Winter cut & sweep


I’VE ALWAYS loved stone, and now I live with it. Loved mountains too, and now I live among them. Don’t forget cool weather, and here I am in eternal cool. It’s a perfect world.*

Normally, the yard doesn’t need a cut in January. Usually, we stop in November, or rather Abel the Deadpan Yardman loses his summer gig in November. I quit mowing years ago.

But we’ve had the occasional unseasonable rain of late, and the lawn gobbled it up, deciding it was summer, and grew a bit, mostly around edges. The lawnmower wouldn’t crank, so I turned to the weed eater.

(Aside:  I saw someone with a grass blower the other day, and it was strange. Though Mexicans are always noisily blowing everything above the Rio Bravo — or did when I  lived there — a blower here is rarely seen.)

Out to the yard I went. The sidewalk is stone, and so is the Alamo Wall. The mountains soared in the near distance, and the sun was shining sweetly through the 70-degree air. I sighed. It was Heaven, honey.

But there was work to do, so I started the edging. The weed eater is electric, so no physical effort is required. Since most of the high grass was around edges, it didn’t take long. Down the sidewalk, around the property wall, under the bougainvilleas and fan palm and other stuff. Then a good sweep with an old broom.

The first winter cut and, with good fortune, the last.

A month ago, I posted First fire, last rose in which I imagined the sole rose out in yard was the last of the season. Boy, was I mistaken. After a couple of near freezes in December, the climate has returned to November’s style, and it’s wonderful. We have a number of new roses and golden datura.

And more fires have been ignited, the last being on Thursday, dead leaves from the loquat and pear trees. Fires provide the aroma of Autumn, and that’s real nice.

* * * *

Once a year I climb the circular stairs to the roof to sweep. But that only puts me atop the second story, which covers most of the house. The kitchen area is just one story, so that requires hauling a ladder to the service patio out back to ascend to that part, which is the part that most needs a sweep.

roofThis is the kitchen roof, swept pretty clean, that you see in the foreground. The tile roof farther on, left side, is the roof of the Garden Patio. Roofs of red clay tile don’t get swept. After some decades, it’s a good idea to remove them for a good shake and brushing, however. God knows what you might find. Bats probably.

* * * *

* Most of my life was spent in South Georgia, North Florida, South Louisiana and East Texas, places notable for lack of stones and mountains and an excess of sweltering heat. I’ve done a 180. Praise be, brother!

6 thoughts on “Winter cut & sweep

  1. Leaf blowers as well as weed eaters are rarely if ever seen in poorer lands south of you, such as Honduras. Machetes and men did the job just fine. I am living in piney woods north of New Orleans. The trees near and on my lot are going to keep the mowing down a bit I think. My old house in NOLA was covered mostly by shade of large oak trees. Katrina thinned it back, so I hired an immigrant from LaCeiba, Honduras, to cut it when I was not around. I might buy a machete. I am afraid of weed eaters.


    1. Laurie: While leaf blowers are rare here, weedeaters are all over the place. Cannot imagine why you’re afraid of them. About the most peril involved is stinging your foot if you happen to touch your foot, and you are barefoot, and you ought not to be barefoot in the first place.

      It’s machetes that scare me, and I have one. It spends most of its life on a top shelf in the closet. My wife used it the other day to scalp a calabaza. Another thing that scares me, even more than machetes, are chainsaws. I steer as far away from chainsaws as possible. I used to have a little electric one, but I gave it away, and I feel much better now.


  2. It seems only last year you were still mowing your lawn and swearing you were going to put an end to it. But there’s always something, no? Glad you’ve found your element in the cool, stony mountains.


    1. Bliss: I don’t think I’ve mowed the yard since 2011. It was a gradual pullout. For years I did it solo. Then my wife and I shared it, 50-50. Then we quit altogether. I would like Abel to do the weedeating too, but the last time I let a local do that chore he pounded the machine into pulp. The locals tend not to take much care with things that are not theirs, which is why you shouldn’t loan one your car. But I digress.


    1. Carole: There you go again, sending me to Google. Hardscaping? Looks like a fancy-dancy, modish way to say paving.

      We Mexicans have something called empedrado, which is stone and cement paving. It’s real common. I have a good stretch of it here at the Hacienda, there between the Alamo Wall and the front property wall. I wish the entire yard was empedrado and maybe one day it will be. The Goddess willing.


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