Posts Tagged With: backyard

A Fence Fiasco


We moved into this strange house in the middle of the summer, knowing that the house had been beautifully flipped but the yard was a travesty of epic proportions.  I pulled cactus and dead rose bushes for months.  Almost five years in the making, and the front yard is looking decent.  We haven’t touched the back yard, except to put in two raised beds amongst the weeds so I can have tomatoes.

Although we have had the funds to do small projects, the fence has been beyond us.  Every time we think we’ve finally saved for it we get some sort of a disaster.  The car needs a whole new transmission, and the stove broke, and, and…

I think now this was probably fate.

In the week long rains of two weeks ago, the world softened.  The rusty nails holding the fence together slipped free, and the fence collapsed – revealing a rather beautiful hedge of cypress trees that the neighbors had erected.

Brian and I looked at the glimpse of elfin style we had beyond the weeds and decrepit fence and saw potential.  It looks like we’re just going to take down the back fence and enjoy the trees, since the hedge is a solid screen and we don’t have to worry about keeping any pets in.  It will help us when we go to replace the rest of the fence too.  That back stretch was the longest and most expensive.  Bonus!

Now to find the time to take the old one fully down… Which I’m sure I’ll manage in a fit of tomato longing in the next month or so.  This year, now that I don’t have to spend 20 hours a day holding a baby, there is produce in my future.  I’m determined.  And the baby can dig in the dirt with me.  Just as long as I get the fence down first.

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Break Finished


Brian and I had a, well, interesting break.  We had one giddy day of fun down in San Juan Capistrano.  We took the train down, roamed the Mission gardens, ate lunch at the best little Italian café in the old train station building, and then wandered the kitschy shops before hopping the train home again.  I trounced Brian at Lost Cities, and then he trounced me at Love Letter.

The rest of vacation we spent putting the house in order.  I did massive dishes, put the all-year decorations up after the Christmas decorations came down (thanks Brian!), and cleaned out my closet.  Brian dug up sprinkler lines, marveled at the stupidity and redundancy of them, and then installed a billion anti-siphon valves (okay, just 4) so all the random cut-off lines we found can be useable lines.  I feel a lot of gardening in my future.  In between, there was much catching up with friends, tons of cookies, and a little bit of D&D.

I am NOT ready to come back to work.  It’s times like these I wish I was independently wealthy.

I am tripping along on my resolutions.  One of my gifts was a Kindle, and I am THRILLED with the way it syncs to Goodreads.  So much easier than trying to put them in one by one as I finish them.  I think getting to 100 books will be easier than ever this year.  I have written 3 of 4 days of the new year, too.  Considering a couple of those days were weekends (when I usually don’t write), so that’s pretty good.

It feels right to be back in the swing of things, though, in some ways.  I’m looking forward to the new year, and all the things it will bring.

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Garden Time

It’s been daylight savings time now for 17 hours and already I feel the sun baked vigor of summer creeping into my bones.  I planted a garden last week, quickly wiping the backyard of the air of death stagnating in the corners, left over from that cat corpse I found about a month ago.  It was strange and wonderful to me how quickly my backyard was transformed.  A couple of hours hard manual labor, a few tomato plants, and my backyard is no longer the city of weeds.  It’s a real backyard, where you want to have a party and barbecue, spend the afternoon sunning yourself, or spend another afternoon digging in the dirt. 

I have garden plans.  I’m putting a flower garden in the back corner of the yard, and I’m filling it with all sorts of amazing and beautiful plants.  Don’t ask me what those plants are yet, but it’s getting done and it will be spectacular.  I have decided.  My main problem right now is that it’s a shady spot that gets literally NO sun during the day, and I don’t like many shade plants.  There aren’t many shade plants to like, for that matter. 

I thought I had the black thumb of death, as far as plants are concerned.  Every living chlorophyll creature I’ve taken care of to date has died a crisp death of brownness in a rock-hard (yet attractive) pot.  I think I’m the only human being on earth who has ever killed a cactus.  His prickliness died a soggy death of over watering- overcompensation, perhaps, for my previous attempts at keeping things alive.  It may be a sign of my increased maturity that I can be responsible enough to water plants nearly every day, because I’ve had a beautiful pot of pansies since Valentine’s Day, and they are growing and thriving like no other plants I’ve ever owned.  Lovely.  Who knew I had it in me?

It’s nice to know this side of me is still there.  I used to love helping my mother out in the garden when my sister and I were youthful girls still living as a family with a parent or two, as the case may be.  Then I was only ephemerally responsible.  I could plant and dig to my heart’s desire and not have to keep anything alive.  That was someone else’s job.  I love it still, and my biggest disappointment is going out into the yard each day and seeing no visible changes since the day before.  When I really sit and think, things have grown a lot over time, it’s just hard to notice when you’re out there every day.  

If you need me I’ll be out in the sun, sweaty and mud flecked with a trowel in my hand.  Hopefully the plants will thrive for a little longer, and my black thumb of death will turn at least a vague shade of green.  We’ll see!

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