I believe I mentioned the existence of lots of growing things on either side of this house previously as a challenge, and I have continually been avoiding doing anything about it, because I am rather unaccustomed to dealing with garden wildernesses without the help of my magic to seek out wasps and the right roots and flowers or where something that should not be disturbed might be living.
But as usual, I find that my annoyingly nosy neighbors have decided to ask if I intend to. Well, neighbor, but they are both to blame as far as I care. It is starting to become very tiresome, this meddling. I feel as if my sister, the Council, my neighbors, and all other form of being have suddenly decided to take great and overbearing interest in my doings. And I am beginning to wonder if my neighbor might even be a spy for the Council – the man has made several overtures for me to come to his house and dine with him while his wife is out of town. I find this most disturbing – we all know very well that eating and drinking what another offers us in their dwelling is an invitation for enchantment!
What does he think I am? A pixie to be enslaved with honey cups and glasses of chilled white wine? (He gave me this last detail as a means to entice me, though I have never tried a chilled white wine, I imagine it to be like a cold mead, which is most intriguing). But despite all, I declined his offer, even when he gave me a bouquet of flowers.
But the flowers and the asking for me to come eat makes me sure he is in place to spy on me, either for the council or for other reasons, and that the flowers were to encourage me to tell the truth. Shame, too, because they were some of the tastiest flowers I have come across in a very long time. I should have asked him where he procured them; I do miss munching on daisies before bed.
Flowers are a dangerous gift. All one needs do is place a little ambrosia dust in the middle of one, and as soon as you might smell or taste the stuff, there you are in a puff of hazy glittering air and glowing for all the Realms to see and they can take you anywhere and do nearly anything to you and you have to tell the truth if they ask you any questions. (Now, it isn’t that I haven’t been tempted to try this trick to woo a certain elf male, but of course, I continue to refrain.)
The neighbor did not stop at his flowers, I might add. He kept telling me exactly how long his wife would be out of town, and indeed she got back yesterday as he predicted. I wonder if this was some way of telling me is is watching me, or has powers of omniscience? What is the goal when a human reports how long their spouse is away?
The day she got back, the wife even bothered me. I was sitting out in the back yard, contemplating if the magical tracking the Council uses to help me maintains focus on the house alone might allow me a stroll. (I’d just found a lovely little fluttery dress in the things Flora brought me, and wanted to feel the wind on my skin as I strode about.) I was on the front walk, when she came over, walking the way my mother used to fly when I had left something out in the rain to ruin, and told me that my garden was a total disgrace and that I needed to do something about it. And didn’t I need to have pants on.
I’m not sure why she asked that about my outfit; she has worn skirts before, so I believe they are clearly a part of the human wardrobe. Perhaps she was concerned I might catch a chill. It was hard to tell, because she was obviously upset about something, and she asked me a few questions about her husband and what he was up to while she was away. Maybe they are playing spying games against each other, and she is feeling upset that he guessed when she would be back and is trying to get back at him. Maybe she hid some kind of spying device in my grass and the length of it is interfering with it’s working. Human gadgets could be disturbed by grass, maybe. They are easily disturbed by things like “solar flares” and bumps and moisture, so I do not see it as being impossible.
Anyway, she did seem plenty mad, and I do not wish to draw any of her anger my way if I can help it. I have enough trouble.
So, my friends, I have successfully managed to mow my front yard. (The back, I suspect will need the weeds and things pulled out of the ground manually, which will have to happen later.) I did not do an incredibly good job at mowing, I suspect, because this was my first time operating machinery at all, and as I have said before, I am rather insecure about dealing with anything I might find living in the yard without my magic to help guard me. It seems that people like to mow in some kind of very specific way, but I cannot quite grasp what is so special about one method over another.
You will need:
- A hag stone – if you cannot actually find an authentic, adder stone, then any rock with a hole in it will do.
- Lawn mower – I found a lawn mower in the little shack that humans call a “shed” in back, and it appears to run on electricity, because I had to plug it in with a long orange power cord. It reminds me of the vacuum contraption I have not yet found the courage to use, I fear it may suck up something important, and then where does it go? Is the vacuum a portal into another place where it disappears? Is there an alleating nomgog living inside of it? Or is it as boring as all the other human things are and must be emptied, so sucked up objects are not lot forever? Oh well, back to mowing.
- Somewhere to put grass trimmings – in my case, this is an extra garbage bin that is reserved for organic waste. Most convenient.
First, since so many varieties of Folk like to live hidden in grasses and things, and many are very good at concealing themselves when living in human territories, make sure to scan the yard for any signs of them by looking through the hole in your hag stone. Of course, I am not allowed any magical implements, so I had to do this by tramping about and ringing a bell, to make sure they all left the yard before I got started, which seemed to amuse some of the youths on my stet to no end. You might think they weren’t taught anything about how to scare off mystical creatures. Negligence, for sure.
Luckily, my yard seemed free of any of the things that might wish to inhabit such lovely tall grass, and so I was able to get on with mowing.
As I said, this particular mower is electricity driven*, and so I must watch for the cord at all times, so I decided the best was was to hold the cord behind me and attack the grass in a forward and back kind of motion, going over each patch of grass and weeds until it seemed shorn close enough to the ground. Some patches were tall enough that I had to raise the end of the lawn mower and sort of set it down on top.
The way these mower things work is they have blades beneath a big compartment that spin around and cut the grass, then the clippings are flung back into a bag kind of thing, like what one might pack harvested krikri eggs into to take home. This bag fills up quite quickly when the lawn has been let to grow, and so must be emptied into the receptacle. Just take it off, dump all the trimmings into the open top of the bin, then stick it back on and keep mowing. If you wait too long, then, well, it’s messy and probably just trust me on this. Empty it often.
And there, now my neighbor lady has not reason to be angry with me anymore, and she can turn her attention to figuring out how her husband knows so blighted much. At least while she is back, he probably won’t be asking me to come and eat his evil food offerings for now. At least I hope.**
*The Internet tells me that most lawn mowers are gas and oil powered, and give off noxious fumes. I am most grateful for the inconvenient but not poisonous option of electricity. There are others which have a bunch of spinning blades that move when the contraption is pushed forward by hand, but that is just creepy. And all that iron to possibly touch? No. In my human disguise, I am not so badly hurt by iron as most fae, but I do not wish to handle spinning blades of death either.
**Although this issue is a welcome distraction from my Council troubles.