Lawn Care

This morning as Hannah and I were finishing our walk, I heard a loud noise coming from one of my neighbor’s back yard. Moving in for a closer look, I watched in horror as a giant machine ate up small trees like they were nothing more than blades of grass. Another neighbor was also watching and remarked that this neighbor really wanted to have a nice back yard and that this would help cut down on the mosquitos.

There are many good things that Europeans brought with them to the Americas, things like ship technology, the alphabet, the wheel, various fruits and vegetables, cows and sheep, but there are other things that weren’t quite as welcome, things like smallpox, measles, gunpowder and lawns.

Lawn care in North America is big business – more than 40 billion dollars are spent annually. In addition to all that money, the average homeowner spends 150 hours a year maintaining their lawn. This seems a little extravagant, but people do enjoy the greenery and puttering around the yard. Unfortunately, in excess of 10 times more herbicides per acre are dumped on lawns than on the fields of agribusiness. An estimated 7 million birds are killed each year by these pesticides and this practice has nearly decimated the honeybee population. Runoff from fertilizer used to create lush green lawns causes algae booms in lakes that remove all the oxygen from the water, suffocating the fish. Lastly, an estimated 30 – 60% of all fresh water in the United States is used to water lawns and gardens.

In Genesis 1:27-28, we read: 27 So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them male and female, 28 blessed them, and said, “Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control. I am putting you in charge of the fish, the birds, and all the wild animals. Good News Translation

It doesn’t seem like what we’re doing is bringing the earth under our control and being in charge of the fish, birds, and wild animals. It seems like we’re on a very wide path of destruction, acting as though we can annihilate all these creatures with no repercussions to all the delicate ecosystems on the earth.

It seems that fish, birds, and animals aren’t the only ones suffering in our pursuit of the perfect lawn. Lawn mowers caused more than 250,000 injuries in 2010, more than 10,000 of which were injuries to children. Seems like having that lawn is pretty risky for humans, too.


Thankfully, there is a growing movement of people who are creating different types of lawns or turning their lawns into gardens. Yes, gardens still use a lot of water, but there’s something to show for it at the end! If you have a lawn, will you consider making some changes? Using native plants that use less water? Planting trees for shade and cleaner air? While there’s fun to be had on a nice green lawn, playing in a forest is an adventure. If we make it a habitat where birds can thrive, it just might cut down on that mosquito population.

Most Important Product

For the past four or five years, I’ve owned an iPhone.  My current phone is not the latest version, but I have upgraded once since I first made the switch from a flip phone to a smartphone.  There’s an ongoing disagreement between smartphone users as to which one is the best – is it the Samsung Galaxy?  LG G3 or G4?  Motorola Moto?  Sony Xperia?  iPhone?


Early this morning I happened upon an article whose title, Stop Doubting The iPhone, The Macintosh Company, intrigued me.  As an iPhone user, I was curious about whether my loyalty was misplaced.  As far as the Better World Shopping Guide goes, Apple is the most highly rated company of all the brands listed here, so I wanted to find out if there was a different point of view from someone who was approaching the question from a different perspective.

It was a lengthly article, but to be honest, I never got through the whole thing because I came across a sentence that I got hung up on and never went any further.  It said, “Reality #1:  Smartphones are the most important product in people’s lives, which means that the willingness to pay for the “best” is higher than it is for just about anything else; relatedly, the smartphone budget is likely the last to be cut in any sort of economic tightening”

No matter how hard I try, I just can’t quite wrap my brain around the belief that my phone is the most important product in my life and that I should be willing to pay for the best.  My phone is more important than food? Clothing? Shelter? Transportation?  If I need to reduce my expenditures, should I really cut things that are essential to life before I cut my cell phone bill? 

It’s easy to see how the writer came to this conclusion.  Most people I know have their cell phone with them at all times, it’s the first thing they check in the morning and the last thing they do before going to sleep.  Am I the only one who’s concerned about this?  Have you wondered if your life is better or worse for having a smartphone?  Is your smartphone the most important product in your life?  Please let me know by leaving a comment.

Free Stuff

Have you ever wondered how much extra we pay for free stuff?  A free trunk organizer if I renew my membership.  A free spray bottle of cleaner and a cloth with my new glasses.  A free toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss when I visit the dentist. A free canvas bag when I attend a conference.  A free bag of goodies when I sign up to walk at a charity event.  A free token of appreciation when I donate to a non-profit.

Some of these items are useful, but others are just so much clutter.  There’s always the nagging question in my mind – would the product or service I’m buying cost less if I didn’t get a freebie?  Would the non-profit need to raise as much money if the company providing the free stuff just gave them money instead of trinkets?

For most of my life, I was the first one in line to get anything for free.  It was just so exciting to get something that I didn’t have to pay for!  It didn’t matter whether it was something I wanted or needed, it was free! 

During one of my recent purging sessions, I found a bunch of freebies in various closets and cupboards.  Some of them have been there in excess of three years and have never been used.  Now they’re sitting in a bag waiting to go to a local thrift store. 

Freebie Clutter

It’s possible that I could sell some of these things to make a little extra cash, but I’m not sure that it would offset the time, energy, and space those things have taken up over the years.  It doesn’t seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but I paid people to move some of this stuff the last time I relocated! Embracing a minimalist lifestyle has helped me fight the urge to snatch up freebies, at least when it comes to everything except books. 

Words can’t even express how much I love books.  There’s always a stack somewhere in my house and I’m often reading two or three at the same time, some physical, some digital.  Reading is one of my all time favorite things to do.  Recently I heard about Book Bub so I went to their website and gave them my email address and now they send me an email every day telling me all about different ebooks and some of them are available for FREE!

It takes all of my self control not to download as many as possible.  What is stopping me?  Realistically, I simply don’t have time to read that many books.  As I’ve mentioned previously, my cyber clutter is just as unwieldy as my physical clutter, perhaps even more so because it stays hidden from my site until I realize that I have used up every bit of space on my phone, computer, and tablet!

The next time someone offers me a freebie, I’m going to say no thank you and give it back.  It’s doubtful that my refusal is going to change anything, but at least I won’t have another useless item in my closet.

What free stuff is cluttering up your life?