Monday, May 12, 2008

El Batey

For a long time now (actually always), I have disliked front lawns. This became even more apparent when I bought a house and the lawn had to be mowed. I have found it completely unrewarding to mow the lawn. In fact, a lot of it was grass but a lot of it was weeds. So I was mowing weeds (or I was paying someone else to mow weeds).
My parents have no front lawn. They have turned their front yard into an oasis of flowers, herbs, vegetables and some fruit. Grass does not grow there.
I have been trying to figure out what to do with my front yard. It lingers there, waiting. For a while I had lavender lining both sides of the walk but they faded away with the snow. It was too much for them.
I was waiting for a sign; something to push me along. The signs I was waiting for came along just as I was deciding what to do. The first one was Edible Estates. Edible Estates made me think it could be beautiful to have a front lawn (or rather a front space) that was also not just a piece of green. The second was Michael Pollan's article for the New York Times Magazine on what we as individuals could do in the battle to save our planet, our food chain and our selves. To paraphrase Mr. Pollan, plant a garden.
And so I have decided to plant that garden. It will involve fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs. The front lawn (yeah, I still call it that) is a convenient place to have a garden (yeah, I still call it that). When I think about it, there is not a day that goes by that I don't walk down the front stairs, look at the weeds, dandelions and other things growing there. The front of my house I see every day. The back of the house, where most people have their gardens, is kind of an afterthought.
So why El Batey? El Batey in Puerto Rico is the front of the house where we went to play as kids. It was dirt, no grass and where we went out to just hang. It is also refers to a ceremonial place where a game was played by the Taino indians.
Now I just need to come up with a new name for lawn and garden.

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