Sunday, July 12, 2009

Delicious Sunny Lunch (with a side of rant)!

Friday was one of the first days that we had sun here in Halifax!! We have been almost an entire month of rain, cloudy skies and fog. I really like the cool weather, my fish tanks and most of our gardens especially appreciated it, but our petunias did not.

So to celebrate Friday's Sun, I made myself a delicious lunch to enjoy on our patio. Here is what I made.Can you see the cherries in the salad?? It was delicious!!So if you are wondering what is all in my lunch... The lettuce is this beautiful purple romaine that I got in my organic food box this week. I just added some cherries (quartered), pecans and unripened goat cheese. For the dressing I sprinkled on a little salt, drizzled some olive oil and Fig Balsamic vinaigrette (President's Choice). Simple and delicious. The wine was Banrock Station Unwooded Chardonnay.

Up until this point everything was perfect! I had just found out that some repairs to my car would only cost $200 rather than the $2000 the dealership originally estimated (always get a second opinion!) so I was ready to bask in the long awaited sunshine when the neighbour started up his lawnmower!!!!!!
So here comes the rant! I just have to say lawnmowers are the bane of my existence. This is the BIGGEST reason I do not like living in a city. At any point during the day, every day of the week you can hear the wh+ine of a lawnmower or weed whacker and there is always a chorus when we are about to sit down to eat. I wrote my Maters thesis at home 4 summers ago and even during the day there was always the sound of lawnmowers...I think people secretly came home on their breaks to mow their lawns!!!

I often think we should have a lawnmowing bylaw, where people have allotted times during the week where they can cut their grass so that MOST of the time you are FREE of having to listen to these sounds. Everyone complains about the parties the students in the neighbourhood have BUT they have them like once every couple of weeks, nothing compared to the drone of the lawn tools!!!

I think the by-law is a good idea but really, why do we even have to have lawns??? Many people in the neighbourhood have turned their front and backyards into low maintenance perennial gardens. They flower, look beautiful and there is no need to have a gas powered noise maker to trim it back. Plus is adds diversity to the landscape, which is WAY more interesting to look at. It provides pollen for the bees and homes and food for a variety of animals and insects. It really is just WONDERDUL!!
Alternatively, let the grass grow!
This is what we are doing while we are slowly converting out minuscule lawns into perennial gardens. The grass is filled with clover and other native flowers and ground covers that are great food and habitat for so many organisms and are massacred when you keep it so short. Plus, Kentucky blue grass (the typical lawn species) needs so much water and fertilizer, which wastes so much water and pollutes our coastal ecosystems with excess nutrients from the fertilizers leading to all kind of problems. For example, algal blooms that lead to decreased oxygen in the water that can kill fish and really make the water stink like rotten eggs!!! This can lead to things like the "dead zone" at the mouth of the Mississipi river.
The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone: blue is oxygen rich and red is oxygen starved.
This area is so starved of oxygen that NOTHING can live there. Granted this dead zone if from intensive large scale agriculture BUT any fertilizer contributes to the problem (think about the number of lawns out there!!!). Check out this link to NASA and this other link for more information about the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone and dead zones in general. The impacts of nutrients in coastal ecosystems is what I study and we are dumping so many nutrients that we are changing the food webs and jeopardizing the ability of these ecosystems to store carbon (bad for climate change), cycle nutrients and provide habitat for organisms of commercial and non-commercial value. This is all VERY bad news for US, not just THEM.

So I say down with lawns (and lawnmowers, associated greenhouse gases and impacts of fertilizers...I haven't even mentioned pesticides...but I won't go there today)!!!

As I sit here and reflect on my post I realize this might offend those who love their lawns and I am sorry for that, I hope you will forgive me! I would love to hear about your thoughts on lawns, what they mean to you and why you love, hate or are indifferent about them.


  1. I AGREE!!! DOWN WITH LAWNS!!! GRRRR. for real.

    After living in Vernon, a semi-arid, desert region, with all the lawns that needed sprinklers 24-7; what a WASTE of water. Whenever I complained of the heat, or the lack of natural green on the hills I got a whole lot of: "Lisa, you ARE in a desert area you know!". Well maybe people should act like it- all the lawns throughout are green green green grass- using SO MUCH WATER. seriously, everyone had sprinklers.

    Now whenever I see lawns i think- what a waste of space. What do lawns do?? pollute and waste water.

    Natural landscaping, sustainable flora and plants are so much more beautiful. Rocks and "ditch flowers" (tiger lilies) are so gorgeous, why ruin it with grass?


    (ps- Brunch was FAB! Hope the dinner-bbq goes well tonight!)

  2. I am so with you on this! Lawns are one of my personal pet peeves, for all the reasons you've outlined here (although I wasn't aware of the dead zones before. That's kind of scary!).

    Here in TO, though, I see something else that irks me even more - people often pave their lawns to create more parking space, which is wrong for so many reasons (do we really need more cars on the road?). At least lawns are permeable and don't create run-off. Which makes them the lesser of two evils, but still evil :)

  3. I hear what you are saying Alli. Some people fuss soooooooo much on their lawns. Soaking them with chemicals and pesticides just to get rid of a few dandelions.

    Your salad looks delicious. I'll have to try one with cherries. I've used cranberries or blueberries before and those are nice too.

  4. The sound drives me crazy, too. We have a reel mower, which is much less noisy than gas ones. The perennial lawn pictured is gorgeous! The ones thing I like about a bit of lawn is having flower-free space for Phillip to run around and play on. But it seems that our veggie beds are getting a bit larger each year... :)