The sounds of summer -- 06/09/05

Ah, the sounds of summer...

Bird song early in the morning... Unless I have gone to sleep quite late or have had my sleep disturbed, I tend to wake up by six o'clock. In fact, I'm frequently awake before my alarm goes off. (Some how my body clock has decided that six hours is a full night's sleep. Thus, I get to hear and enjoy the birds.

Right now I can hear another sound of summer... a lawn mower.

I don't mind the sound of a gasoline-powered mower. The distant sound of a lawn mower on a warm summer day seems to me to be part of the sleepy charm of summer -- after all, if I am hearing the sound through my open window, it must be somebody else who is out there working on that lawn, right? (Having said that, I must add that I do find the sound of those power leaf blowers to be annoying.)

Until we moved to Rhode Island I always used a reel-type manual push mower. That worked just fine on the small yard we used to have (take a sixth of an acre city lot, add house, driveway, garage, garden, etc. and there isn't a huge amount of lawn to be trimmed). Here we have a half acre lot and, even after subtracting house and driveway and gardens and trees, there is still a fair amount of lawn to be mowed (although not as much as there was before we ripped up the front yard and divided it into half lawn and half garden). We've been using an electric mower here -- much quieter than a gasoline engine and no need to take the fire risk of storing a container of gasoline.

This past fall we began having our lawn done by a local teenager. This kid -- one of Nancy's 8th grade students so he is only now turning 14 -- started moving lawns near his house when he was around ten years old. When he was twelve he bought a fairly expensive riding mower with his own money. He shows up driving his riding mower and towing a trailer on which he carries a small power mower (for tight areas where his riding mower won't fit) plus a gasoline-powered weed-wacker trimmer, plus other tools like rakes, etc. Nancy had him do our lawn in the early autumn because his machine could gather up all of the fallen leaves off the lawn (we are surrounded by about eleven million oak trees -- at least it seems like that many when you have to rake up their leaves) and that looked so good that we had him come back every couple of weeks to keep the yard clean. We've had him come back this spring and I think we will just keep having him do our lawn on a regular basis. (In the winter he plows sidewalks and driveways -- but I've preferred shoveling them myself.) He told Nancy that this past weekend he wanted to have Sunday free so he worked eleven hours on Saturday. This kid may be a millionaire by the time he graduates from high school.

Other sounds of summer... car stereo systems.

Yeah, yeah, I know they can be very annoying when some drives down the street blasting rap crap at window-shattering volume

This is the trunk of Jeremy's car. He ripped out his old system and is reinstalling it with some up-graded components, including having two separate amplifiers (that's what is on those two levels of shelves on the right) and that is his sub-woofer on the left -- he is building the enclosures out of particle board and then covering that with felt-like carpeting to match the car's trunk lining. He assures me that he does not drive through town with rap music (or anything else -- he has fairly eclectic tastes in music, enjoying classical and jazz and bluegrass, for example, as well as house and techno and rap) cranked up at high volumes.

And this round object in the picture below -- that's his spare tire lying on our garage floor. He has no space for it in his trunk.

It could be worse -- One of his friends has no back seat in his car (an older BMW) because that space is filled with stereo equipment.

And, of course, the jingling sounds of the ice cream man... a sound that I can remember from my own childhood and from when my kids were little and which still can be heard today.

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