Spring has finally sprung, which means I need to begin yard work.
Unfortunately, I still have yard work projects from last year that never got started, which may be a good thing considering half my completed projects resulted in dead plants, destroyed grass and the like. I don’t know why, but a half-gallon of Roundup will not kill a wild hedge bush, but three droplets will kill two acres of centipede grass and most of a small magnolia tree.
I’ve got dandelions in my yard older than most people’s oak trees and a few ant beds dating back to the Eisenhower administration. I’m emotionally attached to a small stand of privet hedge.
I thought this year I’d start small by simply mowing the grass, nothing else. I also used unusual judgment and decided to actually pick up all sticks and debris before mowing. Usually I just let my mower serve as a giant mulching machine, figuring anything under 4 inches in diameter can be handled.
This reasoning explains why I buy a new mower about every other year and why my yard looks like a small wood yard.
While picking up sticks, I smiled watching Fathead, my 100-pound mostly Rottweiler mix, who, like wrestling’s Masked Assassin, is from parts unknown, as the dog chewed on his favorite baseball.
I know it is his favorite baseball because he has been chewing on it in the yard now for about two months. I have a baseball pitching machine and assume he found the ball and adopted it as his newest toy, which is good considering the neighbor’s cat was his favorite toy before he found the ball … and let’s just say we don’t know what happened to the cat.
He must have run away, ‘cause cats will do that sometimes, you know.
As I picked up more sticks, I found another ball torn to shreds, so I guess Fathead had a couple of balls to play with. Soon it was like an Easter egg hunt. One ball, then another, and then another. Twenty-eight in all. Fathead, so peaceful chewing on his tired old ball every morning as I left for work, was actually Fathead going back to the garage and getting another ball out of the ball bucket each morning until he destroyed them all. My 9-year-old boy’s baseball future now down the drain, all at the expense of Fathead eating a new ball each morning.
I should have known. He’s eaten every Federal Express package ever left at the house. He’s stolen steak from the grill and beer from the pool (that almost resulted in his euthanasia) He chewed the rockers off my rocking chair and ate the pool floats to boot.
I should get rid of him, except he also will chew the rear-end off anyone who shows up uninvited, including politicians, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, and somebody else’s Baptist preacher. All in all, what’s a few dozen baseballs for a built-in alarm system?
I’m off to buy some more balls. Until then, better keep the cat in the house.
Email columnist T. Gamble at firstname.lastname@example.org.