Epic Enterprise – Prepping the Lawn

Posted: 3. March 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

So, Lord Winter is drawing his last breaths, icy gusts of Northeast winds chilling the inside out of any idiot who chooses to venture outside. However, he is surely dying. And Lady Spring is ready to follow.

I have been preparing her coming for the last couple of days.

Yeah, up until last friday, everything was covered in snow.

The ice has been slowly retreating for three weeks or so, the ground is gradually gaining heat, the Eranthis hyemalis are here, and the Snowdrops are peeping out and up everywhere. And as of yesterday, no more snow.

Normally, this is not enough for me to hail Spring. To me, there will be no Spring before vernal equinox. I am a believer of the old traditions. However, I can smell it in the air, I can tell it by the brightness of the light, and I can feel it in my bones. Spring is coming.

Let's prepare.

This picture was taken perhaps four days ago:

Since this means of conveyance has been more or less in the depicted state for the best of three months, I found it appropriate to do the right thing when the snow finally left.

So, I reanimated this mighty chariot with a touch of magic (and some five minutes of work with the bicycle pump due to a flat tire) and commanded it to work with me…

…prepping the lawn.

Now, this is the front lawn, a manageable range you would say, and it's true, but you would not believe the amount of dead leaves, pieces of bark and twigs of all sorts that builds up on a lawn during Winter. This central Danish island I live on is surrounded by ocean, so the land is constantly under attack of ocean gales, heavy blowing and often extremely cold winds, so everything that is not properly attached to trees and bushes will eventually come off and land on my lawn.

Yes, I am pretty sure that something in the soil under this lawn has turned it into a magic vortex, attracting the scattered remains of every tree, bush, shrubbery, hedge, conifer or deciduous, on the entire island.

Which is why I have, today, purchased a new weapon, a new addition to my growing arsenal of iron and steel.

I am rearming.

Through the entirety of last summer my faithful and ever so trusted garden rake, The Nettlebane, served me very well in my ongoing struggle against the bindweed and the nettles. She is a mighty weapon. However, though without regret, I now have in my possession a lawn rake, specially designed for raking chopped off grass and of course twigs and leaves from the lawn.

On the above photo, you can see this instrument of remidiation, leaned against our Himalayan birch. Where the traditional garden rake is a somewhat cruel and primitive device, this is more refined, as I'm sure you can see.

I have yet to dub this weapon, because I can not give her a name before she has proven her worth.

It has begun, and with the proper preparations I will be ready when Lady Spring arrives within the fortnight.

  1. coisart says:

    Gertrude! 😆

  2. Aqualion says:

    Gertrud is a common name around here, and I can not have a magic device like this with a peasant name. No, it has to be more epic. It will come to me when it must be. I can not just pick a name.

  3. derWandersmann says:


  4. coisart says:

    Rakel!!! :p geddit??? Rakel! Rakel! 😆 :ko: :rip:

  5. FlaRin says:

    If you called her Gertrude, she'd soon be just 'Trudy' to all the other implements. Friendly, sure – but not demanding of respect as such.I'd suggest Aðísla. being the feminine form of the Old West Norse masculine name Aðils. The name is derived from Aþa-gíslaR, "noble, foremost". The second element is from -gísl or its side-form -gils, and may be related to the Langobard word gísil "arrow-shaft" and also to OW.Norse geisl m. "staff", geisli m. "sun-beam"; a shaft typical of a weapon or a part of a weapon.Sounds feasible :)Or – Janet.

  6. Aqualion says:

    There's plenty of possibilities in Old Norse. Hrifa would be obvious since it is simply the old norse name for a rake. And it also ends with -a, so it could be a girl's name. However, it does not suggest personality, and a name like that has to suggest personlaity. As mentioned, it has to prove its worth. My old rake earned her name Nettlebane because she proved very effective against the six foot tall stingy nettles that covered the backgarden. Slashing them down and pulling them up became her thing. The bane of nettles, simply.What I have is basically a staff with a sort of comb at one end. The form is actually the same as an old nordic weapon called the Kamgeir, kam for comb and geir for spear. It was a staff with a crest of blades at one end for mounted combat anno 170 BC. But Kamgeir sounds a little too violent, not a proper lady's name. Anyway, the opposition is not the Huns or the Roman Legions but garden weed, so…

  7. I_ArtMan says:

    glad to see you in such fine fettle getting ready for the new year of earth work. your earth scratcher is similar to our leaf rakes. when i am raking with a rake such as that, i always feel like i am scratching the earth's head. and i can sense that it likes it.so i vote for something ancient sounding which denotes 'friend of the grass'. 😎

  8. Aqualion says:

    It is an ordinary standard lawn rake. Said so on the label, and it really feels like proper grooming, as you say. Grooming the lawn. Or the drive, like I've been doing today. Same problem: massive amounts of twigs and leaves. Grooming. Making everything look better. That's what front lawns and drives are about. It's what people passing by see. And there's enough misery to be seen on your way cross the land. I'm not going to contribute to this. So, the publically visible parts of my house will look good. Out of respect for by-passers. Next thing will probably be the car. Haven't been grooming that since September, so it needs some attention, inside out. Can't be arsed washing the car in wintertime. Wash it up, clean and shining, one mile down the road and it looks like it has been in the bog for 50 years anyway. But I guess next step will be grooming that car.I also have devices for that purpose. I shall not be using the "Green Hand" on the car.By the way, the old norse term for friend of grass would actually be grasfrjándi. Both the words 'grass' and 'friend' comes from old norse. Except 'frjándi' also means family or relative. The difference between friends and family was not particularly emphazised by the ancestors. I like that. I feel the same way.

  9. Spaggyj says:

    That's a bloody large rake :eyes:

  10. Aqualion says:

    Originally posted by Spaggyj:

    That's a bloody large rake

    You should see my other one…(Always wanted to say that. Thanks for giving me the chance. :up:)

  11. derWandersmann says:

    Unless your rake is made of a more durable plastic than is used over here, you will find that it needs replacement at intervals … UV radiation and age makes them brittle, and they lose teeth. You will probably eventually buy a metal one.My old method of prepping the lawn, discovered after about two years of raking and disposing, was to take out the power mower on a cool, dampish day, when all the leaves were down, and mow and mow and mow, going this way and that, until the entire lawn was covered with powdered (essentially) leaves. Put the mower away, and wait for spring. When the snow melted, you'd wonder where the leaves went … I thereby salvaged my carbon and essential minerals for use the next summer, when they fertilised my lawn.

  12. Stardancer says:

    Have fun, Martin. There is nothing that says "Spring!" like the first couple of weeks of physical labor in the yard. Shakes off the winter gloom and wakes up the senses.:smile:

  13. FlaRin says:

    I like that the birds seem to be back in town, and are singing in the mornings, and also at sunset…

  14. Aqualion says:

    @DWI have three rakes, two of them with metal teeth, classic style rakes. Durable. One of them was already in the tool shed of the house when we got here. That's the one I call Nettlebane. It was here before me and has been used by the people who used to live here, so it is a special thing. Judging from the look and feel of it, it has some mileage. The other one I bought last year, metal handle and metal head. It will last some years. I never compromise when purchasing tools, because I know that the cheap ones will have to be replaced annually. As for the leaf rake, I chose the one with the plastic head, because I needed something light. They had models with metal heads, but they seemed unecessarily heavy to me. I know I will use this one a lot, because there are a lot of big trees both in our garden and in the neighbouring gardens, and therefore dead leaves and twigs all over the place. I need a light instrument for this purpose.Dead leaves are a good fertiliser. Down in the back garden I have done like you suggest. My father did the same. Lot of this gardening stuff I learned from him. We also have a compost barrel where I toss just about every kind of organic waste we have – vegtables, peals, egg shells, used coffee filters etc. It used to be a grub composter with worms, but they died some years ago. Still works, though. Nice brown, aromatic soil. Will come in useful in a couple of weeks where I will start conditioning the soil.Thanks for the tip anyway!@StarI do have fun. I like being outside, and I enjoy physical labor. Always did. Gardening was never my first choice. I'd rather build stuff. I like it. However, gardening is like building, only, what you build is a supply of food. Not the stupidest thing to build, is it?@FlaI wake up quite early – six/half six in the morning. One of the first things I do is to take my cup of coffee and go smoke a cigarette in the back yard. In every kind of weather. Gives me the opportunity to follow the change of seasons – being on the same spot at the same time every day. I love the birds. We feed them in winter time with all sorts of stuff, and they love it, especially the small ones. This means that they like being here, and they stay here for the summer. So, we have lots of birds. It's a concerto to say the least every morning. They are nesting and mating already. Spring comes early this year.

  15. gdare says:

    Originally posted by Aqualion:

    You should see my other one…

    That's a big yard 😀

  16. derWandersmann says:

    I'd much rather make stuff, too. Unfortunately, having moved into this asylum for the unbearably old and infirm, I perforce had to give up my full (or nearly; does one EVER have all the tools one wants?) complement of tools to my son-in-law.Else I'd be occupied building furniture in this glorified closet, or perhaps elegant muzzleloading rifles, they taking up much less room.

  17. Aqualion says:

    I have all sorts of wild plans for this piece of ground that has fallen into my possession by sheer luck. There's the yeard or patio or whatever you'd choose to call it. Here I have decided to build a big barbecue. I'm so tired of those mobile metal barbecues on wheels that will break apart during one season and can have only four small pieces of meat on them. So, I'm collecting bricks to build a stationary barbecuewith a proper grill and a corresponding table. That will be by some time in the not so distant future. Then there's the installation in the back garden. Big plan. It's a vision I've had since we moved in. I see a sort of Mini-Valhalla down there. An arbor/pavillion sort of thing, Dragon style. With grass on the roof and all. Just made from old boards I find lying around. Something like this:Well, not exactly like this, but somewhere along that path, if you know what I mean.Can be done. Possible. My brother in-law loves the idea and says he'd love to help me. He is Aquarius like me.;) He also has a history of building stuff from nothing. It's a practical skill to have.

  18. Stardancer says:

    I like being outside and the physical labor, too. Most of my jobs have been jobs traditionally held by men, from building roads, to manufacturing engineering, to a steel building erection business. Can't do those things anymore, but I still love it, and working in the yard–pulling weeds, raking, mowing, hauling downed branches, clearing fence lines, etc.–gives me the opportunity to relive those days on a small scale.And it just feels good to get out there and breathe deeply.:smile:

  19. Furie says:

    Love the Nettlebane reference.So, Denmark has islands then? How do all the cats cope with that much water?

  20. Aqualion says:

    Last summer, when we moved here first time, the only kind of media we had, besides a transistor radio, was my PS3 and a screen. So, whenever I had to disconnect from garden work, I sat down and took a couple of hours of gaming. The only game I had with me was Skyrim. For those who are not familiar with that game, there's a quest where you help some temple guys with their holy tree. In this quest you find a sword called Nettlebane. My Nettlebane really deals with nettles, though. Not just a name.

  21. FlaRin says:

    I think Danmark has about 400 islands, plus the Faroes and Greenland….the land that isn't ever green 🙂

  22. qlue says:

    Originally posted by Spaggyj:

    That's a bloody large rake

    It is? :left: Looks kinda standard to me! *shrugs*

  23. Spaggyj says:

    It's large to me. I mean, that tree trunk is quite thick.

  24. Aqualion says:

    It's an ordinary standard lawn rake. The handle is same size as with a broom. The plastic head is about the size of a large frying pan.

  25. Spaggyj says:

    Well, poo to both of you, then 😡

  26. Aqualion says:

    I was just trying to describe the bloody thing so that you could judge for yourself… No offense intended!

  27. coisart says:

    the humans are squabbling… :devil: all goes as accordance to the prophecy… :wizard: one rake to rule them allll!! Muhahaha! :devil:

  28. Aqualion says:

    :D- What is it, Mr Frodo?- Oh, Sam… It's… the rake… It's drawing me… But…- But what, Mr. Frodo?- Gandalf warned me about the power of the rake. I must not submit!- Right! S'pose that means I have to do the bloody driveway again! I'm gettin' fed up with all those excuses, and on top of that having to listen to your everlasting grievance… Fuck it! I'll be out raking the driveway – again! – if there's anything else 'Mister' needs!

  29. Aqualion says:

    Originally posted by coisart:

    to be fair, Sam was frodo's gardener…

    Exactly! It's only fair! ;)By the way, I understand the hierachy of the Shire is a subject most discussed by the followers of Tolkien's works. Most of them don't understand that the society was based on rural South West English communities, where the relationsship between master and servant was not as apparent as in other contemporaneous siocieties. Coneventions was the fundament of the community, everybody knew their place, but it was not impossible to 'move' from one's position. In the books (not in the film, as fra as I remember) Frodo and Bilbo takes off in the end, and Sam is 'promoted' (must be another word, but I don't know it) to landlord because he takes over Bag End, and he even becomes Mayor of the Shire.

  30. coisart says:

    😆 😆 to be fair, Sam was frodo's gardener… :p

  31. Spaggyj says:

    No, you all smell now. :p

  32. coisart says:

    with feet like hobbits you expect anything less?:pI've only seen the movies and read The Hobbit. Still wanted to read the rest though.

  33. qlue says:

    Originally posted by Spaggyj:

    No, you all smell now.

    I always could smell! Except when I had a cold and my nose was blocked! :whistle: :p

  34. derWandersmann says:

    As Samuel Johnson said to a woman who complained that he smelled bad, "Madame, you smell; I stink!"

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