getting to that time of the year when it's shovels to the back of the shed and rakes to the front. Snow's melted and I'm not the only one glad to say goodbye to winter.

Now those pesky lawn-care chores loom, bringing its own set of problems: Mowing, fertilizing, aerating, watering, and plenty more to spend time and money on.

And I don't seem to have the same "lawn genes" as the rest of the family. The grass in their yards is as soft as golf courses, free of crabgrass and creeping charlie.

Not mine. At best, I'm a haphazard greenskeeper.

My kids grew up with lawn mowing duties. Their mission was to cut the grass as quickly as possible without chopping down mom's plants.

You know the drill. Picture teenagers pushing a lawnmower at warp speed, scalping the turf.

That lawn was abused by bikes ridden on it, nightcrawlers dug up, sandboxes played in, forts built, and rope swings hanging from the biggest tree. There really wasn't much hope for grass to grow nicely.

One fall I read about the joys of shredding, mulching and composting leaves right on the garden. It sounded like just the ticket for all the maple leaves accumulated in the back yard.

The kids and I raked a giant pile near the garden and went at it with "Old Red," the rusty but trusty lawnmower.

Old Red propelled the leaves high in the air all over the yard, in huge drifts, mostly in their original condition, not shredded or chopped. Re-raking became the chore of the day.

I neglected to read the part about needing a "mulching" type lawnmower. I can still hear the neighbors chuckling over that fiasco.

Now, years later, my son's girlfriend has one of those fancy mulching lawnmowers and it's a dandy. I say that girl's a keeper if she's smart enough to buy a decent lawnmower and kind enough to share it with me.

My little lawn is a little rough. Dandelions love it and little violets pop up here and there, so tiny, so pretty. And personally, I think creeping charlie smells good when it blossoms, just too bad it makes such a pest of itself.

I have such a little yard these days that I'm thinking about going green and purchasing one of those reel-type mowers. You know the kind, with blades propelled by human power. But memories of childhood and being catapulted onto the handle when the dang thing jammed on a stick or pebble have me a little worried.

Supposedly they're easier to push these days, reasonably priced and, best of all, use no gas or oil, just energy of the operator. And they're quiet -- a big plus in my book.

A little lawnmower for a little lawn. Sounds about right to me. Spring just can't get here soon enough.