With warmer spring weather fast approaching, I am busy doing my "rituals of spring." They include such tedious activities as getting out and picking up all the sticks that the winter wind and snow brought down. As the grass becomes a pretty green and starts to grow, the lawn mower has to be double checked to make sure it is ready for these weekly or more often tasks.
Thankfully, I have a nice zero turn lawn mower and enjoy how easy it is to get the job done.
Thinking back to those years when I was growing up, lawn mowing was not as easy and I don't think it was all that much fun. As most folks did, we had a reel mower that we had to push. If the grass was heavy and thick, it was work to get it cut.
It was, however, an "environmentally friendly" mower. At the time, we didn't realize this. It didn't take any gasoline, didn't discharge any fumes and was quiet and didn't disturb the neighbors. So it had its advantages.
Sometimes I wonder if the federal government is going to require us to go back to those environmentally friendly machines. They don't contribute to global warming, unless you get hot and sweaty from pushing them.
I enjoy my zero turn mower. Once I learned how to steer it with just the bars, it is fast and easy to get around trees and flower beds. My first time using it, the lawn looked a little ragged until I learned how to do the steering. And I don't want to go back to the old fashioned reel push mowers.
Other rituals of spring are on the list. Flower beds have to cleaned out and replanted. Edging needs to be done. This past winter has caused some damage to shrubs and Betty's roses. Four of them didn't make it, and some other shrubs are not showing life. The hazards of bitter cold winters.
Years ago when growing up, we had other spring experiences. I can remember that as soon as it was warm enough, we wanted to go barefoot, sometimes earlier than Mom thought we should.
First few times without shoes in the spring were always an experience. The bottoms of our feet were tender, and we walked very gingerly over slag and stone driveways and other rough areas. It took a while to toughen up the bottoms of our feet.
Going barefoot was an economical practice. It saved some shoe leather, and Dad didn't have to buy so many new shoes or half-sole the old ones. He did quite a bit of that during our early years.
We always wore long pants during those summer months. Wearing shorts, so popular today, was not something we did. Blue jeans were the summer choice because they would wear well and take a lot of punishment.
Spring also is time to plant flowers. Many beautiful annuals are available today, along with lots of perennials. Reflecting back, we didn't plant a lot of flowers when I was younger. They weren't available like they are today, and we didn't have the money to buy a lot of them.
We would divide some old fashioned annuals and bulbs to make more color and keep them growing.
Yet this spring, I need to divide some old fashioned pan lilies, as we call them, so they will bloom better. The original bulbs that I have come from our home of many years ago in North Bloomfield. I value them, and when divided, we have lots more to plant.
You no doubt have your rituals of spring. Whatever they are, get out and enjoy them. It was a long cold winter, and we deserve some nice warm spring weather. Just don't try to get everything done at once!
Parker is an independent writer for the Tribune.