I don’t remember when, exactly, I quit missing our lawn.

To me, a lawn was always just one of those things you had if you had a house, but truth be told I’m rather enjoying not having a lawn.

Nearly three years have passed since we killed off the grass in the front yard and replaced it with drought-tolerant landscaping and, eventually, a variety of fruit trees, vegetables, berries, grapes and other plants of the food-bearing variety.

I enjoy the look, and the bounty.

Earlier this year, we took out the small patch of remaining grass on the property.

The turf had not been doing well, and when faced with the decision of trying to re-establish the small backyard lawn or expanding the garden, the grass went by the wayside.

Today, any grass on the property is unwanted and therefore officially considered a “weed.”

Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Now, I don’t have anything against lawns. I still have a great appreciation, actually, for a well-manicured, lush lawn.

Certainly, a lawn is almost a necessity for families with young children, who need open, outdoor spaces to play and explore.

On that note, our grandchildren don’t have a grassy expanse on which to play when they come to visit....but they do seem to enjoy learning about the different things that are growing, and love seeing what fruits and vegetables they can find that are ripe for harvest. They, like Kat and I, have been known to eat their way through the garden, sampling as they go.

Our dog Zoey may be the family member who least likes the absence of grass. Her “zone” is now covered with a rich variety of melon vines, pepper plants, cucumbers and more.....so Zoey has had to be creative in finding new places around the yard to do her business.

As for the neighbors.....well, I truthfully don’t know what they think of our no-grass yards. Nobody said a whole lot, but on the other hand a number of neighbors have or are moving away. Perhaps that is just coincidence.

Certainly what we have done is not for everybody, but it works for us.

No grass, by the way, does not mean no work. Far from it.

Kat is the gardener by nature, and tends to the variety of trees and plants. I pitch in primarily when the chore at hand is a little more daunting.....like last week, when we scored a large load of wood chips to freshly top the yard - one garden wagon load at a time. That work should pay dividends, however, as the green leaves and chips will enrich the soil as they break down, another step to the “perma-culture” setting we are trying to create.

I realized one morning last week, as I was moving wood chips by the wagon load in the early hours to avoid the heat, that I like what has been created - which is to Kat’s credit, not mine.

And I also realize that I truly don’t miss having a grass lawn.

• Fall Festival time is upon us.

The 2018 festivities will begin next Thursday evening when a new Miss Newman is crowned, and continue through a weekend jam-packed with events and activities.

The Fall Festival is a long-standing community tradition now in its 48th year.

You will read more about what is in store next week, as we publish our Fall Festival program in the Tuesday Review and will have additional coverage Thursday.

Some events, such as the photography contest and BMX races, are going by the wayside this year while others, including a cornhole tournament, are added to the ever-changing schedule of events.

I like that established, traditional events continue to be the cornerstone of the festival, while a few new wrinkles are added each year.

Our congratulations to Joe’s Landscaping & Concrete and the Garcia family for being named Fall Festival grand marshal.

They are among the many individuals and organizations whose behind-the-scenes support of the Fall Festival makes the whole thing possible.

Labor Day weekend is a busy one in Newman.....but a good busy, and it sounds like another celebration to remember is in the works.

• Aviation has been co-existing with high-tech automotives of late at the Gustine Municipal Airport, where Tesla has been testing its autonomous vehicles in various scenarios.

If the preliminary agreement between the city and auto-maker proves out, the city stands to benefit financially and the sight of Teslas on the runway will be common for some time to come.

Nope. You don’t see that every day.

Dean Harris the Managing Editor of the West Side Index and Gustine Press-Standard. He can be reached at dharris@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 243-8104.