During the winter in my neighborhood, the begetation looks pretty baren. Things become really simple. Everything but the evergreens, loses it's leaves, dries up, and kinda disappears. You can see everything clearly without all the clutter in the way. Without the leaves, it is relatively easy to see the broken and dying branches. You go in with your pruning shears, saw, and whatnot, and you just clear everything out that doesn't look like it belongs. Order is the word for the day, and I am happy.
Spring comes along, and all the plants decide to take on new “features”. All the little blooms are blooming. The grass begins to grow again, the leaves, following the blooms, start poking out again. Soon enough, the inner branches of the trees and bushes will be hidden, their stark simplicity replaced by a cacophony of colors and a blanket of clorophyll producing/consuming energy systems. It all looks good, but man! What a mess!!
Just so you can understand what follows, I will give you a brief inventory of the flora around my house:
5 50 foot pine trees. Always shedding needles, year round. 1 Giant Poplar. 2 dwarf Cherry (Rainier, Bing). 1 Prune plum, 3 large Bogenvalia, 1 large Cherry blossom, several Rhododendron and Azalia, ground cover here and there, raspberries, Rhubarb, a full vegatable garden, some large hedge type bushes (non descript), holly, this that and the other thing... And that's just the back yard.
The front yard is similarly equipped, although the trees are dogwood, magnolia, 20 roses, several fruit trees (apple, plum, pear), and again with the nasty ground cover I'd like to rip out.
The sides of the house feature more Rhodies, bamboo, of a couple different varieties, japanese maples, juniper type stuff, and some pretty flowering weed that I don't know, but they look like peas.
Now. It's almost a full time job to keep up with all this stuff. At least on the weekends. Oh yah, and there's a full complement of grass in both the front and back. Anyway, keeping up with this stuff is a full time job. I have two large 50 gallon “yard waste” cans, and they find themselves full every week. They only get picked up every other week, so there's no way to keep up really. You have to fill up extra bags and put them out, or take them to the dump separately.
What's striking about all this stuff is, during the winter, it's all completely ignored. I mean zilch, zip, nada. After about October, everthing just shuts down. The temperature drops, the plants die off or go dormant as they see fit, and I turn my attention to wood working, and selling off books. But come spring time, Padow!! There it all is.
This weekend, in order to tame some of the beast, we decided to take out some of the grass in the back yard and build in a perimeter walkway. A very nice idea indeed. Since we want to have strolling brunches sampling of the various fruits and veggies in the garden, we might as well have a nice walking path to make the stroll a pleasant one.
Well, this of course takes a trip to Lowe's. We have to look at what type of path trimmings are available that we like. We decide on these scalloped brick things, because Yasmin thinks they will look cool and are more instresting that the plain old ordinary bricks. OK, we don't buy them immediately, but we do buy a ball of twine to mark the path. Then, back home, stake the path, get out the tape measure, mark it all off. Turns out to be about 130' worth of walkway. This all happened after I used the weed wacker and lawn mower to essentially cut the grass down to dirt so we could actually see what the path might look like.
While I'm busy with this process, Yasmin is clipping some of the the bushes away from the path. It's one of the giant non descript bushes that generates white flowers, then red barries later in the summer. That, and the prune plum tree. This generates another pile of twigs and leaves, that of course won't fit into the already full yard waste container. So, they'll have to be stuffed into bags. But, we have a new feature now, it is a staked out path that almost looks like a path. One or two or three more milestones may be needed to finish the task.
Having staked out the path, we went off to Costco to buy a dvd, and then made a side trip to Home depot to see what they had going in the pavers department. Not as wide a selection as Lowe's so back to Lowe's.
Alright. We need exactly 128 of the 1 foot scalloped things, and 24 of the curved ones to make our curves. Just a little more than we need to account for breakage, and design changes. The nice thing about Lowe's is that they help you with “load out”. That is, the nice guy helped me put all those bricks into the back of my truck so I could get home quickly...
And then... All by myself, I had to take all those bricks and move them up a staircase from the driveway, across the front lawn, up the path, into the back yard, and stack them all nice and neat like. Tenacity, perseverance, perspiration, and a sheer determination, and I had the task done in about an hour.
Now what do we have? In order to clean up the trash, that is, in order to eliminate a bit of green from my back yard, I've increased the yard waste, but chopping down some bushes, generated some grass clippings from clearing out the path, put a huge amount of brick dust in my car, and deposited a number of bricks in a pile to be dealt with. Not to mention the introduction of 20 or so stakes and the accompanying twine.
After the next milestone, this stuff will all be put in its proper place, and all the trash will eventually get cleaned up, even if it does take a couple more seasons. In the end, we'll have a wonderfully organized yard with minimized waste, all nice and tidy and orderly.
As I tucked Yasmin into bed tonight, we started thinking about the things we'll be doing with our newly organized space. Word of forts, with water features dividing them. Park benches, with arbors, gazebos, and waterfalls. In the fullness of time, we'll actually implement all these features. For now, we're just going to have to deal with all the trash we've just generated.