Monday, May 12, 2008

Manicured Lawns and John Wesley

Preface: We live in an area that by Alexandria standards is pretty hilly, well it's in fact one be slope down to the lake. It's also an area that at one point in time was a demolition landfill and sand quarrey.

With that frame of reference here's my little tale of woe and a bigger question to ponder. Several years ago we had a series of large rains that over the course of two days dumped nearly 16 inches of rain in the area; most of which found itself into a large egress window we have in our basement. As it filled and eventually broke the glass, it send a good amount of that rain pouring through our basement and out our garage; a mini river if you will, complete with a waterfall. Subsequently, we remodeled the basement and re-landscaped the yard to make sure the water from lots "upstream" flow away from the house. During the process of landscaping we've created some other steep hills that despite four years and countless bags of grass seed and mulch and landscape fabric have failed to grow grass. It's frustrating. But mostly because of the pressure to have a green, manicured lawn. I'd prefer to let things just grow and see what comes up. But that's not acceptable in town. This all leads me to the bigger question and point to ponder.

In the past I've been a trustee at Alex UMC. Last year, the last year I was a trustee, we took bids for lawn care that ranged in price from $3,200 to $5,500. All that was for was to cut the grass. Period. I'm certain that this summer's bill is going to be substantially more as lawn care services try to recoup their gas expenditures. Granted, we have a large parcel of land and I'm not denying that the services shouldn't be fairly compensated. But are there alternatives? Not mowing isn't an option because the neighbors are fearful that one of their children will get lost in the forest that is inevitably going to spring up for the lack of maintenance. Planting the area in native grasses is one alternative - they do need to be mowed once a year or so - but the initial outlay can be expensive and I'm sure some people would be upset with a prairie in town. I'm also fairly sure that other churches are in similar situations - as are schools, companies with large lawns, etc.

John Wesley bemoaned the fact that grain was made into alcohol while people starved in the streets. He also argued that the money people spent on alcohol was better spent serving the poor. I wonder what Wesley would think about $6000 for mowing the grass?


1 comment:

Phemia said...

Interesting to know.