Mike and I have spent the last several days attempting to deal with The Situation With Our Lawn. The situation can essentially be boiled down to the fact that our subdivision is prone to infestations of European crane flies, bugs that basically look like giant mosquitoes and spend most of the fall making baby versions of themselves in the form of larvae who burrow into the lawn and nourish themselves by nibbling on the grass roots. This, combined with the ban on pesticides, has made it increasingly difficult to maintain a lawn that looks like anything other than a sanctuary for wayward dandelions.
Now, I very much agree in principle with the ban on these chemicals, insofar as I am very much against the sorts of cancers that these things cause, but in practice I struggle with looking around and seeing beautiful, lush lawns interspersed with the ugly ones like ours, because I can’t help but wonder HOW people can have such NICE LAWNS when there is no spraying allowed. They must not be Following the Rules, and it causes me to have fantasies of turning them over to the authorities in the dark of night, in spite of the fact that it would be a surefire way to get our house egged and besides, I have no idea who these authorities would be and how one would go about reporting one’s neighbours, nor do I have any proof aside from the fact that we have a zillion dandelions and they don’t even have a single one, which I will admit is circumstantial but seems fairly damning nonetheless.
One of the challenges with our lawn is that we are hosting what has turned out to be a particularly resilient bunch of ants. We first noticed their sandy abode two summers ago, and decided to leave it alone, because we’re live and let live sorts of people, unless you’re a centipede. It was bigger last year, but we still opted to leave it alone. It is now big enough that it is likely visible from space, so I consulted the internet and was assured that pouring boiling water on the anthill is the most humane, environmentally friendly way to kill a bunch of ants. I spent most of last weekend boiling water and pouring it onto the anthill, and nothing seemed to happen, except the top of the anthill got a bit muddy and the grass around it got a bit dead. Mike spent a while this weekend digging it out, and we applied more boiling water, and eventually we were convinced enough that the ants were gone that we put some of that strangely turquoise-coloured lawn patching stuff on top and considered ourselves victorious.
HOWEVER. I just went out to put the sprinkler on, and thought to myself, how did the little blobs of dirt get on top of our lovely patches, isn’t that odd, it must have been tracked there by a bird or something. I came a little closer to investigate, and discovered that the little blobs of dirt were not in fact little blobs of dirt, but little piles of sand with little groups of ants scurrying industriously around them. I sent Mike an email that said “The ants are rebuilding!” and it occurred to me that this is another thing that kind of sounds like part of a movie plot, either the end of a heartfelt drama about a coal mining town in the late 19th century, or the halfway point of a movie I would probably watch with my fingers over my eyes, shrieking at Mike to tell me when I can look again.