'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Let the Lawn Go

Ok. It's just a thing I have.  'The lawns should be mowed'.
Then I read somewhere recently that 5% of greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to mowing.
(Probably includes mowing of wheat etc., but for the sake of argument, let's pretend it's just home lawns.)
That made me think, how crazy is that?

Imagine this in the future:
My Grandie: 'So Nanna, you used to have a machine in the garage that was just for mowing the grass?'
Me: 'Yes Dear, everyone had one, pretty much.  Or hired someone with one to do it.'
Grandie: 'But why?'
Me: 'We thought that's what you should do, you know, to keep your garden tidy, because people might look over the fence and say "That person doesn't care about their house much!"'
Grandie: 'So, you kept your garden tidy, but didn't take care of the world environment!? Why didn't you grow vegetables there, or at least plant wild flowers for the bees? Didn't you realise you are the world?'
Me: '(lamely) 'people just didn't think you should let your lawn get long'.
Grandie: 'And on top of that, you burnt fossil fuels to keep it short?  What an illogical thing to do, and not very environmentally clever either!'

Pic nicked from the Guardian.


  1. I suspect that that figure is wildly inaccurate as a reference to mowing domestic lawns but I suppose that doesn't detract from the principle. The crofts in the townships adjacent to me have had few sheep on them since the bottom dropped out of the market (and people became too lazy in this modern age). Hence many have grown wild and useless. Now if they had sheep and cattle on them they would be useful but would contribute lots to greenhouse gas emissions. So lets assume we become vegetarians. We could cut down on the emissions from the animals but would increase the fossil fuel emissions. Whither the real solutions?

    1. GB, I think methane ommisions are not as significant a contributor to global climate change as CO2...
      And nutritionally we probably should eat less meat (in the Western world) ... so even long grass is better than mowing, I'm coming around to thinking...

  2. Mid Feb' and I've already mowed two lawns. I don't remember ever having mowed so early before!

  3. When I was at Teachers Training College in Christchurch our Art Lecturer John Coley took us to visit a number of working artists houses. One of them was Bill Sutton who lived in inner city Christchurch. Two things I remember. 1 - His fantastic art studio that seemed to take up half of his house and his Lawn, or to be more precise his Lack of a lawn - Instead he had little pathways amongst golden tussock that he had obtained from walks on Banks Peninsula. For the time (very early 1970s) this was a very radical approach to an inner city garden. I loved it.

    1. Yes! He had a lovely, very interesting garden! He, my Godfather Peter Liley, and my Uncle Ted Bracey, were very close friends. A lovely, lovely man.
      Out of interest, his garden featured in the Reader's Digest Gardening book.

  4. Yes, there are photographs on pages 8, 32, 33 and 82 of the Reader's Digest 'Practical guide to home landscaping'. I have got the 1977 second edition. I see that the first edition was published in 1973. I was at Teachers College 1971 - 73 so if the photos in the second edition are the same as the first then these tussocks and other plants were the very ones that I looked at over 42 (gulp!) years ago.

    I remember from the visit to his studio a very large canvas which I later recognised as one of his Canterbury Plains series - large rectangular canvas's with lots of horizontal landscape features shot through with that high summer Canterbury tussock brown colour - must do a Google search and see if I can find one.

  5. I looked at your post about Bill Sutton - he sounds a bit like my grandad on my mums side - he talked to his grand kids one to one / person to person / as individuals and children are aware and do remember these relationships.

    I now remember a blog post of mine back in March 2010. You can see it at http://yachtee.blogspot.co.nz/search?q=bill+sutton

    The post is about a famous painting by William Sutton. It is a painting much loved by Cantabrians called 'Norwester in the Cementary' Loved because it wonderfully captures the essence of those famous hot furious nor west winds. This painting was huge in the Christchurch Art Gallery during the time I was at college - and as someone taking 'Art' as a major subject I got to know the work well. It resides now in the Auckland City Gallery - it seems it was on loan at the time I saw it.

    And as I have been typing this I realise my own grandads surname is Sutton - Bertrand Sutton - So that's a coincidence.

  6. "This painting was huge...." .... I meant ..... this painting was HUNG or is that HANGING - God, so much grammar, so little time.

  7. Alden, the Nor'wester in a Cemetary, I know it well. It is probably as well known at Rita Angus's 'Cass'.
    Many people are also fond of Sutton's 'Dry September' of the Bruce Creek bridge.

  8. Mowing the lawn is like meditation to me. Put my mind on zero or standby and thoughts come and go without any meaning it seems. Can’t do without it. Will plant some extra trees to compensate for the CO2.

    1. Pulling weeds is meditation to me. Perhaps that's why I cultivate so many ha ha.
      Tree planting is a good idea.


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