Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

May 2, 2013

FROM THE VALLEY: Things are picking up as we rake it in

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Several weeks ago, my wife and I started working in the back yard. The annual chore of picking up what winter has dismantled is as fun as root canal surgery. With numerous trees on the premises, the litter is always abundant. And nothing is as discouraging as spending a back-breaking day picking up twigs and branches and raking leaves only to have a 40 mile-an-hour gust of wind swing through and undo the whole shebang a day or two later. It’s never easy. (And it’s no fun telling my wife she has to go back outside and re-do it all over again. I’d like to help but we’ve got only one rake. Chill! I’m kidding … we’ve got 2 rakes … I think.)

It usually takes me about five hours to mow the lawn — the first four are spent trying to get the riding-mower started. Considering the fact that it’s a converted ‘57 Studebaker held together with “I Like Ike” bumper-stickers, I should come to expect that. But I can’t figure out why every time I grab the gas can to refuel ‘Ike,’ there’s never any gas left. I don’t know why. Like I said, it’s never easy.

One of the biggest problems are the pine cones — they are not only a pain, but dangerous. I remember my neighbor hitting one while cutting his lawn and it jettisoned right through one of his windows. Not good: my pine cone, his window, my wallet.

My dog, Maggie, loves it when we’re in the yard. She acts like a kid on a sugar-buzz jumping around like it’s all a game. She thinks every stick I pick up is something I’m going to throw so she can go fetch (not that she even remotely has that trick down.) She’s under the impression that I enjoy the work. Wrong.

Just when I thought the lawn was picked-up enough to mow, I noticed a couple more pine cones in the middle of the yard. As I walked over and picked them up, I noticed Maggie out of the corner of my eye. She winced and walked briskly away. I quickly found out why.

“Ew-w-w, Maggie!” It wasn’t 2 pine cones.

“Hey,” Maggie barked, “those twinkies aren’t mine. I knew you’d blame me,” she said sheepishly, “but they’re Eddie’s.”

Eddie is the neighbor’s dog who likes to come over and water the new vinyl-siding we put on the house — not to mention all the flowers and every garden ornament in the yard. Apparently, ‘number one’ is only part of his schtick. I’d be inclined to say that Eddie leaves our yard 10 pounds lighter but, unfortunately for Maggie (and me), he refills his tank by eating her dog food before meandering on home. Our house is like an unload and re-load station in Eddie’s daily routine.

Nonetheless, I got the lawn half-mowed when — as usual — I ran out of gas. My wife came outside as I walked over to get the 5-gallon tank to refill it. “You didn’t get a new gas can yet?” she asked.

“What are you talking about?”

“Don’t you remember?” she continued. “Last year you hit a pine cone and put a hole in the bottom of that one. It leaks.”

“Not as much as Eddie does, I’ll bet.”

It’s never easy.

And that’s the way it looks from the Valley.

Tom Valley is a Medina resident. His column appears every Thursday. Contact him at tvalley@rochester.rr.com.