Death to the Lawn!

Header image: by Anton Croos via Wikimedia Commons

In response to a years-long drought and a diminished snow pack in the Sierra Nevada, California’s governor has put water restrictions in place that most likely mean death to the lawn in affluent communities.

This is necessary and overdue, and I say that with all the smugness that comes from living in a water-rich state and a suburb that is lousy with the type of lawn California must now ruthlessly murder, en masse.

Of course some homeowners will resist, because yard pride is unquenchable and some people are incapable of saying goodbye to the green lushness of a grassy expanse, even though they live in a desert. But even if they succeed in circumventing the new rules, their crimes will quickly become obvious by the strange emerald glow around their property.

Resentful neighbors will tattle, and social media will shame, which means a new class of western outlaw is about to emerge – lawn criminals.

A homeowner named Billy Joe felt partial to his yard.
A dry spell meant maintaining would soon become too hard.
He got his hoses from the shed and took his nozzles down.
His mother cried as he walked out …
Just let the lawn go brown, son
Leave the water off Bill
Just let the lawn go brown.
He laughed and kissed his mom with lips as dry as desert sand.
Our yard is parched. I am aware that watering is banned.
But I dearly love the sight of grass that’s green and lush and grown.
But she cried again as he walked away…
Just let the lawn go brown, son.
Leave the water off, Bill.
Please let the lawn go brown.
He hummed a tune as he hooked up the sprinkler to the hose.
He set the distance and the spray. Judiciously he chose.
A neighbor peered across the fence in that dry western town.
And his mother’s words echoed again…
Just let the lawn go brown, son
Leave the water off, Bill
Just let the lawn go brown.
He cranked the spigot to the max and watched his grasses soak.
The dusty neighbor quietly observed before he spoke.
“This ain’t your day to water, son”. He said this with a frown.
Bill heard again his mothers words…
Just let the lawn go brown, son.
Leave the water off, Bill.
And let the lawn go brown.
Both men reached for a smartphone each had holstered, like a gun.
Though Billy Joe was quick his neighbor was the faster one.
He tweeted photos of the crime – the shame came rolling down.
Soon Billy’s Twitter profile said…
I’ve let the lawn go brown, folks.
Turn the the water off, friends.
Just let the lawn go brown.


When have you flaunted the regulations?

57 thoughts on “Death to the Lawn!”

  1. About nine years ago freshly out of a divorce, I allowed an acquaintance put his small fishing boat at my otherwise unused dock. In my settlement, my ex got the boat with no dock; I got the dock with no boat. The trade off for my dock was that he’d mow my property.

    My neighbors on both sides, always hostile toward us, got together and wrote a formal-looking letter informing me that I was violating a city ordinance and that they didn’t want me to turn the neighborhood into a “public marina”. Bottom line: they didn’t want low class people like me living in between their mansions. I looked up the ordinance and, sure enough, no boat’s are allowed unless I have title to it and live on the property where it’s docked.

    I happened to be aware that people all over the lake rented their dock space. I even called the city to ask how they enforced the ordinance. They told me that it’s not really a problem unless the neighbors alerted them to it. I may have been the only lake resident on Minnetonka who had neighbors who’d do just that, so I told my acquaintance to take his boat away. And ended up doing all the mowing for that summer.


    1. Not when I can toss seed in a pot and grow my own lettuce and live on cabbage and frozen greens all winter.

      My ancestresses didn’t need California produce and neither do I.

      Almost forgot….. dagnabbit!


  2. my exerience with californians is mixed. lots of hippies and northen california types who live by the motto brown is down and yellow is mellow for the bathroom protocall and it smells a bit in there but the other extreme is the shopkeeper who will not stop pressure washing the grit off his sidewalk every day. the same way we look at lawns in lake wobegon is the way they look at sidewalks and driveways.. out there every day with a pressure washer or a water broom ( we dont have thne here. thyey do there. to wash the grit out into the street and then wash it off the street into the drain sewer.
    i hope we start treating our water like the oil cartel treats oil. otherwise california will make the ethenol trade look like water conscious people. did you know the minnesota farmers are draining the water supply to water their crops on an efficiency level that is terrible? there are laws and rules because it is so obviously not ok but pr did a special on it showing how no one ever listens and the fine is 500 dollars for pumping out 1000 gallons a minute for the summer without a pemit.they pay the 500 dollars and sell thier crops without having to pay for thewater or the consequences.


  3. i have seen drip irrigaton systems for the desert developed in isreal that infuse the needed amount of water to the plant 1 oz at a time over the course of the day vs flooding the area with 1/2 in of water at oon on a 100 degree day in the wind where all the water is getting evaporated and being wasted. if the people farming cant be relied on to be good stewards then there should be consequences. i fele this way about water and also about the horrinble enviormental habbits of china and india and mexico and many 3rd worl nations when it comes to the give me today and to hell with tomorrowattitudes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rise and Flaunt it Baboons!

    Generally, I am pretty regulation compliant. However, there are exceptions, of course. Usually that happens in bureaucratic work settings, where I discovered early in my career, that unless “they”–whoever might be in charge–tell you to do something at least 3 times, “they” don’t really mean it.

    Computer training was an example. “We are instituting a new computer program and we will train you” was a statement rife with ineffectiveness. I noticed that when I complied I was the only one to do so AND this occurred because the computer program would never happen. Or by the time it happened, it was useless.

    They trained us to ignore the computer programs and regulations because “they” couldn’t make them work, so of course neither could we.

    And then there was the extra-marital affair transpiring between the IT people who were to train us. If ever there is anything to reinforce flaunting the regulations and ineffectiveness that is it. At that point “flaunting the regulations” of either computer training or marital mores was the rule, not the exception.


  5. Snorted tea on this one, Dale.

    Well, driving about 5 miles over the speed limit is probably the most frequent. Let’s see, we didn’t get a permit before building the screen porch (we probably wouldn’t have been able to use the wood we were recycling from our former garage.) I may have picked morel mushrooms (and a flower or two!) on public parkland. I still bring my own egg cartons and sneak the bulk eggs into them at the co-op. Will try to think of more…


    1. You drive five mph over the limit? What gives you the right to drive so slow? You’re gonna get rear-ended, driving like that!

      I remember when Jim Ed Poole was doing helicopter traffic reports. In panic, he called in a report that there was a car on 494 driving at the posted speed limit!

      Liked by 3 people

    2. just had the minnesoat state lady on the other dya saying you can pick mushrooms and stuff in all state parks in quantities for an individual not for resale. morel hunters get out the fry pans


  6. When rheumatoid arthritis crippled me and prevented me from mowing my lawn, my neighbor to the west cheerfully offered to mow it for me. And he did, mostly. The front lawn was always tidy. That was good because my neighbor on the east side was a lawn freak. My helpful neighbor was less zealous about cutting grass in my backyard, and that grass got fairly high. I didn’t feel I had the right to ask him to mow it more often.

    One day I got a letter from the St Paul police department telling me that someone was offended because my lawn wasn’t properly mowed. Since the front lawn was carefully manicured, the objectionable lawn had to be my backyard. Because of a back fence overgrown with vines, the backyard was totally screened from view unless someone stood on a step ladder in the alley.

    Being who I am, I was shamed and embarrassed even though I was so crippled I couldn’t start my lawnmower. I didn’t understand why someone could be offended by my back lawn and yet would not simply say something to me about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lawn freaks, the bane of my existence.

      I hold the confirmed belief that there is a schedule in my neighborhood to ensure that there is not a moment’s peace during daylight from Friday afternoon until Monday morning.

      Why anyone needs a full arsenal of power mowers, leaf blowers and trimmers for the scraps of grass in our neighborhood beggers understanding.


    2. did you ask them out to discuss it with you? i find that helps sometimes. i had a report on my dogs and when i asked the guy to come out and meet the dogs and ask who would call on my dogs barking he told me not to let them out before 659 am or after
      they can bark their heads off if they are outside those parameters.
      someoen had called one day when the dogs barked at 6 15 am. i can understand that but really…


      1. What made this incident unpleasant tim is that I couldn’t talk to my neighbors to resolve or at least explain the conflict. The complaint against me was anonymous. That forced me to guess which neighbor was unhappy.


  7. Like BiR, I push the speed limit every now and gain. I have also been known to cross the street against the light when there’s no traffic. Otherwise I’m pretty law-abiding.


  8. Well, with my name, you all know I’ve flaunted the regulations to a serious degree. I won’t go into details on the big stuff, but I’ll tell some of the smaller stuff.

    Drive five miles over the speed limit? Yup – except on residential streets, then I usually drive 20 instead of 30. And when I go to my sister’s house in duluth, I go more than 5 miles above the limit on Hwy 23. Really, there’s hardly any traffic, so why should I poke along at 55 mph?

    Once I snuck a bag of home-popped popcorn into the riverview theater. That was one of my biggest transgressions in recent years.


    1. Not that I go to that many movies, but if it’s a “regular” theatre (I don’t do this at the Riverview), I almost always take my own snacks. I’ve often heard that tired old saw that movie theatres make their only money off snacks, but I say they should overhaul the system if that’s the case.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I pretty much only go to the Riverview and would never bring my own snacks because their popcorn is one of the attractions as far as I am concerned:)


        1. a friend of mines parents own the meuller theaters in golden valley(169 and betty corcker) , lakeville and somewhere else where the movies are 5.50 and a monster popcorn is 5 also. i hate going to 12 dollar movies and buying 10 dollar popcorn. amc is a jerk and i dont have to take it anymore.


  9. I was wondering why no one called Dale on his use of “flaunted” to mean (or at least imply) to ignore or thumb one’s nose at. I thought, superiorily that he should have said “flouted”. I looked up flouted and gave a smug head nod and “yes”. Then I looked up flaunted and found the 2nd definition for the verb to be, “to ignore or treat with disdain”. Smugness obliterated.

    Then I was somewhat vindicated by the notes:
    4. The use of flaunt to mean “to ignore or treat with disdain” ( He flaunts community standards with his behavior) is strongly objected to by many usage guides, which insist that only flout can properly express this meaning. From its earliest appearance in English in the 16th century, flaunt has had the meanings “to display oneself conspicuously, defiantly”. I guess I’m a usage guide.

    So what would flaunting the regulations be? Perhaps driving with a Speed 55 Limit sign sticking out of your window, wearing a dress made out of pages from the Minnesota Drivers manual or papering the outside of your medical clinic with rules of the Affordable Care Act?

    Unsurprisingly, like other Baboons, I am boringly rule abiding. Being a first-born Virgo contributes to that I’m sure. I do drive a few miles over the limit but use cruise control, even in the city, to guarantee that I don’t go too crazy.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Afternoon all. Lawn is a good topic for me since I’m thinking about it now that it’s gotten warmer. You’ve all heard me say that my long-term plan is to have no lawn, just gardens. Every year less and less lawn!

    Flouted rules. Like other baboons, not too many, although I don’t stay sitting at stoplights at 4 a.m. if I can’t see headlights coming from any direction.


    1. Mike the cement guy is calling in a quote tomorrow to redo and remove some cement work in the front so that we will have fewer but non-slumping front steps and sidewalks leading up to the house, and much more front yard garden space.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. OT: I had a hunch yesterday that I knew the actor doing the voice-over for a Walgreen’s ad that runs a lot. Looked it up. Sure enough, the voice-over was voiced by John Corbett, the man Baboons will always remember as Chris, the philosophical DJ of “Northern Exposure.” Isn’t it odd how we can identify a voice that has no particular distinguishing qualities?

    It is odd, too, how the way someone speaks can give us the sense that he or she is intelligent (and I mean the way the voice inflects things, not the choice of words). Ken Burns often hires an old college friend of mine to do the narration for his documentaries. When you hear Peter Coyote speak you just know he is smart. Longtime WCCO news anchor Pat Miles had a way of reading her copy that made it clear she was no blonde bubblehead.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Any time I see an attached mattress tag, I tear it off. Sometimes it’s an “accident” but most times it’s an act of defiance. I’m sticking it to “the man.”

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Back from Brookings. SD now has an 80 mph speed limit that allegedly means just that-80 and not 84.999. I went just under 80 from the ND line to Brookings. Son tells me that the fine is a minimum of $70 for every mph over 80 they catch you driving.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This weekend son sat us down and solemnly announced had got a tattoo in the shape of a lotus blossom on his shoulder in memory of his grandparents. He was so anxious and upset I thought that something quite awful had happened. He was truly afraid that flaunting a tattoo was flouting my opposition to tattoos, since I had voiced my disapproval of tattoos in the past. I surprised him when i just shrugged and said it was no big deal since it couldn’t be seen unless he was shirtless. He knew that his grandfather despised tattoos. I told him it would give grandpa a great excuse to play tricks from the beyond. This morning, Daughter in Law’s keys went missing and were found mysteriously in son’s car. i told son that grandpa just played his first joke.

    Liked by 5 people

  15. I seem to end up in part-time jobs with people who are very big on regulations. Current specimen loves “policy and procedure” pages almost as much as catching people getting tripped up by them.

    Now I am as law-abiding as the next Baboon, but when you can get 3 different reasons (none of which stand up to cursory scrutiny) from 3 different people as to why we do something, you are just askin’ for me to flaunt my flouting of that regulation, procedure or whatever.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. how did i ever get in the midst of you abiders? i like music that reminds me of my bong days. my rock and rol days turned folkie. i am also first born but a picies rather than a virgo so i gues that mus tbe why i have spent my life one step too close to the edge even for my comfort often times. i am a control freak so i pick my drugs very carefully acid was not a top ten favorite. shrooms well thats a different kind of control issue isnt it.
    my recent challanges with the flaunting of beer after a baseball game would be no fun generally speaking but when set in line next to the less than careful days 20 years ago result in consequences that sting. stealing is not ok but lets not talk taxesthe golden rule is the way to measure and so i can tell when i am in deficit mode. i dont make immoral choices but moral choices leave so much room for interpretation. if you dont push it you never know. sister mary magdaline hated it when i would show up with blue cordoroys but not uniform pants. medium blue shirt with cool collar. st patricks days does call for a green uniform doesnt it. (no it doesnt call your parents) i have a joy deep inside when i figure out a way to follow the letter of the law i a way that breaks the intent into a million pieces. my dad used to say ” i hope you get kids who challenge you like you did me” he said i did but im not so sure. the world today knows it goes down in the archives forever and the internet the paper trail the video clips the records on file. it just isnt fair to a kid today. they dont stand a chance. drugs running away from home knowing you would ever get caught and your pals would never squeal made for a lot of smiles and visions of the response when discovered by the victim of intent. ahhh the 60’s were a lifetime ago. you guys are the people my nuns wanted us to grow up to be. i was not.


    1. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
      – Robert A. Heinlein

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I guessed that quite some time ago, tim. Yet, how do we have such an affinity for each other? Breaking rules does not an life make; neither does obeying them all.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. And here is the first (and only) one I ever learned on a guitar:

          I should probably confess that there were a lot of “oops” between cord changes. Never mastered it. I did better on the Autoharp – still nothing to write home about. My musical gift is in listening and appreciating.

          Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.