Yard work. It's almost like starting a work-out regimen. It feels like HELL for quite awhile, you even kind of wonder if you're progressing at all. Why does it still hurt so much? Why do I still NOT want to do it? Why doesn't it seem like it's getting easier? These are things I've been thinking while training for the Portland-to-Coast relay and toiling in my back yard. One thing, with walking, that I have realized....It IS getting easier, but it just doesn't feel like it a lot of the time. Why? Because I keep bringing it to the next level...which, for me, isn't much but heck, it's something. A few weeks ago, walking five 16-minute miles would have been impossible. This morning on my walk I kind of realized, "yeah, it does still hurt. I am super super out of shape still but I think I am actually stronger and faster. Yes, by golly, I am!"
And it's the same for the back yard. I get caught up in looking at the insane jungle of weeds and trees on the perimeter, the nasty, dead grass that needs a good thatching/aerating/weeding/feeding/mowing, the disintegrating shed in the corner that offers barely anything that could be called shelter for our tools, the tiny patio deck of ours that needs sanding and sealing, etc times infinity. But! When I remember how it use to be....ooooh! How it USE TO BE! I can't help but feel kinda proud.
Since moving in we have stripped out the whole back section (approximately 60 x 10 foot strip) that was just weeds up to your chest, dismantled the brick garden beds (gave away the brick to anyone who would come get it), shovel out all the dirt from the garden beds and spread it over the rest of the ground (b.a.c.k.b.r.e.a.k.i.n.g.), start a garden with the free beds I snagged last year from down the street, then work on perfectly leveling the plot for our play-set (again, b.a.c.k.b.r.e.a.k.i.n.g.), and finally, building the play-set. The next big project, which I whine and complain about, is shoveling, wheelbarrowing and spreading all the pea gravel over that entire area...the garden and the play area. OY!
But I tell ya, every now and then, between my bouts of whining, complaining and being tired of yard work, I feel kind of proud and excited. It's slowly taking shape.
So, the jury is still out on whether or not I have any potential green thumb. I feel like the epitome of clueless when it comes to this stuff and really I am pretty much making it all up as I go.
I definitely need to reconfigure the garden beds. The last 3 feet of the beds don't get enough sunlight. I planted radishes, carrots, bush beans, onions, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, green and red peppers, spaghetti squash, cucumber and zucchini.
Ambitious first-time-gardener, ay? Sadly, I have been preeettttyyyy haphazard about it. The onions I only planted because my neighbor gave me her leftover bulbs, but I didn't plant them early enough. They sprouted...then stopped growing altogether and I have since pulled them out. Among other planted items I have had die on me: radishes (I think I wasn't watering them enough and they had too much shade), carrots (some neighborhood cat was drawn to them and kept digging up that area and pooping), spaghetti squash (I transplanted it too late).
Sooooooooooo. We'll see. One of my tomato plants is SUPER sickly looking but it has fruit on it. The other tomato plant is getting huge and has lots of little fruiting tomatoes on it! Yay! I still have my fingers crossed for some peas, beans, cucumber, peppers and zucchini!
I TORTURED myself over leveling the ground for the play-set. Seriously, Chris was like, "CHILLLLLL!!!" I tilled an extra strip of grass to make the plot deeper, shoveled, raked, raked, raked, dragged a shipping pallet back and forth across the dirt (helps level and pack down the ground), raked more, sprayed it with water, rolled the contraption that helps pack down the dirt, raked more, obsessed, worried, and raked more. Then I finally decided to stop worrying about it and just get to building the play-set.
The biggest complaint in the reviews for this play-set were that nothing came labeled. So we had to take a couple hours to sort and label all the wood. Then let it sit on tarps for DAYS because it poured rain forever. This set was originally on ToysRUS for $1299! I was kind of in love with it and just called the store to see if they had one. They did. And it was clearanced for $899! PLUS! They had an extra $100 off any set over $700. PLUS! We got an additional amount off for opening a credit card! PLUS! They got things mixed up with the slide and to compensate the trouble they gave us another $50 off! We paid $670 and it was sooo worth it!
Guess what! When Chris and Matt got the center structure up, they checked the level and it WAS PERFECTLY LEVEL ON ALL SIDES. Lesson to be learned? Obsessing, worrying and being a perfectionist kind of pays off!
Isn't she beautiful? It has everything, all in one, compact structure..swingset, slide, playhouse, picnic table, rock-climbing wall, and sandbox.
This play-set is definitely geared for older/bigger kids. Hence, we needed seating that could be right there. Crazy Target clearanced all their summer stuff at 75% and I got these awesome woven Adirondacks, coffee table and outdoor pillows for under $85! TOTAL! Can you believe that one chair alone, regular price, cost $124? Outrageous!
I would just like a moment to thank Matt, Eric, Mom and DadO for helping us build this awesome play-set! Seriously! We are just sooooooooooo thankful for the help!
Next up: lay weed barrier, figure out what and then install whatever edging material along the garden/play-set area, order/haul/spread 3-4 TONS of pea gravel, and fill the sand box! Can we do it by the end of the summer?