For the past few years now I have occasionally shared my adventures in landscaping with the Bison readers. Since buying my first home in 2010 — one which happens to be located on a pretty well-manicured street — I have been trying to overcome a birth defect involving my thumbs. Thankfully they are bendable, and they are opposable. But alas, they are not green.
While my neighbors preside over lawns that would make some golf courses look like dumping grounds, I have presided for the last four years over an empire of dirt, weeds and dying shrubbery. For 48 months in a row, I have consistently failed to win “Yard of the Month” in my neighborhood. In fact, one month I lost to an untended vacant lot.
It’s bad enough that I have no control over the flora in my yard, but I am also under assault from the fauna. I’ve had moles tunneling under my lawn, frogs invading the sanctity of my house and ants massing near any available water supply. Not only have I failed to combat these plagues, but now a new front has opened up in my fight against the wild kingdom of Searcy.
Now the birds have me in their cross-hairs, and they have focused all their firepower on my mailbox. Do you see what I’m up against? From the earth, the water, and now the sky, this siege of animals is threatening to bring my home to its knees.
This summer in particular, my stainless-steel mailbox has been the target of especially intense shelling. I realize that the white menace has been a problem for homeowners since the beginning of suburbia, and that everyone is a potential target. But any person taking a stroll through Live Oak Drive during July would have been struck by the disproportionate damage received by one letterbox in particular.
After many hours scrubbing up the mess, I tried consulting experts about this problem. My hairdresser suggested that I coat the mailbox with cooking spray. She felt that the glistening surface might be a deterrent, or that the slick metal would interfere with any air-to-surface landing. At the very least, she noted, a coat of Pam would make the box easier to clean afterwards. So I tried this. Unfortunately, it did not work. However, I’m happy to announce that I can now make a nice omelet on the surface of my mailbox.
Ever loyal to my experts, I went back to the hairdresser, who next proposed that I put up some fishing line around the general area. Apparently, birds are frightened by its shimmering reflection and do not approach it. While I wondered what bizarre past experience had engendered this phobia, I was getting desperate and was willing to try anything.
So I bought some fishing line and set out to rig an intricate system of wires from my mailbox to the grass. When I finished wrapping line around the top of the box and securing it to the ground with nails, the whole thing now resembled those laser tripwires that you always see in jewelry heist movies. In fact, it might have been easier just to hide behind the mailbox and stick my foot out when a bird flew past.
The next day, I went outside to find the box more befouled than ever, with a note attached to the fishing line that said, “nice try.” On top of that, someone had hung a pair of blue jeans out to dry.
Whenever I travel home to Georgia, there are certain rest stops that I always visit on the way. So, I guess my mailbox is just located on a convenient migratory off-ramp, and I’ll just have to get used to the summer traffic. But it’s exhausting to clean up after these feathered tourists. This whole thing is starting to wear me down. In fact, I’m down-right pooped.