Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Columns

April 10, 2014

VALLEY: How about the penguin as the state bird?

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — With the weather finally showing signs of improving, I’m going to grudgingly drop my claim of global chilling. Maybe we aren’t headed for another Ice Age. Too bad, I was so happy with my role as an environmental alarmist. And so certain of the eventual rise of the icicle that I petitioned the governor to make the snow shovel the state symbol. 

Continuing on: After this past winter, any time or day the thermometer gets north of the 32 degree mark, it feels like a heat wave. And when it does, like the other day, I try to get outside and do some yard work.

It’s no secret that when spring comes around, there’s a “clean up the lawn” chore on the docket. Like most yards, ours contains four types of litter: branches, pine cones, dead leaves and …. well, let’s put it this way: we have a dog.

I never get used to the enormity of the challenge. My first thought as I audit Mother Nature’s redistribution is: I didn’t think we had that many trees to cause such a mess. And, second: I didn’t think I could possibly have bought that much dog food to cause such a mess.

Opening the tool shed this year was both uplifting and depressing. It yelled “warmer weather is on the way” and smirked “we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, bubba!” In one quick swoop I felt enthusiastically bleak.

Because we seldom, if ever, throw away old gardening tools, we have about 4 1/2 rakes. Combined, they have fewer teeth than an 80 year-old hillbilly. I might as well rake leaves with a rope for all the good they do. I stash them (the rakes) away in the fall with an out-of-sight, out-of-mind philosophy in hopes that the problem will fix itself. And, of course … it doesn’t happen. Never does. (Maybe next year.)

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