Sunday, August 29, 2010

Some Things DON'T Like it Hot

My upstate New York yard is feeling the heat.  Badly.  The browning grass is receding, like gums around raising teeth, to expose rocks and more rocks.  First the grass turns brown, then doesn't grow back after mowing, then a rock starts to show.  My mountain is a thin skin of green over a core made of rock. Last year was lush and moist and I didn't see all these rocks. It turns cutting the grass into a random pattern of rock-avoidance.

I am a task-oriented person.  I learned this when I worked at GEICO.  (GEICO is the best place I ever worked.  It took a  while to get past my dislike of insurance in general, but afterwards, I saw that it's a very well-managed company, and the place where I've gotten my best working experience.)

One of the extensive trainings they give teaches people how to work effectively with other people (good for people like me whose job it is to make change happen).  It teaches not the golden rule (treat people the way you want to be treated), but the platinum rule (treat other people the way they want to be treated). First, it teaches you whether you're a person who is motivated by relationships or motivated by tasks, and how to identify which type of person you're working with based on what questions they ask.  "Who will I be working with?" is a relationship person.  "What will I be doing?" is a task-oriented person. If you want to successfully make change happen, you deal with task-oriented people differently from relationship-oriented people.  It's one of the most valuable lessons I've learned.  Ever.  I'm a task-oriented person. 

Normally I relish a weekend alone on the mountain.  I get a sense of accomplishment from completing farm-y tasks.  But this weekend, my first without the goats (it's actually the second weekend, but I was busy last weekend with social stuff), finds me all, "what now?," and thinking about relationships. The list of tasks that held me to the ground is gone.  I made a substitute task this week - can tomatoes, but I find myself with a counter full of tomatoes thinking, "bleh."  A real homesteader would do it anyway, because these tomatoes are this winter's food.  But I have the luxury of feeling sorry for myself and wimping out.  I wandered around the house, picked things up, put them back down and felt at loose ends and lonely.

Then I hit upon the one task that unfailingly makes me feel good - cutting the grass.  It's several hours if you include all the preparation.  I divided it over two days, added some general neatening up and that's the weekend, gone.


  1. I know how you feel about avoiding rocks when mowing. My weed filled lawn has huge rocks all over the place...and I don't live on a mountain! I think upstate NY is just a whole lot of rocks...

  2. The thing about rocks, is that you have to pull out the weedwacker to get rid of those pesky sticky-uppy parts around the rocks. I don't, so my yard *never* looks smooth.