Friday, October 14, 2011

What is this weed?

I've spent the last year trying to figure out how to have a grass-free yard. It's harder than I thought it would be. I covered most of the backyard in a layer of old cardboard and covered that in mulch from the city landfill and in pine needles from Lowe's. Bermuda grass laughed at my efforts. My layer of hard-won mulch was covered in verdure within six weeks.  That's fine, as long as the greenery is low-growing and attractive. The previous owner of this house warned us we'd have to put out herbicide for the weed pictured here. In the absence of a thick layer of grass, it went truly apeshit.  I like it -it hugs the ground and has pretty flowers, but now that it's getting cooler it's starting to die back.

I tried killing off grass by cooking it under black plastic in the hot sun. Not as effective as what I'd hoped. Mulch is expensive and doesn't go very far. Pine straw feels squishy under your feet and while it's a better alternative to mulch because of the price and portability, it's still expensive.  Still working on this one. The mulched/pine straw option also makes it hard to rake leaves. It's fine with me if the yard's covered in leaves, hey it's free mulch, but I don't want leaves blowing into my neighbors' yards over the course of the fall and winter. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Salute The Late Jake Midnight

Jake Midnight died about a year ago. I've written about him before here and here. I met him in the mid-90s, I think in the neighborhood coffee shop. We used to talk about getting out of debt and off the grid. He was more successful than I was with that kind of thing overall, and the chapper is, by the time I finally managed to get a yard and means to some self-sufficiency, he'd kicked the bucket. I was standing in my new backyard telling Vasco, a mutual friend, "I need to get Jake to come look at these trees," and Vasco said "Jake's dead."  In fact, Vasco had been to Jake's memorial service only the week before. I was a little irritated with him for not letting me know Jake was sick in the first place, or letting me know about the memorial service. But that's how it goes I guess; perhaps it was all for the best.

Aside from being entertaining and knowledgeable, Jake truly got excited about helping other people. This past year I've had about 50,000 instances to think "Jake would really be good to talk to about this," or "Jake would help me out with that." And "I wish I'd paid more attention to that song of his he performed that time, those lyrics were really cool, now I'll never hear it again." I'm not saying it wasn't his time to go, or I wish it hadn't happened. I'm just saying I miss him. He was a true character. The afterlife is a better place with him in it.