Hodge: Yard work is endless

It was halfway between the potato patch and perennial garden that the reality of redundancy in my life struck me.

It was halfway between the potato patch and perennial garden that the reality of redundancy in my life struck me.

It may have been the strain on my back from hauling the gazillianth wheel barrow full of crush that day or the runny nose and swollen eyes from the ragweed allergies that tweaked my feeling of déjà vu. But regardless of the inspiration, I recoiled with the recollection that indeed it seemed like just last year I had done all of this work before.

And for good reason

I had.

It’s been two weeks or so since Tez and I celebrated our first anniversary, which means it is just slightly over a year ago that we sat down with a smile on our mugs and saluted our back yard landscaping efforts.

Teresa and I had decided early in the spring of last year that we wanted to be married in our back yard rather than a church or some location in the town.

For us, our time in the garden is somewhat like a retreat or escape. So we spent every spare (and even some not so spare) moments planting gardens and creating an attractive setting in which to celebrate our special day.

After weeks of work, we concluded that we would need the assistance of a landscape company to really put the special touches into place.

So we hired a local company to create a beautiful crush pathway through our backyard while Tez and I continued to create gardens everywhere.

Between the landscape company and the purchasing of dirt, flowers and materials we spent a couple of thousand dollars, not to mention hundreds of hours of work.

A few days before the wedding we were finally satisfied with our efforts. The wedding was wonderful and many of our friends raved about the lovely looking gardens and back yard.

Teresa and I were very pleased with the work, taking particular pleasure in knowing that we would really enjoy the fruit of our efforts this summer when the yard and gardens had an entire year to mature and flourish.

We’d planted lots of perennials and would have this summer to simply tweak the work and add a few nice touches.

So much for long-term planning. As some readers may recall, about four months ago the sewer line in my back yard blew up and we had to call in a backhoe company. They dug a six foot deep, six to eight foot wide, and 50-foot long trench through the backyard in order to put in a new line.

The excavation work took out half of our new crush pathway and a whack of our flower garden—not to mention the lawn. The scene resembled a movie set about no man’s land, especially after it rained for a few days and our back yard looked like a battlefield of mud.

The reality of the massive repair job before us was somewhat overwhelming. So much so, in fact, that it left us with little choice but to do the logical thing— ignore it and put our minds on other things, which we did.

So, some two months ago we simply turned around and completely tore out the front lawn. We brought in the same backhoe guy and told him to leave no sod unturned. Why not have two muddy fields instead of just one?

The decision to remove the front lawn was actually easy. It never really was a lawn as much as a dandelion infested plot of ugliness. Regardless, I was tired of watching Tez cut the front ugly lawn (my allergies kept me on the sidelines) only to have it spring back to semi-life a few days later and demand another cutting.

Besides, I never understood the lack of logic in watering a lawn only to cut it, only to water it again, etc.

If one could eat lawn it might make sense but otherwise…But with a completely wiped out front lawn, Tez and I sat back and sketched out some ideas and then got to work.

Well, the project is not complete yet, but its getting pretty close. Our front yard now sports two raised vegetable boxes, Tez’s Daddy’s old homemade white picket fence, some xeriscape flowers, and a wild English garden. The majority of water is provided by rain barrels and drip irrigation.

With the front yard near completion, I have now turned my focus on that familiar place known as the back yard.

On Wednesday, I completed the recreation of the pathway and the construction of two more raised vegetable boxes. All that remains is the moving of another two yards or so of crush.

With 12 yards of top soil, four yards of crush, and another three yards of Nature’s  Gold already moved by Tez and I with a tiny wheelbarrow, I must admit to feeling a little bit healthier. The front yard looks much better, the backyard nearly recovered, and my beer belly is much smaller.

Feeling rather pleased I started to say to Tez yesterday, “Gee honey, just think how good our yard will look by this time next year.” But I stopped myself half way through.

Something in the back of my memory bank reminded me that I had said that once before and things had not gone so smooth. I’m getting to old and tired for any more deja vu gardening moments.


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