If It Lives…

It seems to me…

It is summer and that means it is time to escape from the confines of our home after what this winter seemed exceptionally wet and confining.  Along with freedom to spend more time outdoors is the necessity of “yard work” which remained neglected since last fall.

My wife, Barb, & I have been fortunate to have owned several brand-new homes.  Of these, some had absolutely no landscaping; others came with a varying – usually minimal – amount of lawn and shrubs in front of the house.  Anything beyond what the builder chose to provide was left to the buyer.

I’m definitely not an artist but tend to view these blank yards as a style categorized as “landscaping by bulldozer”.  As such, they are an empty canvass just waiting to be painted.  In my mind, I see some completed project.  Only once has that canvass been completed almost exactly the way I imagined – usually the reality of two differing perspectives tends to limit what actually can be done.

And while I tend to see the final result prior to starting, I’ve come to accept that Barb, who definitely has exceptional artistic talent, does not necessarily share a similar approach to landscaping.  Regardless of how I try to describe what I see, we generally differ in what eventually actually is done.  Being a fairly typical male, my response to this disagreement usually is a somewhat reluctant “Yes, dear…”.

Barb never would begin a painting without some initial completed result in mind but the closest I can describe her preferred approach to landscaping would be “If it lives, move it”.

Plants are moved repeatedly.  Planter boxes after several years of soil conditioning are moved to another area of the yard.  Even twenty-foot tall trees are not safe from relocation.  Beautiful plants are torn out and discarded.

While I prefer some final result safe from all but periodic maintenance, Barb considers the yard an extension of the home interior and, therefore, as always a work in progress never to be completed.  “Let’s try this.  If we don’t like it, we always can change it…”

Oh well, time to get busy.  There is another tree out there that already has survived a couple of moves but might look better on the other side of the yard.

That’s what I think, what about you?


About lewbornmann

Lewis J. Bornmann has his doctorate in Computer Science. He became a volunteer for the American Red Cross following his retirement from teaching Computer Science, Mathematics, and Information Systems, at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, CO. He previously was on the staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, Stanford University, and several other universities. Dr. Bornmann has provided emergency assistance in areas devastated by hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. He has responded to emergencies on local Disaster Action Teams (DAT), assisted with Services to Armed Forces (SAF), and taught Disaster Services classes and Health & Safety classes. He and his wife, Barb, are certified operators of the American Red Cross Emergency Communications Response Vehicle (ECRV), a self-contained unit capable of providing satellite-based communications and technology-related assistance at disaster sites. He served on the governing board of a large international professional organization (ACM), was chair of a committee overseeing several hundred worldwide volunteer chapters, helped organize large international conferences, served on numerous technical committees, and presented technical papers at numerous symposiums and conferences. He has numerous Who’s Who citations for his technical and professional contributions and many years of management experience with major corporations including General Electric, Boeing, and as an independent contractor. He was a principal contributor on numerous large technology-related development projects, including having written the Systems Concepts for NASA’s largest supercomputing system at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. With over 40 years of experience in scientific and commercial computer systems management and development, he worked on a wide variety of computer-related systems from small single embedded microprocessor based applications to some of the largest distributed heterogeneous supercomputing systems ever planned.
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