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Township Roads: It's Eleanor's Fault, Part II


Fri, Jun 13th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

I seem to recall mentioning how Eleanor Roosevelt set the standard for lawn care when she chased the sheep off the White House lawn, thereby turning a nice pasture into a no-manís land of neatly trimmed grass. This was the beginning of the end for guys like me who try to get it right, but often find it difficult to get things to work together.

My trouble begins and ends with machinery. When I fertilized my lawn a few weeks ago, I bought a little wheel-driven fertilizer spreader. The spreader is designed to spread fertilizer granules ahead of me on the lawn as I push it. The spreader was simple enough to put together. There was an easy step-by-step guide to calibrating the spreader. I followed the directions and set the spreader to apply half the rate of fertilizer recommended. I filled the hopper and away I went.

The bag of fertilizer in the hopper was supposed to cover 5000 square feet of lawn. I figure it covered about 1200 square feet. In human terms, I figured I had force-fed my lawn the equivalent of four Thanksgiving dinners at one sitting. It was lucky for me that the grass was able to handle the overload. It didnít die or even get fat. It seemed to enjoy the gluttony.

The riding lawnmower repair that I whined about earlier ended up costing even more than I had at first estimated. Two hundred dollars didnít quite cover it. I did my best to find a junker so that I could scavenge parts from it. They didnít have anything like that in Riceville so they sent me to Cresco. Cresco didnít have anything like that, so they sent me to Harmony. Harmony didnít have anything like that, so they sent me to Spring Valley. Spring Valley didnít have anything like that, so I went home and ordered my parts by phone from Riceville anyway.

It seems that my lawnmower is perhaps the sole survivor of its species, like the last dinosaur. They tell me that there werenít many of this model sold and even fewer that lived for more than a few years. My mower has survived for six years either because of the fine care I have given it, which is unlikely, or because I was lucky enough to get the best one they ever made.

We ended up borrowing a lawnmower so we could get ready for the graduation celebration for our son, Matt. Our neighbor, Steve, the one who lends me machinery that I sometimes wreck, volunteered his mower for the task. On Saturday morning, I had to run an errand .....
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The Commute: Nancy Drew: girl detective

Fri, Jun 13th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

It was 1970 and I was in third grade when I met Nancy Drew. I suppose it was our designated Ďlibrary hourí and I was searching the shelves in our small, Catholic school libraryóa room the size of a walk-in closet. I spotted two nearly identical yello ..... 
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Prairie Notes: Reaching the end

Fri, Jun 6th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

By now, the last textbooks have been turned in, the lockers emptied of all but the bit of tape that held this yearís photos, and band members have rid themselves of the last vestiges of "Pomp and Circumstance" that played on and on in their brains af ..... 
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Of People, Places & Things: Bandit country

Fri, Jun 6th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

ďJesus, Liu, what do you have that for?Ē I asked in English.   My astonishment was quickly translated into Chinese for Liu, who just a few seconds before had pulled a sock out of his pocket. Inside the sock was a handgun.[Read the Rest]

Notes from a country kitchen

Fri, Jun 6th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

I was gone again, thereís so much going on. My sister-in-law, Carol, took me along to Rochester Saturday afternoon as her granddaughter was in a dance group at the Mayo Civic Center. I had never been there before, what a lovely place. It lasted from ..... 
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Notes from a country kitchen

Fri, May 30th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Today as I write my column it is May 24. I always write a week ahead, then send it through the mail so you can read it on Monday. Today, May 24, is special as it was my parents wedding day and they were married in 1917. My mother always said it was a ..... 
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Another One From Flaherty: Sam moves in and there goes the neighborhood

Fri, May 30th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was a time of light, it was a time of darkness when Sam entered upon the scene. He was a young dog less than a year old when he came from nowhere to make his home with us. When I took him to the ..... 
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Township Roads: It's Eleanor's Fault

Fri, May 30th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Sheep grazed the lawn of the White House until well into the FDR administration. I suspect it was Eleanor who decided that it was time to get rid of the livestock. That set a bad precedent for lawns and the mowing that inevitably followed. If sheep s ..... 
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