Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dying Nicely

Our summer project of killing half our lawn is already off to a good start. As you can see, much of it is brown and the good news is, everything that is brown is what we WANT to get rid of. In other words, the lawn we are keeping is staying green and the lawn we're removing is dying nicely. Some more will die as the summer wears on, but we're off to a really good start.

In a way it bothers me to kill a healthy lawn; that is the farmer in me whose job it is to keep things green and growing whenever possible. But sometimes having to kill something is inevitable.  I do not smile when I see my dead lawn, instead I tend to look down at those moments and remember why it is that I have to kill it: It's so we can plant some appropriate plants in the space, or add additional patio area.  It's also so I'm not throwing good drinking water on a crop that provides nothing for us but something to look at and walk on. And most importantly, it's because if everyone is cutting back -- and even if they are not -- using less water during a drought is the right thing to do.

A time to die.

Any good farmer or homesteader should have trouble with killing living things; the day it doesn't bother you is the day you need to pack it in, buy a condo in the city, and seek the services of a professional therapist, because taking pleasure or just not caring about the times when you have to be a participant in the taking of any life is just, well, creepy.  

I find when I have to kill something, whether it's a plant or a creature, I go down  little checklist in my mind.  Question One: Is the killing necessary so that something else may live or so that something does not suffer? Question Two: Is there a better way to accomplish this rather than taking said life?  If the answer to #1 is yes, or the answer to #2 is no, then I know what I have to do.  But truthfully, there isn't a spider, ant trail, chicken or patch of grass I don't run through the aforementioned checklist with before commencing with killing it. 

Thankfully today it is only part of a lawn that has to die here, and I can honestly look forward to the things that are going to take its place.  But no matter what, I am cognizant of the fact that as the homesteader here on this particular patch of land, part of my job is deciding what lives and what dies. It's a responsibility I hope I never take lightly.


  1. So I do kill spiders/bugs pretty carelessly but not in their own habitats. But I was thinking about this too, in reference to that other blog. It's so disturbing. I just don't know how one could have little helpless creatures and not feel driven to protect and nurture them. Someone trying to assimilate to a character, perhaps. The good news in terms of the lawn is that it is for the health of your community in a larger sense! But still...hard to see pretty green grass withering away! Good for you being as proactive as you are. Can't wait to see what you plant there!

    1. I'm excited about the possibilities, but of course sad to see the lawn dying. Yet my neighbors have a dry well, so water for people trumps water for grass any day of the week. Regarding that other blog, I think there is a certain unhealthy fascination and thrill with death over there. I remember her saying how creeped out she was by spring (the season of new life), her deep love for fall and Halloween,, animal skulls, etc. and other times smiling and almost gleeful at the butchering of animals. Plus the horrible standard of care for some of the livestock.(who is OK with losing 50 percent of their flock of baby chicks?!) I wonder, honestly, if there's not something amiss there, mentally. No, I don't wonder. I truly think there is.

    2. Oh, and in fairness I should add that I actually do love fall and Halloween too -- but not because it is the season of death. I just enjoy the colors and the fact that winter's coolness is on its way. I think in her case the love for fall and Halloween is due to some weird fascination with death. I always remember her attending a butchering workshop and exclaiming excitedly on her return, "TODAY I GOT TO WATCH A CHICKEN DIE!!" It made me a little sick to my stomach.

    3. Exactly! It's macabre and so upsetting. Don't know how one could revel in it. I love fall, too. But because of the abundance and that nesting feeling that takes hold! I think there is a huge gap between being desensitized and being numb. Clearly she lives in a state of numbness that protects her from realizing the weight of her choices. Especially thought her comment to Karen was inane; how she was offended someone would question her 50% death ratio as to suggest it ruined her beautiful morning!

    4. Well, that's the other problem, isn't it? There's an absolute refusal to listen to anyone's advice and she becomes snarky, confrontational or offended if anyone suggests she do something different. It's very strange. I actually only read Meredith's blog at this point, I just end up shouting at the screen when I read the other one lol.