Thursday, July 28, 2011

*MORE* concrete?!

Trying to do work with a puppy underfoot is both awesome and tedious.  It's awesome because you've got this cute little fella to break up the monotony and he wants to bring you the squeaky ball for you to throw every minute or so. 


This is what vine orgies look like
It's tedious because you cannot get into any kind of task-oriented groove because a dog is bringing you a squeaky ball for you to throw every minute or so.  In short, its kinda more enjoyable but without the same return on the time investment.  But its time double well spent, if I may. 

So taking advantage of the break in heat, I've been out trying to clean out the patches of dead vines that look like the photo above.  Apparently a previous owner had let these vines do precisely whatever they wanted.  Undisciplined, they refused to get jobs, called over many friends and had a kegger, which degraded into a debauched vine orgy, the remnants of which are still woven into our backyard.  Now its an impressive nest of knots all up on the side of the house (mostly removed now, see previous post), and in this patch at the side of the yard.  Another previous owner had decided to kill all the vines, had to poison them three times to do it, tried to pull them up, and mostly failed.  Apparently he found it annoying, and so he left it there.  For us.  Thanks, buddy. 

1/3 less crappy looking than original pile

There is not only vines in here (Lyme disease awaits as well, I'm sure).  Bizarre detritus has erupted forth as the knot-pile divulges its secrets.  A rope (::cringe::), a broken pair of swimming goggles, a pane of transparent plastic (broken and sharp, naturally), oh, and concrete.  There's a swath of concrete buried underneath the vines.  I don't know what it was yet, still too many vines to get a good look.  And no doubt many more treasures await. 


Doggie tried very hard to be helpful, not only by distracting me, but also by standing on the very sticks and vines I was trying to remove by tugging them free.  He sensed my displeasure, I think, and also bit some sticks intermittently.  Coming to my rescue, eh?  Gentleman Jack.  Wait.  I think that refers to something else...

D has been working on fixing shingles on the roof

If we've got to work outside, at least the heat broke.  Through the worst of it, I've kept an eye on all the plantlife at the house.  The plants in the front had me concerned a bit, but now that its a more reasonable temperature outside, I became even more so.  They haven't grown at all.  No new leaves, nothing happening.  I wondered why, but kept watering, all the while internally moping about how $hitty this whole gardening thing has turned out, in spite of my lofty green aspirations. 

Well, I finally got around to weeding the front beds the other day.  The very first weed I tugged on came up along with an entire carpet strata of mulch and such.  Which is weird, right?  I lowered the lot of it, thoughtfully.  Then I lifted again, higher this time so I could peek underneath.  This is what I saw.

What. The. Eff.

Here in front of the house I have uncovered an ugly truth.  There is less than half an inch of mulch plus a ghostly layer of something akin to soil, and then there is a giant, submerged concrete slab, significantly recessed in relation to the concrete porch square.  The layer of substrate is so shallow it isn't even as deep as my first knuckle. 

Now I'm not baffled as to why the hostas haven't gotten any larger.  I'm gobsmacked that they've survived this long.  The former owner, the august Commander Cut-Corners, knocked down a crumbling concrete planter.  (this is what I surmise)  He decided he didn't wanna work anymore, and so he hid the last few feet of concrete underground with a few handfuls of mulch, the soil is so sparse it appears to have been an accidental addition.  He set some (starving) hostas on top, and then he just left it there.  For us.  Thanks again, sir. 

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