I looked out my front window on Sunday evening and was surprised. The hedge I had planned to trim three weeks ago had grown another six inches and was looking rough and ragged – obviously it never got trimmed. I had good intentions of giving it a haircut in July, but I ended up on the road two weekends in a row as I attended a friend’s graduation from a Teen Challenge rehab centre and then participated in Tiro Mthembu’s wedding celebration at Elbow. Both events were fun and the wedding coincided with the arrival of our children, spouses and our granddaughter.
I won’t go into detail about our adorable one-year-old granddaughter Grace and her cute antics, but spending time with her definitely took precedence over all yard work. In fact, she superseded everything as we had only a week to spend with her and her parents (Jordan and Danielle) and our other children.
Getting back to yard work, I managed to get the worst of the weeds removed from our back yard before company arrived. I was hoping someone else close to me would see the need to remove dandelions from our grass, but she was focused on the garden and Grace (mostly on Grace), so needless to say the dandelion-removal project remains a work in progress and it is confined to our backyard.
I had every intention of having things in tip-top shape for the Communities in Bloom (CiB) judging this Thursday, but work has not progressed this year according to plan. June and July were extremely busy months at work and we put in a lot of long hours. Angela and I were fortunate to escape and make a couple of fast road trips which were included in last week’s news. We have plans for a much longer road trip and will provide details at a future date. As we plan our trip, other people are preparing to travel to Maple Creek this week to grade our town in the provincial CiB competition. I hope I am the only person who feels poorly prepared this year.
I have seen some people tidying up and mowing boulevards which is very encouraging considering the town felt compelled to send out 115 notices to property owners requesting they clean up their premises. It is a little embarrassing that such a large number of letters had to be sent out. It makes me wonder if we slowly become accustomed to junk and debris in our lives and fail to see it after a while, kind of like ignoring bad habits or health conditions and pretending they don’t exist. Pretending will never make it real and the problem only intensifies with every passing day.
Why is it someone will purchase a drink or snack and toss the container or wrapper on the ground when the contents have been consumed? The next person who passes by will take the extra effort to pick up the litter that could have easily been put in a garbage can. Why is it that junk is left on property and grass is not cut? Like I stated earlier, it is embarrassing that 115 letters had to be sent to property owners.
It’s also a little embarrassing to see grass and weeds growing out of curbs and asphalt on streets. It is not a new phenomena and seems to get out of hand every year in some areas before it is dealt with. If there is not an annual plan to address this issue, the areas should be mapped and put on the spring and summer agenda.
We should all take great pride in this little town and the good things that are happening here. There will always be some moaners, groaners and complainers because it is easier to bitch about stuff than get involved and help find a solution. A rant can be entertaining (such as in the case of Rick Mercer), but actual problem solving takes far more time and energy and therefore most people do not want to get involved.
Tidying up and helping Maple Creek look good for the 2015 Communities in Bloom competition is an easy and great way to be part of the solution to unsightly yards. Cleaning up also leaves a person with a sense of accomplishment and helps promote community pride. We live in a wonderful town and it should present that image to visitors, judges and residents.
An effective clean up starts with taking an objective look – an assessment – of your own personal space. It begins with an honest critiquing of your environment and asking the question, “Is there anything (anything) I can do to improve my living space and make it look better?” Usually it’s the little things that make a property look good: cut the grass, remove junk and debris, store supplies or stockpiles neatly in unused and unseen areas, and keep the hedge trimmed (note to self).
Last year, our town was awarded five out of five blooms by the CiB judges. That alone should be enough to remind me to trim our hedge immediately, hauling my wife’s bags of wood chips to the backyard storage area, and limb our elm trees when the pruning ban is removed.
I hope we can all enjoy the good feeling that comes with cleaning up and find even more satisfaction in the town we call home.