Monday, May 15, 2006

Still learning the ropes

I'm still trying to get the hang of living in a house with lawns -- front and back -- and flower beds. Don't get me wrong -- I'm enjoying it. But it's a different world than living in an apartment above a store, and I haven't got the rhythm yet. (In my defense, we only moved here in December.)

The grass gets too high before I block out the time to mow it. The flower beds threaten to go to dust between waterings. That sort of thing.

That a friend of ours offered to lend us his weed whacker yesterday is probably not a good sign. The landlord has a weed trimmer I can use any time, you understand. I just haven't gotten around to it. (Or figured out where in the Sam Hill I can plug it in, for that matter.)

I was going for an informal look by not trimming. I guess I didn't quite pull it off...

Much of Saturday I was trying to bring order to part of the front yard that previous tenants had used for a sandbox beside what I suppose may have been a flower bed once upon a time. At any rate, there are a few sprigs of grass that look as if they are valiant scouts for the main lawn, moving forward by means of an adventurous root system, but otherwise it is weeds and bare ground, sandy to the left, clay with gravel to the right. The sandbox is built up against the house, with the walls of two wings of the house providing two sides of it. This, I venture to say, is not the smartest plan in the book, especially since both wings of the house have windows just there, windows vital to good air flow in the summer and one of them housing the air conditioner. I don't know what use any children might have had from this sandbox, but I can tell you (I hope you aren't eating dinner) that dogs have made serious use of it. This has created something of a stench. Add this to the fact that many of the weeds in that area are armed with nettles, and... and... well, I just kept finding other jobs around here to do first.

But it is in the front lawn, right next to the house, which makes it a focal point. The weeds got huge when I wasn't looking. (Did I mention I don't have the rhythm down yet?) And I want to use those windows without gagging. So Saturday I was weeding and shoveling and it looks and smells better. But it still looks bad. It is going to take more work than I thought.

But Saturday I also planted a few sunflower seeds out back. I watered previously planted flower beds, which involved hauling a very long, heavy hose around. I hauled stuff to the burn pile and to the trash bin. When I reached the point I was thinking "this is almost like work" I quit. I am middle aged. I don't bounce back like I used to.

Yesterday was warmish. Today was warmer. We're talking in the nineties. And I just now got the sunflowers planted? Did I mention I don't have the rhythm of this place down yet?

I'm not holding out much hope for any of the seeds I planted this year, either the sunflowers or the other varieties I put in earlier, but I was out this morning misting with a hose, making sure the mud patches flower beds were damp, just in case there's some hope for it.

Is there anyone more hopeful than a wannabe gardener? I ask you.

I am already plotting what to do differently next year. I am assuming, of course, that by next year I will have started to get the hang of living in a house with lawn and flower beds...

I definitely have a long way to go, though. After I watered the potential flowers this morning, I set up the sprinkler on the lawn. That would be the lawn that, surprisingly enough, is already long enough to mow again. I thought I just did that?

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