Monday, May 7, 2012

I love dandelions

There, I said it. Now every lawn fanatic out there is going to get their knickers in a knot. Especially when I tell them that their obsessive quest for the perfect lawn needs to be stopped. Why?

Lawns use three times more water than corn does in America.
They require constant mowing, which uses gas or hydro
We poison our community with pesticides used to kill off insects, good and bad ones
We poison our community with herbicides to kill off everything but a single breed of cultivated grass.
We further pollute our already unclean water with fertilizers, artificial or natural it all runs off.

And why? So we can have a green carpet when you just as easily Astroturf it. You might as well, since that's what it looks like.

The biggest crime is this goes on even in parts of the country where water is always in short supply. But all that aside, why are people so obsessed with having a perfect, sterile mono-culture mat growing on their property? It supports no life, and what it does support, lawn owners spend millions of dollars killing it, along with any other insect, even the valuable ones. Pesticide makes no distinction. Don't people stop and think about what they are doing when they have to post signs all over their lawn to stay off it, it's toxic? Doesn't that ring any alarm bells?

Why can't we learn to love a rich, multi flora lawn filled with ground cover? I've seen spreads of small lavender flower as well as white, that would be lovely to look at, require minimal care and more than likely would take next to no water to survive. And dandelions. I defy anyone to look at a field filled with dandelions no to see how beautiful it is. There aren't many cultured plants that have that brilliant a shade of yellow. And if we did more of that sort of planting – really just encouraging them to grow – everybody would have a unique yard, that would also be home for other living things. There'd be no more daily watering needed, no using gas or electricity to mow everything to a uniform 2 inches of green desert. There'd also be no expense in buying seed, fertilizer or pesticides. Your kids could roll around on the lawn with no threat of being exposed to toxins of one kind or another. Ditto your pets.

On top of all that, you can eat them. I've seen dandelion leaves sold at the supermarket. They're great in salads, the flowers are sweet, you can make wine out of them too. And if you have pets like rabbits or other plants eaters, they'll consider them a delicacy. My rabbits loved dandelions and clover—another colorful lawn covering.

Pat Brown pens M/M crime fiction. Her L.A. series, featuring LAPD homicide detective David Eric Laine and his lover Christopher Bellamere, is currently undergoing major revisions which will come out over the next few months. Her frolicking gay romance MAN'S BEST FRIENDS will be out soon. Her other series with Santa Barbara Detective Alexander Spider and his lover Jason Zachary was recently re-released with new covers and revised content.

She is also the author of stand alone novels MEMORY OF DARKNESS, LYNX WOODS, FALL INTO THE NIGHT, and shorter pieces THE BEAR and PLACING OUT.

Her latest novel, LATIN BOYZ was recently released by AmberQuill Press. This novel represents the years I lived in Los Angeles and the years since in the path I've taken since leaving L.A. It's dark and tragic, but it's also filled with love and faith. It is by no means a standard romance novel. Rather, it deals with strong characters who have to fight to find both safety and love that some call wrong. Come and see for yourself

... beautifully written, a solid, well-crafted story given life with all your LA street and police smarts, and an incredibly satisfying
read. I can't say how, but I think your writing got deeper emotionally in this book...  this book was a feast -- Lloyd Meeker

This is my newest and possibly darkest novel. if you like your romance with a dark edge, then LATIN BOYZ is just the fix you need.  Pushing the envelope on romance. Enter a world of violence where the only thing worth holding onto is your family.


Twenty-one year old Gabe will do anything to keep his family safe from the Locusts XIII Crew, a Cypress Park gang, especially his 14-year-old sister Nattie. In Gabe's struggle to keep his small, fragile family safe, he meets LAPD patrol officer Alejandro Cerveras and must come to terms with his attraction to him--and decide whether to believe his Church’s teachings or what his heart tells him. Then tragedy strikes, fueling his rage. As the need for vengeance drives him past all reason, violence and hatred erupt between Gabe and the gangbangers, spiraling out of control, leading to tragedy and the greatest loss of all.


Thanksgiving, Cypress Park, South-Central Los Angeles

P-Bull swung the thugged-out Buick onto Merced Street.

Sadboy shoved the barrel of his gun out the car window. "Gonna get us a piece of White Fence ass," he screamed. "Bang, bang. Fucking lame-ass chuntaros!"

"I'm down with it." P-Bull jacked a load into his Raven and checked the sight. Beside him Sadboy rocked and grinned and waved the chrome around. Happy as a shitbird. "Don't go shooting your ass off, mijo." 

P-Bull knew this street. He grew up here. He rolled past yards he'd spilled blood in years ago, before the Locusts jumped him in. Down the street little kids played some little kid game, making noise. Old chocho pushed a lawn mower and spit grass all over his skinny legs. The puta, Gabe's mother, and his sister, Nattie, came out of the house beside the White Fence crib. That little girl gettin' all grown up. Gonna have to pay her a visit soon. That sweet little fox about ready to meet a real man.

"There he is!" Sadboy shouted when a scrawny boy P-Bull recognized as Ruiz, the new White Fence banger, came out of the house. Sadboy bounced on the Buick's seat, waving his chrome around. P-Bull was gonna tell him to cool it when the fool opened fire. He yipped and hollered while he sprayed the front of the houses with brass. "The White Fence pussy ocho make a run for it."

P-Bull lit in a second later, blowing the running man down. Gabe's mother ducked. Her and Gabe's sister went down in a tangle, the girl's fine strong legs in the air for everyone to see. Man, he had to get a taste of that.

"Where you from now!" Sadboy screamed. He punched P-Bull's shoulder. "Lay it down."

P-Bull stared at the front yard where the old woman and daughter lay sprawled on the ground. "Later, Sancha." 

Gabe flew down the stairs. From half a block away, P-Bull laughed. When the man who had once been his best friend screamed and fell to his knees beside his mother, P-Bull's lip curled.

"Balless coward, should go back and cap your ass." Before he could act on the thought and throw the Buick into reverse, a black and white, followed by another, screamed around the corner. P-Bull slipped the Raven under his belt.

Sadboy grew so excited, P-Bull thought sure he'd start firing out the car window again like Clint Eastwood as some baddass cop. P-Bull reached over and clipped the back of Sadboy's head.

"Idiot, you lookin' to get 5-0 after us? Put that away."

Sadboy sullenly did, glowering at the dashboard.

P-Bull slipped the car into first, driving slowly, to avert 5-0's attention.

He cranked the music up, rocking to words about killing cops and banging whores. His hand slapped against the car door in beat to the rap; his shaved head bobbed.

All the time he watched the activity behind him.

The cops swarmed out of their cars. One checked Ruiz, then spoke into his shoulder mic. The others approached Gabe, guns coming out when Gabe stared at them blankly, not reacting to to them and what they were probably telling him to do. 

P-Bull couldn't hear the words but he knew what was coming. Gabe ignored 5-0 and crawled over to his sister, cradling her in his arms. P-Bull watched to see if she was alive. Be a pity if she died before she got to meet him. 

Both cops screamed and drew closer to the kneeling man.

Even from the slowly moving car, P-Bull could see the blood on both Gabe and his sister. He howled with laughter when one cop, female, finally proned Gabe out, yanked his hands behind his back. She hauled him, his face and T-Shirt soaked in crimson, to the curb and stuffed him in the back of a cruiser.

"Don't need to cap his ass." P-Bull threw his head back and laughed. "5-0 do it for us." 

With the cops; attention somewhere else, he turned the car down a narrow alley to Pepper Street, getting clear of the streets before 5-0 started looking around for suspects. Not that they'd look too hard. It was just brown barrio chollos lying on the ground.

Once on Cypress, P-Bull laughed and punched down on the gas, spewing oily smoke and burnt rubber when they left Pepper. They circled back, passing Merced where cops and ambulances turned the street into a carnival of lights.

P-Bull didn't hear any sirens following them while they fled to Eagle Rock, looking to chase some dragon.

""Takin' care of business," he said and knuckled Sadboy. "Right on. Locusts rule!"

"Fuckin' A." Sadboy giggled. "You see that cabrĂ£o go down? Fuck White Fence."

"Fuck 'em all."


Stormie Kent said...

Hello Pat,
What an interesting view on lawn care. You do make valid points.

Tina Donahue said...

I live in Palm Springs so we don't have a lot of grass out here, except for the golf courses where it's more of less required (at least that's what I've heard as I don't play golf). I like the desert landscaping, cacti, ocotillos, palms. It's beautiful and with the drip systems they employ, we don't use that much water.

Mrs Condit said...

I love your post about dandelions vs lawn grass. I totally agree! I also want to put in a word here for growing vegetables and fruits instead of seasonal flowers and shrubs that do nothing except hide the foundation. The food plants also flower and some have gorgeous leaves, so you get dinner and a pretty garden. I have a lot to say about keeping a pesticide-free garden but will save it for another time. Just know you invite more pests when you use pesticides than when you don't use them at all.

P.A.Brown said...

If food prices keep going up -- and they will -- there might be more and more people putting in vegetable gardens. I love the idea some cities are doing by turning vacant lots and rooftops into community gardens. Let's hope we see more of that.

Fiona McGier said...

Pat, I swear everytime I read your stuff I wonder if we were separated at birth! My husband wants a bumper sticker that says, "My lawn doesn't have a chemical dependency and a drinking problem...does yours?"

Our lawn is proudly untreated, and the local critters love it! Butterflies abound on our wildflowers and the chickadees love the coneflower seeds.