Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm alive, I promise.

This is just a quick note to say that I haven't been doing much on the house lately.  Life is good and I've been spending time enjoying the yard rather than working in it.  I feel like I've earned a tiny break even if I do start to feel lazy at times.  All of those plans I had to replace the west fence and paint the cement slab . . . well the sun finally came out and there's all this beer to drink and friends to entertain and weekends to spend out of town.  

The last year has been crazy and fun and I've been really happy.  It's been hard sometimes, feeling like I needed to justify doing something that makes me happy (people seemed oddly fixated on the fact that I was single--it's great to buy a house but why not find a HUSBAND first?).  A lot of people hate home improvement so they regard me as a lunatic with no life.  But how often do you get to acquire a whole new skill set at your own pace?  I learned how to do basic plumbing and electrical and how to build a fence and tape drywall corners and I never once worried about getting fired.  I also love hosting and cooking for people; I'd haul out another 1900 pounds of concrete for the simple joy of splitting a bottle of wine and dinner with a friend in my newish backyard. 

Now I just have to deal with people who expect that I'm constantly in the middle of some home improvement project. 

"What are you working on now?  Gutting your kitchen?"

"Um . . . the plants have filled in?"  I also changed the lightbulb in the bathroom.  JEEZ, LAY OFF ME.

Those piles of dirt are still in front of the house . . . I'll get there eventually.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Garden therapy

I've moved to a new schedule for summer term where I work four ten-hour days Monday through Thursday, with Fridays off.  That means I get to play all weekend with my friends but I still get a full day to work in the yard and get my garden therapy.

This section is in between the new hillock and the area where I found the hatch with all that buried concrete.  I wanted to remove the grass and mulch it and put more plants in so I'd have one uninterrupted stretch of landscape along the new fence.

But there was basically a field of dock (Rumex) which looks like this:

They're sort of pretty.  Except that they spread like crazy and their roots look like this.

You have to dig them out with a shovel because they're HUGE.  It sucks.  Short of rototilling that area, I didn't see any way to eradicate it without using herbicides.  My last ditch effort was to put down an insanely thick layer of newspaper under the mulch in an attempt to choke out the dock.

A side note: Newspaper is awesome for weed suppression until the neighborhood cats cruise into your yard and think, "Phenomenal. She built a gigantic litter box for us."  Their digging exposes the underlying newspaper and the bark dust gets flung around.  I love animals but outdoor cats can suck it.

Lelo had recommended that I goth up my garden by adding some dark dramatic plants to break up the green.  Black lace elderberry, dark purple euphorbia, and black tulips should do the trick. The fact that you can make wine from elderberries had nothing to do with this decision, I swear.

Despite all the hillocks and topography I'm building, that mountain of dirt out front isn't shrinking.  I'm starting to suspect it's multiplying at night.  I found a bottle of scotch lying next to the dirt pile the other morning.  I can only assume that the dirt pile is getting drunk and amoral while I sleep.