Enough rain fell this week to send grass shooting up in the South 40, also known at the front yard of Chateau Thompson. This means getting the John Deere out of mothballs, sharpening the three blades on the cutting deck, and tackling the three acres of yard before the National Forest Service declares it a wilderness area.

Actually, I fired up the Deere last week, hooking up the wagon to traverse the propety and pick up branches and other debris from the latest wind storm, then loading it and the roller onto the trailer for a trip over to the St. Lawrences so they could roll the gravel of thier new driveway.

At some point, we plan to replant the lower part of the South 40 with trees, reducing the yard to a more manageable acre of so and eliminating the need to defy gravity on the 35-degree slope that cascades from mid-yard to the creek and rocks below.

Until then, however, the two-day exercises in yard maintenance begin in earnest this week. I never thought mowing the yard might generate a need for a home loan but with gas headed toward $3 a gallon, just mowing the yard requires two tanks and about $20 worth of petrol.