Saturday, 4 August 2012

Gardening with a Machete

A friend in Alberta is selling his house in Ontario, and he asked us to tidy up the yard before prospective buyers came by. The last tenants cleared out a couple of weeks ago, and it's obvious to me they hadn't mown the lawn or weeded the yard in weeks, or maybe even months. The thistles and ragweed were five feet tall, and the grass came to our knees.

His mower was broken, so we walked ours down the road, hauling a hundred and fifty feet of extension cord with us. It wasn't quite long enough. We couldn't water the grass as instructed, because the handle was broken off the spigot. The vacating tenants had left their garbage in the shed, in 100-degree heat. The friendly but non-English-speaking neighbour couldn't quite tell me what day was garbage pick-up day. But he had a nice smile.

We managed to mow most of the lawn, struggling up the 45-degree hill in the backyard, but eventually the thistles and heat defeated us and we retreated, to return to fight another day. But the little dent we did make revealed a rather nice, long yard, some decent trees, a patch that would make a sunny vegetable garden. The dip at the bottom of the hill would make a snazzy pond, and if you terraced the hill itself, you could make quite a stunning landscape. Even my thirteen-year-old was wandering around saying things like, "They need a brick path here" and "You could plant some neat bushes here..."  It was like walking around a blank canvas, the possibilities tantalizing.

Not that I need to take on any more yards. Mine is more than I can stay on top of already. But wouldn't it be a fun job to work for a real estate company cleaning up and "staging" yards for prospective home sellers? A touch of colour, a pot of flowers by the doorstep, a little shave and a haircut here and there, and the space is transformed. Maybe that will be my next career.

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