April 20, 2009

meet our maker

There it is, the yard that nearly did us in this weekend!

Saturday was sooo beautiful that we were pulled outside immediately to tidy up and finish some projects we had begun in earlier weeks. Gus set his mind on ridding the yard of the piles of trimmings he had made, rhodies on the right, huge pine bush on the left, cutting them down and filling bags with debris.

I made a new little brick path, and pulled weeds and grass that had escaped through the fence from the neighbors' yards, amazed at how difficult my round belly made it to do something as simple as squat and bend my uncooperative and unfamiliar body.

The next project we tackled was burying the drip irrigation line that has been a source of my constant whining. It just looked so haphazard and messy strewn about the garden on top of the mulch, that I demanded that I either be allowed to pick it up and store it away, or that my wonderful husband help me bury it. We agreed that although I may have plenty of time on my hands to water the garden regularly, it wasn't the most efficient use of our water supply, so bury it we did. I think we must have dug fifty or sixty feet of trench to hide that stuff away, and did I mention how comfortable squatting is for me? We managed to do half the yard, and decided to save the other half for another day (thank god).

Around the time we finished that project we were absolutely inundated with flies. Like, a fly swarm out of the old testament or something. It was epic. And disgusting. There must have been a hatching that occurred and then all of the flies decided that our neighborhood was an awesome place to hang out for a while, because they were everywhere. And not those tiny little gnat things either, these were actual flies. Gus caught one in a jar and we decided that it looks most like this:

That's a stilt-legged fly, and it's possible that's not what it is, I'm no entemologist. I also wasn't able to figure out why they appeared out of the blue or what to do about it. We ended up making a trip to "the birder store" to see if we could get some bird seed that would attract a natural predator to the yard just so we could get some peace. The ladies there didn't have a good solution and said that they would probably be gone as soon as they appeared, but they were happy to sell us a bag of seed anyway. At least we got a few minutes respite from the nastiness out of the trip, and sure enough, the crazy swarm had dissipated quite a bit by the time we got back.

Bone weary and exhausted from a day's hard labor, we enjoyed a dinner of barbecued steel-head, corn on the cob, and cold beers (non-alcoholic for me, of course!) and admired our work. Much of the rest of the evening was spent exclaiming in pain whenever a trip up or down the stairs was required, or it became necessary to lift our broken bodies up off of the couch even temporarily.

And, apparently a good night's sleep can put just enough distance between an addict and their vice that they can forget the pain of the previous day and dive right back in to the cycle of self-destruction that got them there, because there we were again on Sunday, slaves to the dirt.

It all started with more whining gentle suggesting, from me of course, about a lattice that had come loose in a storm and lay twisted and broken in a heap near the shed. We had installed the lattice last year in kind of a make-shift manner to give a grape we had purchased something to climb. The grape never did take, and I only appreciated the lattice's visual contribution to the yard once it was gone. Our latest issue of This Old House has a tutorial on constructing a great big beautiful lattice that looked a lot sturdier than our roughshod approach, so I thought we could use that for inspiration.

And of course, hubby came through again! A master of re-use and reclaiming, he constructed a brand-new lattice for me entirely from materials we had at the house, and I think this time it's there to stay. There was a bit of a set-back that involved severing the newly installed irrigation line with a shovel at one point, but we recovered nicely and a beautiful clematis has taken the place of the poor grape that wouldn't grow. I have high hopes for that corner now! Can't wait to see it in action.

And since that still wasn't enough, hubs also doubled our vegetable garden space by adding a new raised bed in the previously empty wasteland of side yard that I might have mentioned just needed "a little something" to define it. We've got big plans now for onions, garlic, and shallots- you know, just in case that pesky fly problem should become a vampire problem at any point in the future.

Love you baby! You're the best husband in all the land.