Summertime blues and the yardwork solution
For me the first day of summer is synonymous with the first cocktail in shorts. Come get me after all the yardwork is done though. Why is summer also synonymous with yardwork? I have a solution to yardwork: gravel.
Gravel doesn’t need mowing. Gravel doesn’t need watering. Gravel doesn’t grow fruit that attracts bears. Gravel doesn’t get stained by dog pee. Gravel doesn’t require expensive trips to Lee Valley to acquire tools, a rake from Ukrainian Tire will do just fine. Guess what? Your stupid garden gnomes don’t care if they sit on gravel. Gravel too boring? Insert a rock or some driftwood. Instant ambiance. Hell, put some chairs and a table out there too so you can sit and enjoy your ambient gravel. Put on a little Kim Mitchel and hang some patio lanterns out there above your gravel. Maybe church it up a bit with some patterns using different colored gravel. Wanna build a shed to put your rake in? Not an issue. Gravel is the perfect platform for construction.
A chiminea would be outstanding for having friends over to accompany you in enjoying your gravel. Oh but then you’re going to need some more chairs. And a bar that looks like a tiki hut would be cool too. OH! And maybe a little sand in front of it so it feels like everyone is on the beach. Who doesn’t like the beach? No beach is complete without a little water. Oh ya, a waterfall over a boulder heli’d in from your favorite sledding zone that pours into a pond would be incredible. Forget the pond; make that waterfall feed into your new pool!!!
Okay okay okay, hold on, hold on. Back up the truck. I see how easy it is to get carried away with yardwork. Let’s keep it simple. If you like, you can adopt my approach to yardwork: let your backyard grass grow till the bylaw officers stop by and tell you to mow it due to the large population of snakes and other long grass dwelling creatures slithering in and out of your yard, then wait another month until it is the hottest day in August and mow it as low as your mower can possibly go. This approach works best around 2 or 3 in the afternoon when the sun is the highest and hottest. That way you can almost guarantee the sun will scorch and kill everything evenly before it has a chance to grow back. Hot tip: Turn the sprinkler on for about three minutes after you mow for optimal yard scorchage.
Don’t be shy, mow everything. The garden, perennials, annuals, weeds, grass, shrubs, that ornamental orange tree, just mow it all man. If you’re unlucky enough to have some kind of creeping vine growing on your fence this could get tricky. If you have a chain link fence the best bet here is a propane torch and a bit of leftover premium from the winter; fast, effective and no clean up. Wooden fence? Unfortunately you’re going to have to get your hands dirty and tear that stuff off before you can toss it over into the back alley or your neighbour’s yard. There. Your pesticide-free yardwork is all done. Probably took you a couple hours at the most. You’re now free to enjoy your entire summer.
Why does the BBQ make food taste better? The same reason water freezes when it gets cold. The same reason Vanna White and Pat Sajak looked the same for the first 20 years of Wheel of Fortune. SCIENCE. I love BBQ’s so if you’re having one don’t forget to invite me but on the off chance that you do forget, here’s an ancient Chinese secret beer/pork ribs recipe to help you not miss me and send you spiraling into a meat coma.
Head to the beer store and grab a couple of your favorite beers.
Stop in at the meat store and grab 10-15 pounds of pork ribs.
Sample one of the beers.
Sear the pork on all sides in a skillet heavily seasoned with garlic butter.
Sample another beer to ensure the second one was just as fresh as the first.
Place the ribs in an oven-proof pan and scatter onions all around them.
Open one of the beers and test for freshness. Pour a little into the pan.
Open another beer and pour a little more into the pan and seal with a lid or tin foil.
Pour the remainder of the beer into your gullet.
Bake at 375° F until the pork is tender 1½ – 2 hours.
During this time, head down to the beer store and pick up a few more beers.
Sample more beer as necessary.
Remove the pan from the oven and pour out the beer.
Slather the pork with sauce of your choice and BBQ uncovered for 1 more hour or until the meat is brown and the sauce is thick.
Frequent beer basting at regular intervals is required. Be sure to test the beer for freshness.
This dish is best served with beer.
Keep the shiny side up.
– Count CDubula