Thinking green, squared

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We've embarked on another green endeavor, both literal and punny, at home.

We've engaged Organic Soil Solutions to help us develop our lawn, after a series of setbacks. The lawn looked great when we moved in, but the previous owner, obviously an accomplished gardener who left us a great set of advanced flower beds on which to build, relied on Chemlawn to marshal the grass. We decided against that, partly on principle, partly for Emma's sake. But, it turns out, it's far better to wean one's lawn off the drugs, rather than making it go cold turkey.

So, the first season, we had grubs galore. I would sit in my office, in view of the lawn, that fall, thinking how nice it was that birds were flocking to our yard. Turned out, they were just feasting away on the subterranean critters that were chewing away at our grassroots. When we finally went out there, the green carpet literally peeled away from the earth. We got advice, and applied milky spore, little white granules that you need a spreader — and a respiratory mask — to lay down.

Maybe we were supposed to do it more often than we did, but for whatever reason, we had another bad year. The grubs weren't an issue, but we had a very high degree of weed infestation, so much so that I was able to spend hours out there, pulling away at individual plants, trying to get the roots as well. But this year, in part because I was gone for so much of the growing season (and I have primary responsibility, in our shared duties, for the grass) those weeds had a field day.

Meanwhile, I dug up and regraded a large portion of the backyard, and it still is soil only, albeit very flat soil. But this week, after taking soil samples last week, a crew came by and aerated the soil and used a machine that not only sows seed by actually sets it into the soil. So now we've got the sprinkler system — another legacy of the former owner — set to help the seeds germinate, and we hope we'll be back in business.

In the short term, this is wicked bad news for Emma, who's used to having the run of the backyard, and the option to be out there for hours at a time, peeing and pooping whenever so moved. But we've started taking multiple walks per day again, and are trying to train her to use only the lower yard for p&p-ing. So far, she's very confused — she's done nothing wrong, but has lost lots of freedom.

Author and wellness innovator Michael Prager helps smart companies
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