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The yard here at Second Chance Ranch is in full flower. We’ve never treated it for what most suburbanites consider “weeds,” so each year we enjoy an array of spring beauties, wild violets (for which our township is named), clover, sorrel, jenny, charlie and, of course, dandelions.

Most years I leave the largest clumps of blooms, mowing around them a couple of times to preserve splashes of spring color. Yesterday, however, for this season’s first cutting, I decided to play it straight and just get the job done.

It had been over a year since I mowed anything. It’s also been exactly that long since our lawn-care equipment had been fired up, but both rider and walk-behind started with little hesitation. I silently congratulated myself for having done proper maintenance before storage.

Our rider is a small Cub Cadet with a 30-inch deck and absolutely no balls, its ten horsepower struggling to drive both blade and axle on anything but level ground. (Other than a short bank near the street, that’s all we have here.) The littlest Cub at times can be frustrating, but used within its performance limits it’s all we need for this postage-stamp lot.

I finished up yesterday with the walk-behind, cutting the bank and trimming closer around trees. I’ve always enjoyed mowing, and after the long layoff it felt really good.

I guess I’d better enjoy it while I can — we’ll have no yard to mow on The Mountain.


I took Friday and Saturday off to recover from last week’s pains and strains. Yesterday morning I felt springy enough to haul more stuff up from the basement and out to the dumpster and then tackle the yard work. When I finished I was feeling the effects but didn’t think much of it.

By this morning, however, it was obvious that I’d pressed too hard, too soon. I couldn’t get out of bed — not like a normal human, anyway.

My lower back threw waves of intense pain with every move I made. In a fit of comic ingenuity I worked my way to the edge of the mattress and fell onto the floor, where I grabbed ahold of a chair and pulled myself upright.

Sort of.

I’ve taken myself off the job again, parked and unable to contribute ’til further notice. It’ll be some time, I expect, before I’ll be doing any lifting and moving and slinging. I hate that almost as much as I hate to whine about it.

On the bright side, before I went down we managed to fill our dumpster almost to its 20-cubic-foot capacity. This one will be hauled away today, with the understanding that we’ll need another at some point in the next couple of weeks.

Between now and then I’ll rest my back and wait for it to heal. I have no other choice.


The Mountain is greening in our absence. This morning our soon-to-be-neighbor sent us this photo of dogwood blooming near our homesite.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon


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