#SOL16 How Moist Is Moist Enough?
There are currently six hoses snaking across the front and back yards of our house. It is October and I thought the growing season was long gone, but recently my husband had someone reseed the lawn. In the information the lawn guys looped around the doorknob (with the bill) were instructions. “The soil must be kept moist at all times until the seed germinates,” said the stern little directions. My husband said he didn’t plan to water. Why would you have someone seed the lawn if you weren’t going to water, I thought. That’s one of those comments people who have been married a long time no longer bother to say– what would be the point? I said, “Well, it seems like a waste of money to have the seed laid and then not water. I’ll do it.” (See the difference between what I said and what I thought? <insert eye roll here> )
Our yard is an odd shape; not only does one sprinkler not reach the whole thing, it seems no matter how I position sprinklers and hoses, a piece of yard will be either swamped or not wet at all. I use the oscillating sprinkler, the pulsating sprinkler head with the spike I shove into the ground to hold it in place, and a small gadget with swirly arms. I place the oscillating sprinkler, stand for a while and watch to see what’s wet. Strange how mesmerizing the the back and forth of the sprinkler is. Yesterday two deer cleared the deer fencing around my back garden. When I found them nosing through the salad bar, AKA, my big hostas, I yelled and clapped my hands at them. They didn’t run away until I got closer and called them bad names.
I drag the sprinkler and hose to try another position. It doesn’t take very long for the lawn to seem wet. How much is enough? I poke my finger into the soil. It’s a little muddy when I pull it out. Maybe that’s enough? I pull the hose to a new spot. In my perennial garden a few things still bloom: white coneflower, a purple butterfly bush, some gold and orange daisies. It was a good year for zinnias but soon it will be time to pull them out– I haven’t seen bees in the past few days. I jump when water hits my shins– I’ve set the guides but I’ve wedged the sprayer into the lawn facing the wrong way. I giggle a little. Why not? The sky is rich sapphire blue and the sun is shining.
Next, I hoist the hose over my shoulder and pull it from the back yard, around the house, to the front. I’ll set one sprinkler in the corner of the front yard. That piece of the yard curves to follow the road; it takes multiple placements and adjustments to send water in the right directions. Every few minutes I move the swirly gadget to a new spot in the yard– it puts out a lot of water over a small area and the directions said moist, not drowned. A deer moves from my neighbor’s yard across the road. Two smaller deer follow. They nose through some shrubs and chew. I feel a sense of satisfaction– at least the deer are eating someone else’s plants. Stop it, I tell myself. That kind of thinking is proof you’re a bad person. I wipe my muddy hand on the back of my pants. Maybe if I stand in the sun, my pants will dry.
If I move the oscillating sprinkler to cover another piece of lawn parallel to the road, I can plant the big rotating sprayer in front of the front porch and it will take care of much of the yard. I dash to the back of the house to turn on the faucet that will shoot water through the powerful sprayer. But the twirly sprinkler has flooded the side yard and I slip. As I slide around to the front of the house, I realize I’ve set the pulsating sprayer the wrong way again. It’s shooting in a half-circle right toward the porch, where the front door stands open. I pick up the hose and crimp it until the water stops. Muddy water runs down my arm. But I get it sorted out and stand watching the spray of water across the lawn. I may not know how moist is enough, and I’m mud-slicked and wet from my knees down, but it’s a brilliant autumn afternoon with the smell of leaves in the air. Sometimes that’s really all I need to know.