The cursed grass

Friday, before Saturday’s grass cutting by Abel the Deadpan Yardman.

IF IT’S NOT raining, I might sit around noon on a web chair by the glass-top table, shaded by the big, brown umbrella, feet atop another chair, for no better reason than pleasure.

I did that on Friday past.

I usually bring my Kindle and camera too in case a hummingbird sits a spell atop a nearby bloom. I’ve been hunting a shot, but when the hummers spot the camera, they zip away. When I don’t have the camera, they’ll come stare in my face.

The top shot was taken Friday when the yard needed a mow. The bottom two shots were taken yesterday after a mow.

I’ve had people ask me, “What’s up with the lawn? It doesn’t look like Mexico.” Well, the grass was mostly here when we bought the double lot. There’s wasn’t much else, but there was plenty of grass, an endless, freaking headache.

I’ve been telling myself for years that I’m uprooting all of it, or most of it, and laying down concrete and rock, but I never do it. Two reasons: the cost and the (temporary) mess.

But I feel steel in my spine. I’m more determined. Alas, the rainy season started last month, so the work cannot begin till November at the earliest, giving me months to change my mind.

But I’m not going to change my mind!

I’ve even worked out a plan. Do it gradually.

When the rains end, we’ll do most of the section in the photo at the very bottom, empedrado* only up to the Jesus Patio. Beyond the Jesus Patio — that’s the Jesus Patio where you see chairs and a table — a larger and far more elegant patio will be dreamed up to eliminate all of the grass in that area. Next year.

The yard is too large to be included in one photo. From the upstairs terraza, I can see more of it but not all, even from up there. It’s absurdly big. There is no backyard because the house is built against a corner of the double lot.

If I had been smarter, I would have built our house on half the space, facing the main drag, and another, a rental, facing the back street. There are two entries. But I was not smart.

I was a dumb Gringo in over his head.

But at least, gradually, I am now determined to resolve this grass curse.** Pray the steel stays in my spine till November.

I want to sit on the (much enlarged) Jesus Patio, which will need a new name, and gaze upon stone and cement, less grass.

Like the Reverend King: I have a dream.

This large semicircle is the only grass I want to keep. About a third of it all.
This is the first grass that will go. It continues way off to the left.

* A surface of concrete and stone, very common in Mexico. The sidewalk is empedrado.

** A curse due to its lunatic growth during the five-month rainy season. You can never turn your back. You surely cannot travel anywhere more than a week.

(Note: Another grass section is to the right of the middle photo. It’s sizable but the smallest of the three sections. It’s where sit the monster bougainvillea and the towering nopal tree. It will be filled with stone and cement too, but not this year. The bougainvillea and nopal will stay in place.

18 thoughts on “The cursed grass

  1. Felipe,

    Why would you want to get rid of that beautiful green oasis? I understand the labor part. I have an acre of the green stuff here NOB to keep cut every week. However, you live in Mexico! Hire a gardener!

    Just got back from 10 days in Ajijic. Thoroughly enjoyed exploring the area. Despite its reputation for being ‘gringolandia’ I did not find it to be that bad. I constantly found occasion to be humbled by my inability to speak Spanish. However, I am now fluent in the basics, ‘hola’, buenas dias’, and ‘buenas tardes’ (ha ha). In nearby Jocotepec we were the only gringos to be seen.

    Still want to get out your way and see Patzcuaro and Morelia.

    Best Regards,


    1. Troy: The lawn is simply too big for something that grows maniacally in the summer. We do have a guy who cuts the grass, something I did for years then gave up on. I think more than anything, it just traps us here for almost half the year. I just don’t like the idea. We don’t travel all that much, but I’d like to have the option. During the rainy season, leaving for more than seven days is out of the question. And no, I’m not giving the gate key to the gardener. I do not have that much faith in the locals, any of them.

      Oh, Ajijic is Gringolandia, big-time, perhaps a little less so than San Miguel, and a different class of Gringos seem to be drawn there, more meat-and-potatoes types than the la-dee-dah folks of San Miguel. And yes, not speaking Spanish in Mexico is a drawback, but it’s less a drawback in Ajijic and SMA than it would be where I live.


  2. There are so many more things I want to change in my life than grass. I love my grass and laja yard. Only mow it once every two weeks and yes, it gets rather tall towards the end of that second week. And I keep it green all year round. One of the things that I appreciate about my grass is when someone finally ventures out my way and walks in the gate is their expression of shock and awe. Then “It’s a Sanctuary” after the journey on dirt dusty or muddy roads. My five dogs love it also and so all the birds that nest in the trees and on my balcony. My yard is not large it is just right…enjoy your gravel, stone and cement…


  3. We are going to follow your lead. We are eliminating our smallish (20’x30′) grass area when the rainy season is over. Our gardener will not be happy.


    1. Patzman: Wise move. Plants and flowers are nice. Grass is way overrated. As for your gardener, keep him on. The patio will always need sweeping. I’ll be keeping our guy, Abel the Deadpan Yardman, and I’ll pay him the same too since it ain’t that much money to begin with.


  4. That grass has been bugging you for so long, I thought you’d gotten rid of it by now. It’s so beautiful and it’s probably cooler than concrete would be, but you’re always saying it doesn’t get hot there, so I guess that’s not an issue. My yard is only a few feet of “grass” and I have a laissez faire attitude toward it, same reason all my plants are diehard succulents.


    1. Bliss! Nice to know you’re still hiding out there in internet-land. I’ve talked about getting rid of the grass for a long time — still talking about it, it seems — but, by gum!, this is the year. To get started at least.

      Yes, it is lovely. I do not deny that and, yes, it’s cool here pretty much all the time, so we don’t need grass to do that in the slightest, thank God. How you folks live on the coast is beyond me.


  5. My yard is the bane of my existence. I have 40 palm trees of several varieties, with some so tall that I just let them trim themselves. We have lots of wind here. The guys we bought the house from 25 years ago were amateur horticulturists and liked to smuggle in plants from the tropics to see if they would grow here. Lots of them are still growing, but the real problem is the grass. My property is a city sized lot and 3/4 and every year I beg for a drought so I can get some relief from mowing. Yes, I have hired guys to mow it occasionally, but they never come back. It’s tough on lawn mowers, what with all the shrubs, low hanging trees, fences, etc. I sympathize with your wanting to cover your lovely green grass with stone and concrete. I fantasize about that all the time.


    1. Señor Bowman: At your age — a tad more than mine — I recommend this: Let it go natural, and just trim around your house a bit. I think that is what I would do. Of course, living in the United States, you very well might face legal action were you to do so, one of the many drawbacks to life up there.


      1. Yes, code enforcement and neighbor shaming are good reasons to keep the place looking good. I do okay until the Gulf Coast heat index gets over 100. Then I sort of let it go.


        1. Señor Bowman: There is little coding here, and as for neighbor shaming, Mexicans tend to mind their own business and expect others to follow suit. And we do.


  6. Looks pretty nice to me. Why get rid of it when you can afford to pay someone to keep it trimmed?

    I have over 10 acres of green now. I consider it pasture, but the Redhead considers it lawn. My definition requires mowing twice a year; her’s every two weeks.

    I’d say you have it pretty easy.


    1. Ray: It looks spectacular. And it keeps me tied to the place five months of the year. Stone and cement will look spectacular too. Just you wait and see.


  7. Pay attention to drainage if you add much concrete. Elevate one side and put the drain on the lower side to avoid flooding + endless sweeping after heavy storms.


    1. Andrés: How right you are, and I’ve already thought of that. The good thing is that the property already has an incline, and it’s in the right direction.


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