Friday, May 6, 2011

Glimmer in the gloom

I'm sure some of you (especially Glenda) remember last year's post "My Muse is Crazy" in which the following pic appeared.  If not, go read it.  G'head.  I'll wait.  Dum da dum dum...

Back?  Up to speed?  Okay, now for the rest of the story...

Right after that post, the rains left us and the grass dried up.  There were no resources to make those beds happen.  And oh, how that gnawed at me!

Those 2 sweet gum trees needed shade beds beneath them.

Winter finally left (mostly - the bird bath still freezes), but the rains are here and my gosh how the grass is growing.  I was sooo excited to get to build these beds.  

Then my mower conked out.  It would not start.  It would not go.  I could not harvest clippings.  I was so angry.  I watched the grass get tall and was able to borrow a neighbors riding mower over a 2 week period to keep the grass below knee-high.  But there was no bagger.  So no clippings. *sob*

On April 30th the neighbor on the other side had her lawn mowed and the service delivered me a small harvest of grass.  Yay!  So I started my bed project.  But what a challenge!  While it wasn't raining on May 1st, it was cold and cloudy and the winds gusted to 35mph.  Try laying newspapers down in that gale!

But I fought the wind all day and managed to get some of the new bed laid out.

Then it rained for 4 days.  It rained a lot.  I watched MY grass grow and I knew I couldn't get at it!  (Try explaining it to the lawn mower repair people who are up to their elbows in repairs this time of year that I really need my clippings.  Ha!)

Anyway, my very mechanically inclined neighbor to the north came over and helped me track down why the mower wouldn't start.  We both knew it was an electrical problem, but what?  Eventually we saw that the solenoid had shorted and one of the poles were no longer connected.  Ah.  I could buy a solenoid online and replace it.  In the meantime, he removed the dead one and left both poles 'floating' in the space (well separated).  He said I could just use a wooden or plastic handled screw driver to bridge the poles to start the engine in the meantime.  Cool!  (But no way was I gonna reach my hand in there and make sparks fly.  So I fashioned a long-handled prong to do the job.)  Works like a champ.

Yesterday was windy and got into the high 50s.  And the sun shone.  Gloriously.  This day had been forecasted all week and everyone was totally psyched for it!  The entire neighborhood was outside using the rare day: roofs were worked on, cars were worked on, beds were raked, golfers golfed, and lawns were mowed.

And so was mine! 
The day went well.  I was outside from 8-12 working on the plants on the deck, in the garage, in the basement while I waited for the grass to dry.  Then from noon until after 8:00 pm, I mowed and worked on the beds.

I decided to limit the clipping collection, take time to apply them to the bed, then collect more.  That way if the rains came there would not be a pile of clippings left to compost on the blacktop.

The pics don't do justice to just how large the new beds are.  Eventually everything ran out.  I was out of newspaper.  I was out of clippings.  I was out of daylight.  And I was totally out of "oomph".  

Today everything hurts:  my legs, my arms, my neck, my back (oh man - all that bending and stooping!).  I think even my hair hurts!

And while there is about a square yard of sod that still needs newspaper and clippings, this wonderful sight greeted me this morning.

As full of ache as I am this morning, I'm also full of endorphins (and, fair's fair - full of ibuprofen!) for actually realizing this year-long dream of defining those 2 shade beds.  I'll keep adding clippings over the summer and leaves in the fall.  By next spring the sod will have composted and I'll be able to do some serious planting in those beds.

But for now, after I finish that last bit of bed, I'm going to spend some quality time on that bench out there.  I want some quiet contemplation.  Rest on my 'laurels' so to speak.  So listen up, muse.  Go pester someone else for a while.  I'm pretty toasted at this point. ;-D

I guess I should be glad(?) that they've forecasted rain in some form or another for the next 7 days. (Yeah, riiiight!)  *sigh*

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  1. First, the beds look fantastic! Well done. A tip: wet the newpapers well then they won't blow at all. I put mine in a container of water and pull it along where I am mulching. They also won't pull moisture out of the soil if they start out drenched.

    Second: I am very impressed you can work that long! 3-4 hours is my limit.

    Third: I am very impressed with your mechanical skills...I am lacking in that department.

    What are you putting in the shade beds?

    Have a super weekend. (It is raining lightly here this morning)

  2. Glenda - usually I DO wet the newspapers, but with the wind and having to haul water buckets etc, I just decided not to. It was one less heavy thing to carry around. As for working long - it's just a stubborn streak. I want something, and I. want. it. now! LOL I usually pay for it the next day.

    Thanks for the compliment. I think the shapes work really well and flow with the rest of the adjacent beds.

    I have all year to think about what to plant there. I have 3 ways to go. Total ground cover (like pachysandra) or ground cover with regular shade plants like hosta/astilbe/pulmanaria/etc or just the shade plants surrounded by mulch. I'd also like a couple nice azaleas too. Lots to think about.

    It was raining a minute ago, now the sun has peeked out. It rained yesterday afternoon and there are more showers in the area now today and tomorrow. Hope you have a super weekend too. Happy Mothers Day! :-D

  3. I love how the beds look now. I bet they will look beautiful when planted.
    Please keep your photos coming.

  4. Well done, Kris! I am impressed with your patience to do the lasagna method. Once I decide I want a new planting area, I can't wait that long. Part of the problem has been that it's the front yard, and we have an underground sprinkler system, so we can't pile things on top of it.


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