A Morning in the Yard

Not much brings as much satisfaction as finishing a yardwork project, and sitting back to enjoy the results.  After a long summer of high humidity and high temps, our yard, and I’m sure yours, was overgrown.  (Except for the tomatoes, which I still can’t figure out.)  Time for action.

Today was a gorgeous weather day!  So, with both kids back at their respective schools and the neighborhood quiet, I spent a beautiful morning in the backyard.  I worked hard for about two and a half hours, pulling, clipping, sawing, bagging, bundling and squirting.  Big progress was made in the corner of the yard formerly plagued by errant tree branches and shoots, morning-glories, and what we call “martian weeds.”  The slight breeze let me work hard without fainting, and the project kept me in a shady part of the yard.  It was satisfying work.  It was enjoyable work.  When I was done and showered, I enjoyed a nice glass of ice water on the patio, awning down, admiring the flowers and the neighbor’s purple martins swooping about.  Ah, satisfaction!

We’ve always done our own yard work.  We’ve had professionals install the sprinkler system, and aerate every so often.  We are able-bodied (for now), capable folks who enjoy our property.  Even though there are sometimes quite trying projects, we are glad to tackle them, and eventually we do get to them.  We’re also pretty frugal about how we do our projects.  We take care of our tools, and take advantage of our abilities, sale prices on mulch and lawn treatments, and creativity with critters and issues.

Speaking of the rabbits, I have a new possible solution to their frolicking ways in our neighborhood.  The sprays, the sprinkles, and my chasing them out of the yard aren’t working.  It occurred to me that they dash through fences, across yards, and between properties as though it is one big playground to them.  And, in fact, it truly is!  So why not put barriers in the way to slow them down, to limit their activity, to make it less fun for them to saunter from yard to yard chomping away at whatever suits their vegetarian delight?  Around our yard, and around most of the yards near here, there is a staggered fence; that is, a privacy-ish fence with pickets on either side of spacer bars, which allows for the high winds to pass through without easily knocking down the fence, and lets each side enjoy an attractive look.  They quite easily, and swiftly, slip through the bottom sections.  It would be very easy to slip some hardware cloth all along the fence, right between the pickets, semi-hidden.  It would also blend in, since the fence has aged to a nice grayish tone.  I’ve discussed this with my next-door neighbor, and I think I’ll try it in the two spots where the rabbits have running paths between our yards.  If it installs easily, I’ll take it all the way down the fence.  Hardware cloth is very reasonable, and I am sure I can do this for less than $10.  I’ll start with some leftover product that’s just sitting around.

The thing is I won’t be able to do this till I cut back some bushes this fall, when it gets cooler.  With a chainsaw. <grin>  This spring I rented a chainsaw for some overgrown bushes, and LOVED it!  I’ve decided that these other bushes need to be addressed, as well, and I am more than ready to chainsaw again.  I found a picture of the yard from when we first moved in, and these bushes were less than the height of the fence, which allowed the understory plants to flower well and grow straight up.  Hmm.  Not to look at them now!  We did purposely let them get giantic, to block the noise of our children from the then back neighbor’s master bedroom suite, and to block the then side neighbor’s party deck from our patio.  Well, the current back neighbors have their own set of noisemakers, and those bushes are smelly when they bloom, so I’m happy to cut them back.  And the current side neighbors don’t require blockage — they also don’t need our bushes pushing over the fence.  So, down they come!  And in goes the rabbit barrier.

What I’m not looking forward to is mulching.  We need a deep fresh cover of mulch this fall.  It’s not Cheap, and it’s not a Thrill to lug it around.  I’m looking for a good source of low- or no-cost mulch locally.

I enjoy working in the yard when the weather is nice.  It gives immediate results.  It’s therapeutic, so there’s that.  It’s great exercise.  It helps keep the value of our house and neighborhood.  It yields ideas for other issues.  And  it gives me time to think and pray.  Just a few hours (heck, even just a half-hour of picking martian weeds) is a Cheap Thrill.

Home Depot

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