Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - May 16, 2002

Is this what they mean by "blue grass?"

Growing up on my family's farm, we had enough work keeping the crops going and doing other chores without adding yard maintenance to our list of things to do. We figured if God had wanted people in Kansas to have lush, green grass all year round, he would have made it grow here naturally.

Art and I have never spent much time on our lawn either. He used to baby it more when he first bought the house, but after paying for a few replacement water pumps, he decided it wasn't worth the trouble. The last few years, all we've done is mow it and pray for rain when the heat of summer sets in.

But for some reason, this year I decided I'd help the lawn out a bit. A few weeks ago, I put a mixture of weed killer and fertilizer on it, hoping to get rid of the weeds and to make the small amount of grass that was there grow better. I fretted afterwards. What if I put too much on? I might end up with yellow where the grass had been and dirt where the weeds had flourished. How attractive - a yellow and brown yard.

But the rain came and seemed to work some magic. It might be my imagination, but I think it looks better - even though I still ended up with a few dirt patches where dandelions and other weeds had been thriving.

My earlier success with the weed killer and fertilizer gave me confidence to take another step to improve the lawn. I bought some grass patch and tried it a few days ago. It is a blend of rye, fescue and blue grass seeds, mixed with fertilizer and mulch made of recycled paper.

I was surprised when I opened the bag. The mulch looked like shredded blue carpet padding. I spread the mixture where it was needed most and, as instructed, sprinkled it with water. After about an hour, I went out to inspect my work. A few birds had gathered around the patched areas. I wasn't sure if they were interested in eating the grass seed or in using the blue mulch to pad their nests.

We got a good heavy rain that night. We also had our septic tank overflow due to a faulty toilet. Author Erma Bombeck wrote a book, "Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank." Now I'll wait to see if she was right or if my "blue grass" does better. Or maybe I'll just have to check to see if we have blue-tinged birds nests in our trees.

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