Thursday, May 2, 2013

Sometimes You Just Have to Do Yardwork

Today's post does not mention much about quilting, except that the activities below actually tired me out so much that I fell asleep while using the sewing machine.

Our house is on a terraced lot.  The photo above shows the five-foot-high retaining wall with the patio flower pots lined up on top.  (The flower pots are supposed to keep people from walking off the edge of the patio.)  If you examine the photo carefully, you will see seven more conventional flower pots and three wooden half-barrels.

Last year the half-barrels started deteriorating.  One was so bad that it actually had almost all its staves lying on the concrete with dirt spilled all around.  IT Prof thought the rotting half-barrels looked unattractive.  Their ugliness bothered me even more.

Tuesday and yesterday were predicted to be beautiful.  Since the half-barrels had not magically disappeared during the winter, I decided that I had to just take care of the problem.  (I hate gardening, so I wasn't feeling thrilled.)

I bought seven new pots because the biggest pots I could lift by myself were smaller than the half-barrels.  The flower pots I liked best cost $130.  I resisted buying those and bought five much less expensive pots and two not-expensive-at-all plastic pots.  I would have preferred actual terracotta pots to the plastic ones, but once again I was limited to what I could lift by myself.  (I knew I alone would have to carry everything to the patio once I returned home.)  I also purchased potting soil and flowers.

When I returned home, I transported all the pots, etc. down to the patio.  I also fetched the gardening tools from the garage.  To my really-less-than-intense joy, the spade was one of the tools.

In the photo above, you can see one of the remaining half-barrels.  It actually is deteriorating a little on the top, but I didn't have enough big pots left to remove that half-barrel.  Do you see how the half-barrel contains soil nearly to the top edge?  A half-barrel with soil is definitely not something I can lift.

The plastic pot at the far end of the patio actually blocks a space that I had decided was too open.  So, I spaded dirt from the nearest rotten half-barrel into the plastic pot.  I had to add some of the new soil to the plastic pot to fill it because the deteriorated half-barrel no longer contained enough soil.

When the half-barrel was empty, I put all the decrepit parts into a garbage bag and carried it up the hill to the street.  I think I found out my maximum lifting ability.

After my trip to the street, I placed two new pots were the first half-barrel were and started filling them from the next rotting half-barrel.  And so I repeated emptying the second and third half-barrels and filling new pots.  The first small difference is that it ended up that five, not six, pots filled up the space left by the former  half-barrels.  The second small difference in procedure was that the second barrel was intact enough that I could roll it up the hill.  Rolling is much better than hauling.

The unaccustomed use of my spading muscles left my back and shoulders sore.  But, it was probably good for me.  Planting the flowers in the new pots and watering them was a vacation compared to setting them up. Originally I had wanted to replace all six half-barrels, but I only had enough pots for the two ends (where there weren't pots to start with) and to cover the space left by three half-barrels.

As I sat on a chair and looked at the new pots and the surviving barrels, I decided I could live with the condition of the last three this year.  Plus I really did not want to spend more money on pots this spring.

IT Prof came down to the patio about the time I was filling the third new pot.  He looked at the completed portion of the project I was proud of tackling.  Then he said, "This wasn't my vision of what to do with the half-barrels."

Since I was huffing and puffing from the spading, I needed to catch my breath to reply, "But I didn't see anything happening to create your vision."

I think he realized I was covered with dirt and exerting myself because he agreed. "Fair enough."  He was impressed enough that I had removed the worst of the rotting barrels that he picked up sticks in the back yard.  This was important to do before I cut the grass for the first time this year.

I had no energy left on Tuesday, so I cut the grass yesterday morning.  The mower choked twice in the thick grass and stopped.  The second time Roger had to come outside and start the mower for me.  Wrestling the lawn mower on the steep hill for the first time this year didn't leave me with enough strength to pull the string on the lawn mower with the proper force.  Then I finished mowing.  We've had enough rain so far that the grass is green enough to look good (as long as you don't examine it too carefully).

Anyhow, my efforts were rewarded.  We could sit on the patio, and, for now before the lake dries up again, are able to enjoy the view.

The HTML used for the four photos above defeated me.  I tried to place the four photos above horizontally in order to make a panoramic-like photo, but I could not.  Anyone is welcome to tell me what I did wrong in the comments.

Anyhow, as I sat there, exhausted and sore, I knew it was worth it.  I can't believe how fortunate I am.

However, I still hate gardening.  But not lawn mowing.

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