Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Sodding Off

So I was going to post last Friday about dealing with The Kids Next Door. Or The Kids Around The Corner down The Street. But I had a problem with my internet connection in the morning (minor bit of winXP weirdness, not worth the effort to explain), and the rest of the day I spent sodding my back yard.

Yes, laying sod. Why? Glad you asked.

In this part of Texas most lawns are composed of a grass called St. Augustine. It’s a reasonably durable grass, and has the added feature of propagating via runners instead of seeds. In theory, a single 12" square chunk of the stuff could eventually spread to your entire yard. Most folks don't want to wait that long, and so new houses have their yard completely covered with these squares of grass, cut up from a grass farm with about an inch or two of dirt holding them together.

I said this stuff was durable but you have to give it an inch of watering a week, more during late July and August, to really make a strong root system. I didn't really water it enough to do that, but it survived just fine. No big deal, except…this stuff goes pretty dormant during the winter. And, we've never had three dogs. Including two very young and active dogs. Who like to romp and play and tear around the yard.

You see where this is going right? A vast strip of yard, about 1300 square feet, was worn down to bare earth. Any kind of rain turned that strip into a sea of mud (it didn't drain well anyway, creating a swampy area that didn't help it hold onto grass back when there was still grass). And in about 1.5 weeks, we'll be having Jake's seventh birthday party. Here.

February weather is extremely unpredictable. It could be 70 degrees and sunny one week and 30 degrees with an ice storm the next (that actually happened last year). We could make do with a swamp, but not a mud pit.

Fortunately, numerous outfits around here will sell you little (in our case, 16" x 24") chunks of grass, and even deliver them, for a reasonable fee. They dropped the stuff off bright and early Friday morning. After lunch, I headed out and proceeded to spend about 5 1/2 hours (with a working break of about an hour -- I wasn't humping grass, but neither was I sitting still) covering the dirt patch that was our back yard with about a zillion (well, somewhere between 450 and 500) patches of grass.

I finished up in pretty much complete darkness, knowing that, as the final pile of grass to be plopped down grew shorter and shorter, if I stopped for so much as a cookie, I might never get going again. I was, as they say, wiped. At Trish's suggestion, after dinner I sat in a hot bath for 30 minutes, sipped on a strong margarita, and ate ibuprofen like it was candy.

I honestly don't know why I wasn't a mass of throbbing, aching, unable to move muscles for the next two days. The bath? The ibuprofen? The margarita? Beats me. But I'm not complaining.


Mike Thomas said...

We have Bermuda grass on our lawn and it goes dormant as well during the winter so I always throw out winter rye seeds around Thanksgiving. That gives me a relatively green lawn year round (the rye dies off in the spring just as the Bermuda is coming back). The one drawback is that I also have to mow during the winter months, though not as often.
I don't know if this would help with your dog problem. Probably not.

Jammer said...

Yeah, we realized about two months too late we should have at least tried the ryegrass thing. We will next winter, for sure.