Maybe now the house will stop trying to kill me

Look what I did!


My mom came to visit this weekend.  By “visit,” of course, I mean she spent her entire weekend helping me tackle the four years of neglect this house has experienced.  That’s maternal devotion- drive three hours to visit your kid at her new pad, crash on a futon because that’s all she has for guests, then put in two full days of physical labor to help her whip it into shape all before driving the three hours back home.

Things we did:

  • removed the poison ivy from the front garden.  After I got a patch of poison ivy on my ankle we realized that what was once the front garden (that bit immediately in front of the house) was now a ZONE OF DEATH that had been entirely taken over by the devil weed.  My mom, who is slightly less allergic to it than I am (thanks Dad!) bravely pulled every single bit of it out by the roots and sealed the deal by poisoning the heck out of the surrounding area.
  • rescued a pair of rhododendron from the ZONE OF DEATH.  They’re weirdly small and tiny, and we realized its because they’re entirely under the roofline, so even with the two thunderstorms that blew through yesterday their dirt was still bone dry.
  • rescued a bunch of columbines (I learned so many plant names this weekend) from being choked to death by weeds.
  • reclaimed a strip of the backyard leading to the compost pile Kevin created a couple months ago.  We poisoned the heck out of the weeds, pulled up a bunch of them, and then laid down a three-inch-thick layer of mulch to make doubly sure they wouldn’t be coming back.  Now I won’t be afraid of the three foot tall cat’s needles that were once between me and being a responsible citizen of the earth.
  • planted hostas to line our path to composting
  • unearthed about four inches of driveway that had been eaten by the front yard (plus feet and feet of front curb)
  • planted the dahlias that made Kevin so happy when we saw them at the nursery.  (Note picture above.)
  • cut the seriously overgrown lawn with an electric weedwhacker.  (We were trying to cut it with our push mower [no engine whatosever!] but it was so tall the poor machine couldn’t handle it.  Luckily, our neighbor who also owns a push mower saw Kevin struggling and loaned him his solution to too-tall grass.  Great neighbors are the best!)

This is the most yardwork I have ever done in my entire life.  My entire body is stiff and sore, but for the first time since we moved, I feel proud of this house.  And with any luck, now that I’ve taken away its demon weed.  And, according to my neighbor, maintenance is a lot easier than this first creation of gardens.  I hope so, because I’m not sure I can do this every weekend.


Are any of you gardeners?  Do you have any tips for a neophyte horticulturist?  Let me know in the comments!


P.S.  My manuscript is at 64,100 words!  (It’s editing season.)


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