Hello everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to provide you with the most entertaining and informative posts possible, while the guy I live with stares at the floor, “lost in thought”. You may remember me from such delightful posts as “Windy and Warm” and “A Partly Sad Story”, among other excellent contributions to the blogosphere.
Here I am after getting all soaking from the hose, on this very hot day.
It was a very weird day, too. Full of silliness, which of course I’ll relate to you. The guy I live with has a new gardening book.
Alternatives to a lawn. It says about the picture on the cover, “Dans notre jardin expérimental, un assortment de plantes couvre-sol à feuillage gris ou argenté compose une alternative au gazon originale, demandant peu d’entretien et resistant très bien à la sécheresse.” (The guy I live with said to quote the original, so as to seem more serious. “In our experimental garden, an assortment of ground cover plants with gray or silver foliage makes an original alternative to the lawn, requiring little maintenance and highly resistant to drought.” He would just say he’s “being all alternative and stuff”.)
So…..he says this book is really brilliant, and now he desperately wants a lawn alternative. Right now he just has an alternative lawn filled with other plants, which, for want of a better word, he’s decided to call a gazoon.
You may wonder about this. My mommy would have said “I’m not going to call it a gazoon”, very matter-of-factly, and he would of course have taken that as a signal to make a reference to the gazoon every five minutes, until she got really mad at him, at which point he would have started laughing, and she would mutter something about having married a nut. He would then say that if someone rang him up on the phone, she could say “Oh, he’s out on the gazoon, tending to things, you know.”
He found this word right after gazon in the Oxford English Dictionary (the one you need a magnifying glass for), and it says “an adapted form of the preceding, with mistaken sense.” Since gazon could be something like a bulwark covered with grass, it’s easy–maybe–to see how James Hogg mistook the word’s meaning in his epic poem The Queen’s Wake, written in 1813. A brief excerpt will give a sense of its contents.
Dumlanrig’s eye with ardour shone;
“Follow!” he cried, and spurred him on.
A close gazoon the horsemen made,
Douglas and Morison the head,
And through the ranks impetuous bore,
By dint of lance and broad claymore,
Mid shouts, and groans of parting life,
For hard and doubtful was the strife.
Behind a knight, firm belted on,
They found the fair May Morison.
But why, through all Dumlanrig’s train,
Search her bright eyes, and search in vain?
A stranger mounts her on his steed;
Brave Morison, where art thou fled?
Whew. The guy I live with certainly knows how to waste time on a hot summer day, looking up stuff like this. Here is the gazoon in the front yard. The bare areas are “standing places” for people to view the surrounding garden. The actual gazoon is comprised of some blue grama, Ratibida columnaris, and a young Mexican blue oak, Quercus oblongifolia, in a tomato cage.
In the back yard, blue grama, buffalo grass, winter fat, etc.
Of course, the guy I live with has to take my needs into consideration, if you know what I mean. So he’s working on an actual lawn in the way back, to replace the green lawn which he decided it was hypocritical to have if he started making fun of peoples’ addiction to irrigation here, which he probably won’t do, but might, but only if he got rid of the green lawn. Half-drenched in sunlight this morning.
And later in the day. This is a new lawn of buffalo grass and blue grama, with “a path” (that is, a bunch of dead grass we walk back and forth on) in between them. (The dark green in back is what’s left of the original lawn.) He says he’s going to make a real path with wood mulch, but I’m afraid he’ll want to make a gazoon of this, instead of an actual lawn; something stuffed with flowers and things.
Well, I probably don’t have to worry all that much. The guy I live with does have a lawnmower, which he likes a lot, and he enjoys mowing the lawn as much as anyone else. I’ll leave you with a picture of it, and hope we’ll never have to say the word gazoon again.