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From the Mouth of the River

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From the Mouth of the River

Losing a perfect lawn

What a spring, huh? Temperature in the forties with a lot of rain; in fact, I thought it would never warm up or dry up enough to go fishing. Of course, with all that rain and the temperature staying where it was, it was just right for the grass to do its thing. Every time it would stop raining long enough I would mow the lawn and our grass got greener and thicker. When it finely stopped raining and the sun came out nice and warm, we had the best looking lawn in the county. Our lawn has natural contours and slopes with dips and swales and when it’s freshly mowed its beauty is something to behold. Neighbors stop by and drool with envy, always commenting on its appearance.

One of my favorite times of the day is when I sit out on the patio in the early morning with fresh coffee and just take it all in as the sun breaks over the mountains shedding its golden light across the newly mown lawn. Robins are usually busy extracting large night crawlers so big they have to cut them into pieces just to haul them off for their fledglings. The male black-headed grosbeak sings so loud it’s hard to hear all the other birds over his beautiful voice. It just doesn’t get any better than this. 

I guess it was about four mornings ago while taking this all in and wondering what all the rich folks were looking at when suddenly my eyes fell upon something that looked much like a large pile of brown cow manure right in the middle of my lawn. I squinted my eyes to no avail and finally curiosity got the best of me so I set my coffee down and went to inspect the eyesore in the middle of my perfect setting. 

“Oh my God, it’s a gopher mound! Where did he come from?” I asked myself, while looking around to see if there was any other evidence of a gopher mound on the place. Turns out there wasn’t. 

“Well young man, this just won’t do. What if the neighbors drove by and saw what a mess you have created?” I went straight to the woodshed to retrieve my trusty gopher trap all the while convicting this little lawn criminal to death by strangulation. Cleaning the lawn of the unsightly pile of dirt, I carefully set the trap, leaving just a hair trigger to snatch his life away. Satisfied that Davy Crockett would be proud of my expertise at trapping woodland creatures, I carried on with my day’s activities. 

I returned in the evening to do away with this lawn villain and clean up the mess it had made. Much to my surprise the trap had not been touched, but just four feet away was a new mound of gopher dirt. OMG. This just won’t do. Back to the woodshed to retrieve one more trap. Carefully I set it as instructed, all the while bringing up insults under my breath about his mother as well as the rest of his family. 

The next morning while the coffee was perking I went to inspect my trap line. Holy feces! Another mound of gopher dirt, and just two feet from the last one! That’s it. This has got to stop. Those gophers can’t outsmart me! I grabbed my garden hose and stuffed it in the latest hole and turned it on full blast. You think water boarding is unusual punishment, try this. I went for coffee. When I returned water was starting to appear out of the hole. Standing with my arms folded and sipping coffee while I watched the water start to surface at each additional hole, I let it run. When all the holes ran water equally I held my breath as long as I could knowing that little varmint couldn’t hold his as long as I could,

And then I shut the water off. I proceeded to fill in all the holes and clean up the mess. End of story.

Next morning while having my coffee, I couldn’t believe my eyes. A new hole had appeared with an even bigger mound of dirt. How did he escape the water boarding? I called my neighbor Windstone. 

“Bring up your weed burner,” I said, “We’re gonna gas the little SOB.” We hooked the weed burner to a propane bottle, stuck it in the last hole and turned it on. 

“How long should we let it run before we light it?” he asked. 

“I don’t know. I never blew up a gopher before,” I said. “But remember what happened on the Fourth of July in Chipmunk Falls when that feller blew up his septic tank. We don’t want that to happen to our yard.” 

“Well, that’s maybe enough,” he said, “Let’s light it and see what happens.” We turned the propane down to a safe lighting speed and touched it off. 

“Stand back everyone. This gopher is about to meet his demise. He will come out one of them holes like he was shot out of a rocket.” Sticking the weed burner in the hole we expected a loud boom. Nothing. 

“I guess we didn’t put enough gas in the hole for it to blow up,” I declared. “Okay, this time we’ll fill ‘er up.”  After letting the gas run for an extended amount of time, plus two minutes, we decided it was time to try again. Everyone ran for cover as I reached as far as the weed burner would go after I lit it. As the lit burner reached the hole, everything we expected to happen didn’t. We all stood there sorta dumbfounded. The torch was burning in the hole but there was no explosion. I knew the gas had saturated through all the gopher’s underground runs but what I didn’t know was the ground was too porous to contain the gas. 

“Hey, you geniuses, look at this,” Lovie said. “The lawn is on fire.” The entire route of underground gopher trails was leaking gas and was now burning with pretty blue flames. Not just the holes but the entire trails that circled our lawn. 

“I’ll get the hotdogs,” she said running for the house laughing like a crazy person. Returning instead with the video camera she exclaimed, “Home videos here we come, this has got to be a winner.”

Windstone started running for home and yelling over his shoulder that he couldn’t be seen on national TV associated with these kinds of people; it would ruin his image as an acclaimed opera star to be caught doing something this stupid. 

“Well, why didn’t you mention the word ‘stupid’, before I lit the torch?” I said. There I stood, out standing in my field, leaning on my shovel and watching the flames slowly go out. We now have a burnt out circle of dead grass that encompasses a large portion of our lawn. As for the gopher, he has added three more holes to our yard and has PETA filing charges against me, claiming cruel and unusual punishment towards woodland creatures.

 

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Author info

Boots Reynolds Boots Reynolds The "internationally-renowned cowboy artist" Boots Reynolds has moved his comedic interpretation of life into the writing field with his regular column in the River Journal - From the Mouth of the River.

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humor, gophers

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