It’s March and that means madness around my house. Of course, so does January, February, April, May, June…you get the idea. The madness this month comes not from basketball. I actually find it amusing to watch a grown man agonize over a bunch of brackets. The source of this month’s madness is my (and by my, I mean our) annual Spring Project. With the exception of every year prior to this one, I’ve chosen a special (and by special, I mean expensive) project to complete so that I can enter into the season without some nagging, energy-draining task sitting around, in all of its incomplete glory, cluttering up my life and mind. So, my first annual Spring Project is….The Yard(s).
Three years ago, our front lawn was passable and a nicely manicured flowerbed, complete with happy azaleas, lined the front porch. The back yard was mostly beautiful hillside, with an ugly patio/lava rock wasteland nightmare that honestly, couldn’t get much worse. Then, we came to town.
This is our backyard, looking up the hill away from our house. Lovely, right?
With an acre lot, two-thirds of which is wildland, we bought a John Deere riding mower and I’m not allowed to mow. Fine by me. My husband can’t wait for the weeds of early spring to start growing on our hillside so he can do the one chore that allows him to both sit and be productive at the same time. I’m sure it’s highly satisfying. He also likes to weed. He’s a sick, sick man.
Then, there’s me. I have no green thumb, do not find gardening relaxing and if you must know, possess a shockingly immature fear of bugs. I don’t even like to water. I have so successfully dodged my husband’s many attempts to show me how to turn on the sprinklers that to this day, if he asks me to turn them on or off, I answer, “I don’t know how” and I’m not even lying.
There is only one thing I love to do in the yard. I love a freshly hosed-off porch, especially on a hot summer evening while enjoying a glass or wine, or shot of whiskey. It’s cool and clean and I can easily spot and kill spiders who make the fatal mistake of thinking they can enjoy a refreshing drink on the porch with me. I often do the same thing on a summer morning, but don’t worry, I don’t drink wine or whiskey at that hour. That’s what mimosas are for, silly.
The problem is, once we made the decision to re-do the lawns with new sod, I grew discontent with the azaleas. I decided that simply trimming the neglected azaleas was less appealing that ripping them up, I mean, tenderly removing them, and planting daffodils. (See the post dated March 15 for that happy story.)
In the backyard, where the ugly red lava rocks live, we shoveled. Like mad.
The backyard, looking toward the house…
As outdoor tasks go, I’d still rather be using a long handled tool than have my hands in the dirt, weeding and avoiding slugs, and eight-legged terrorists. Speaking of long handles, my husband didn’t even complain about the pace I kept both before and after my 10 a.m. lunch break. While some may have called my movements geriatric, I like to think of them as more zen-like and rhythmic: shovel rocks, dump wheelbarrow, shovel rocks, dump wheelbarrow, shovel rocks, dump wheelbarrow….doesn’t it just have a soothing flow? It did, until I started this convo:
“Um, I was just thinking…”
“Oh no. You want to put them back?”
“No. I was just thinking that the dog and the kids are going to be walking through all this dirt and it’s going to be a big pain.”
(No reply from husband. I could tell by the way his eyelids were flickering that he was searching the mental hard drive for something I might say next that would require more hard labor.) I continued:
“Can we put down some kind of tarps or lining to keep it from becoming a big mud puddle the next time it rains?”
“Can’t we just tell them to stay out of it?”
“Sure. I’ll tell the kids. You explain it to the dog.”
“No more rain this year.”
“How do you know that?”
“It’s softball season. No more rain.”
“I’m just curious…do you cross your fingers and your toes when you say that?”
So, the giant mud triangle and the madness of the March project has begun. The first round bracket: Us vs. The Yard(s). With luck, March Madness will not become August Angst.