Sunday, June 01, 2008

How I spent my weekend

The front yard has been a disaster area since we moved in three and change years ago, and although I've made a few moves to improve it, it has been mostly weeds most of the time.

Assets include four Russian sage plants (planted by me), two trees that survived out of the lot of 10 from the Arbor Day people a few years ago (though one is pretty bent and needs staking), a rhododendron (one of the three great objects, don't you know), a pretty carnation-like plant that has tons of little pink flowers, three pussy willows and an assortment of hyacinth, grape hyacinth, tulips and now about a half-dozen lunaria (those really cool silver dollar plants that have the funky seed pods and look like this when blooming (thank you UNH Cooperative Extension for the photo!):

However, as is so true of most of life, assets have been outnumbered by liabilities, including:
  • Crabgrass (I'm thinking it's so named for its weird shoots that usually run underground)
  • Armyworms (curses!)

  • Weird wild carrot/parsley type weeds that are nearly ineradicable and unusually numerous.
  • Other weird wild carrot/parsley type weeds that are nearly ineradicable and unusually numerous.
  • Assorted weedy grasses, which combined with the crabgrass apparently give the armyworms a great neighborhood to live in.
  • A square concrete pad, about 4 feet on a side, which I was reminded today is (was :) about eight fucking inches thick (code for sidewalks is 3 or 4 inches), poured by the city in the distant past to accommodate a previous resident.
  • Three oddly placed square concrete tiles, about 15 inches on a side, maybe for a walkway? (these are now an asset, of course)
  • 400,000 river rocks varying in size from thumbnail to Palestinian grenade (heavy enough to dent a tank, in other words).
  • Relentless sunshine and a busy street with the mountains on one end and damn near Oregon on the other, which is another way of saying about 400,000,000 weed seeds blowing into the yard a week.
Saturday, I trimmed the pussy willows (yes, I thought of that, too) and dug out the more stony side of the yard, retrieving so many stones I could make a snazzy dish for the outdoor faucet and the downspout from the gutters, as well as surrounding the water meter with a significant pond of stones.

I rearranged the concrete tile things so they are now three diamonds in a row, kind of Japanese walkway style. I dug up maybe 250 pounds of weeds, too. I got two blisters and a good night's sleep.

Today (Sunday), I dug out the other side of the yard, but not completely, because I did the same thing when we moved in so it wasn't critical. But I did zap most of the crabgrass and dug out several armyworms. I observed a wolf spider, several centipedes, some unidentifiable spiders, a ton of people at the neighbor's yard sale and some pretty clouds.

I also demolished the concrete slab using an electric jackhammer (I did sing Jackhammer John while I was at it (for two hours)) borrowed from my neighbor, whose kindly daughter and several other relatives helped me chuck into the back of a truck. I got the hang of the jackhammer when I had about 1 square foot left to demo. Today, I re-got the two blisters, plus another. But it was well worth it.

Anyway, the plan is to plant eight lavender plants (picked up in Oregon - no sales tax and friendlier businesses with lower prices than up here), stake the tree that needs it - and maybe move it - and infill with poppy and black-eyed Susan seeds.

In case you were wondering, and had the patience to get this far, black-eyed Susans are my favorite flower.

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