It's a Monday. And I am once again sitting out on the back deck beside the pool with my faithful black lab Suzy lying at my feet.
Only today it is cold out.
The pool is covered by the new black tarp we bought to replace the last one Suzy ripped when she wandered out on to the tarp to get one of her chewy toys.
I dug my brown suede winter coat out, and my cup of warm coffee turns cold quickly.
The tree behind us has changed to a brilliant crimson red. Not many leaves have fallen yet, but some lay in the rain water collected in the black tarp.
Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. A good long weekend perfect for finishing up the yard work projects on my property.
I have spent the last two days working on the yard, pulling weeds clearing the flower beds and trying to figure out how to make my lawn look as good as it once did using only the "green" fertilizer and weed-killer products available now to us in Canada.
They outlawed the good stuff.
That's what we all call the lawn fertilizers and weed killers we used to put on our lawns to keep them pristine and lush and full. The good stuff. You just can't buy that stuff anymore. The chemicals in those products were deemed to be hazardous to the environment.
A fellow came by in the spring to roll and dethatch my front lawn. As he was making his pitch for us to use his services all year long, he proclaimed "I only use the good stuff. I have it stockpiled in my barn".
My neighbor across the street has the best lawn in the neighborhood. Even as winter approaches his lawn is a deep rich green lush and full with not a single bad patch on the lot.
You kind of want to take your shoes off and go run around on this guy's lawn.
How does he do it?
I can see a bunch of riding lawn mower fanatics gathering over beers in a garage to discuss why the one neighbor's lawn looks so good.
"I hear he's using the good stuff", one would whisper.
"Really? Wonder where he gets his?" would reply the flannel shirt wearing buddy.
"Word is he gets it from the co-op!" would say the third.
"Let's go!" they would all mutually agree – and hop into the fourth guys pick-up truck to go investigate the underground network supply of good stuff fertilizers and weed killers, only to find the co-op had no such inventory.
At least none that they would share.
We have become quite used to depending on these products to make our properties look as good as we can. Now we will have to do it the old fashioned way – pulling weeds – making up concoctions from recipes we find on the internet to keep those nasty weeds and crabgrass at bay.
These concoctions could be more deadly than the environmentalist's claim the good stuff was.
Some urban centers are dealing with "meth labs" – people manufacturing their own methamphetamine – a nasty horrible addictive drug that seemingly destroys people's lives by merely thinking about it.
But in Canada, we will now also have homemade labs for making fertilizers, weed-killers and pesticides. To replace the good stuff we all became so dependent on.
The United States has not gone so far as to regulate these yard care products as Canada has. In fact I am not sure if all the other provinces in Canada even have.
It may only be Ontario that is trying to lead the way in the regulation of domestic fertilizers and weed killers.
I can see those same bunch of guys now – disappointed by their inability to get their hands on the good stuff from the local agriculture co-op – scheming and plotting their trip across the bridge or tunnel to the American side – a small lawn and garden shop in the suburbs of Detroit – to get their stash of the good stuff and smuggle it back into Canada – back into Ontario – hiding the massive pile in the flat bed of the pickup truck under a pile of blankets.
Nervously they pull up to the customs officer's booth on the Canadian side of the Ambassador Bridge.
"Do you have anything to declare?" the officer would ask the group of four suburban home owners.
"Uh – nope" would say the driver.
"Any guns, alcohol, firearms?"
"Any tobacco products, meats, vegetables?"
The officer steps outside the comfort of his secured roost in the booth and walks around the pickup truck.
"That's a lot of blankets." He would say. As he lifted the small pile up, he would discover the stockpile of the good stuff.
The boys would be told they couldn't bring such toxic products into Ontario – and the stockpile of the good stuff would be seized – the foursome warned not to ever try that trick again – and they would be sent home.
Is it right or wrong that these fertilizers and weed killers be banned from our province? I don't know.
But it does say something about our culture in that we feel the need to keep our lawns so perfect that we are willing to contaminate our environment – our ecosystem with these chemicals that must do some kind of harm to us and the wildlife that lives in suburbia.
Truth be told, I still have two bags of the good stuff. Left over from last year. I was smart enough to stock pile away.
But I haven't used it. I thought I would give this green experiment a try. And this year my lawn was so bad I was an embarrassment to the neighbors. Yesterday I pulled three big lawn bags of weeds from my front lawn. Weeds that I have no idea where they came from. Stuff that I have never seen grow in a lawn before. Four hours of back breaking bending, yanking and pulling. Even my super-duper weed pulling device I bought this spring couldn't get some of them.
So am I tempted to go dip into my stash of the good stuff?
Damn right I am.
One night next spring – around two in the morning, I will make sure all the lights are off in my house. I will go around to all my solar powered garden lights and disassemble them so they will not give me away. And in the pitch black of night I will feed my spreader with the good stuff and apply it to my lawn.
Because I think my lawn is addicted to the stuff.
And I can't stand to watch it go through another summer next year of withdrawal.