IT BEGINS: Claiming Space in the Great Outdoors

Spring.  It's that lovely time of year when I'd normally weed my beds and browse local nurseries for some annuals to tuck into corners.

If I still had my yard.

I don't, obviously.

Better Half and I decided to claim the backyard here as our own.  We aren't granted any space inside for decorating.  The backyard is ideal for stretching our imaginations.

All things considered, it isn't a terrible back yard. It has a hibiscus bush and a snowball bush. And grass. Lots and lots of grass.  Too much grass to cut in a day.  It isn't that the yard is horribly large. Instead, it's a postage stamp sized treasure filled with a fuckton of established sod.  Sod that has been overtaken by weeds.

We haven't even started the beds yet.  My parents aren't high on outdoor maintenance, thus the sparse yard is accompanied by a rotting deck filled with trash.  It annoyed me all winter.  I don't have any "before" pictures, but I'll give you a taste of what we found once we ripped the decomposing flooring off:

Yes, that's a brick pillar held in place by a bag of cement.  The prior owners simply made holes in the bag and watered it. The whole thing is leaning, but it suits the rest of the deck - which is likewise leaning.  I don't have $10k to fix it. I have a $200 gift card plus a little bit of savings.

With more effort that we actually wanted to spend, we stripped off every rotting piece of wood on the deck and back porch, and began to lay new material.  It's shaping up nicely, albeit it a small deck, and we'll most likely get around to painting it by the end of the month.

No yard is complete without a tree.  We found one today at Iannettis Garden Center.  Ever ones to put the cart before the horse, we tucked a young Crape Myrtle 'Osage' into the back of the truck and brought it home.  Tomorrow will be "dig the hole and don't bitch about it" day. 

Not that BH and I will be bitching. Yay,  tree!

My mother took a look at our progress that afternoon.  The first thing she said upon spotting the still-potted treasure is, "What's that thing?" We informed her that it was a small, ornamental tree.  She voiced her concern, "It will make shade!"

Let's be clear: the entire house is kept in the dark. All the windows have blinds and curtains.  Only two windows remain uncovered - though the parents did install that fake stained glass stuff (it's plastic and comes in a roll) - so really, it's pretty dark and bleak inside.  One room is spared, and it's the dining room. This has slider doors.

Oh, don't get your sunlit hopes up. This, too, has curtains.  However, in the morning, she opens them so her dog can lie in the sun.  Do my dogs have any sun to bask in? No. Our bedroom windows throw a patch on a wall.  Dogs are not spiders. 

Okay, two of my dogs are barking spiders but that's besides the point.

I should't complain, honestly.  Dear Humming Bird hasn't been able to actually live in her house yet. She doesn't foresee gardening in her future.  Instead, it's mold removal. Drywall, studs, the works. It looks so cheery! They'll have to pull the floor, the furnace, and the water tank. 

Her humor remains good. "Do an image search. It pulls up 'Archaeologists Discover 1,600-Year-Old Roman Mosaics from Ancient Serdica in Bulgaria's Capital Sofia'  I wonder if my house can be listed on some archaic registry now".  

Archaeology in Bulgaria

This mess is nothing compared to Fritter's second floor.  The flood waters knocked over their old oak. It took out the upstairs bath and Bunny's room when it hit the house. 

(Hmm. While I'm thinking of HBs and Fs - BH, call yo mamma.  Honestly, man, how can you forget to call your mother on Mother's Day?)

Getting back to the topic...

We have a long way to go before the backyard will be set for the season.  I haven't done much with the bed in front of the restored porch (other than curse at the sod) nor have I set out my veggie garden bed in order to get tomatoes into the ground.  

It's going to be a slow process. We're enjoying a change of venue in the meantime. The dogs certainly appreciate the outdoors.  It gives them a taste of What Used To Be.