Flander's Lane, Washington Maine

Flander's Lane is named after my grandfather, Roland Flanders. It is a short dirt road with a few camps set on Washington Pond. There are tales that Flander's Lane is haunted. At least that's what my grandfather says.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Time To Mow The Lawn

Grampy Mowing The LawnAbout every three days or so, if the sun is shining, Grampy Flanders wants to mow the lawn. Just look at him go. Trying to take a photo of my 82 year old grandfather on his professional Skag lawnmower was not easy. The guy is going about 30 miles and hour across his yard, and pretty much every photo I tried to take was a blur.

There he goes past his garden, taking sharp turns, going up and down the hills. He has a tough time getting from the living room to the dining table, but look out when he's on his lawnmower. He's like Mario Andretti out there. When it comes time for the guy to get an electric wheel chair, forget it. Just put him up on his Skag mower and let him go. This is a man that survived the Battle of the Bulge, has kicked cancer twice, outlived his woman, and does not know anything about slowing down. I love him more than trees.

I go up to Grampy's house pretty much every night around 7 PM to spend a little time with him before he settles in to sleep at 8. He likes to hear what I've been up to all day, and he has a lot of knowledge and information to impart to me. He really knows this area well. I can ask him any question about kayaking the lake, different places to go, farms, towns, sights to see... the guy has spent his whole life here, hunting and fishing in the great outdoors, and knows all there is to know, period. I mean, come on, he's got a road named after him. Does he live here, or does 'here' live because of him?

His garden is doing great this year, we enjoy the chard, radishes, peas, green beans, and cucumbers so far, with a lot more to go as the season unveils more fresh Maine produce from his small garden. When I was a kid growing up here in Washington, all this land was vegetable gardens. He and his many friends would farm it all, and divide all the harvest. This gigantic lawn he now mows was once farm land that fed many families. As he got older, it all became lawn, and now his garden is just a few rows that feed him a little of this and that to keep fresh food on his table.

I remember following him as he plowed this very soil with his tractor collecting worms from the ground for fishing. I'd fill a few cans with worms, that he'd put in a large wooden box that he stored in the basement, and he'd feed them some corn meal to keep them alive. Whenever he'd take me out on the lake to go fishing, we would visit his box of worms for bait.

Skagg LawnmowerOut front he has a really nifty apple tree that is grafted together and it grows three different types of apples at once. It's amazing to see three different varieties of apples growing on one tree. The guy really knows his stuff. Part of me wishes I never went off to college, when all the real learning to be done was here after all. I mean, just imagine the stuff I don't know...

Now about twice a week I wake up to the sound of the Skag mower and I know Grampy is out there mowing his huge lawn. It always makes me happy to hear the roar off in the distance. He takes a lot of pride in keeping his grass well cut. It's nice to run around with my kid out there. So much room to run. It's sooooo green. The grass is very soft to roll around in. At times I hang a hammock between the pine tree and an apple tree, and we just lounge away in the shade. The smell of cut grass is heavenly.

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