Wednesday, March 28, 2012

ohhhh Yard Maintenance

You may recall that D broke up the concrete in the side yard because it had heaved into an angle unhelpful to the house.  Unhelpful in that it sluiced all rainwater right into the side of the house where it leaked into our basement.  The natural lay of the land has all the yards on a gradual hillside slope, and we get all the water from the neighbor's yard rushing towards ours, aimed right at our house.

We dug a trench and laid a pipe for drainage.  It has truly helped for all but the heaviest rains.  We usually don't have water on the north side of the basement anymore. 

In Process

Giant pile of spiders.  I mean rocks.
We hauled away two carloads of the bigger chunks, but there remained a sizeable, unsightly rock pile at the corner of the house. 

And so it was, for a few months.  Because we felt we'd done enough for awhile.

 Little did I know, the pile of rocks was eating away at my husband's sanity. I had no idea the sight of it so offended him.  But it seemed to speak to him, saying nasty things.  "Your yard looks awful."  And such.

Frankly, I hadn't heard a thing. 

So on Sunday the pile of concrete fragments and bricks were moved armful by heavy armful out of the yard.
And there were spiders.  There were ugly brown spiders.  And they tried to touch me.  I had the heebie-jeebies in a serious way.  And in disturbing the pile we also displaced scores, if not hundreds of little centipedes and pillbugs and all manner of creatures. 

Basically an entire ecosystem was destroyed for aesthetic purposes. 
Worth it.

and we made the pavers uniform, but clearly the alignment is all wonky...

My back is killing me. 

And so the offense has been removed.  Well, that one brick is still there to cover a hole that looks suspiciously like a snake hole.  The other brick is there to keep him company. 

Yeah, but for now, this spot is nekkid

As you can see, we managed to kill all the grass under the concrete pile.  But it doesn't matter,
the grass seed we laid in the fall has given us supergrass around the pavers.  It'll be back in no time.

I also transplanted coral bells from the side bed (formerly the den of vine orgies), where they were constantly getting trampled by the dog anyway.  They cheer up the spot where we buried Cricket.  Though the thought that I might disturb her remains gave me the heebie-jeebies, so I was careful to dig as far as I could from where I remembered her to be.  The photos I took this morning turned out awkward, so I'll post some improved shots later. 
Speaking of coral bells, I planted a line of coral bells at the side of the house after the drainage pipe was laid last fall. 


Last Fall

I think they survived the winter pretty well, and they filled out quite nicely.  Admittedly this winter was crazy mild.  Even so, it gives them a leg up.  Now they'll be well established for real winter next year.  

  Most astonishing though, are the coral bells that I put in planters on the rickety deck. 
Remember when they froze solid? 

Crispy Heuchera
This leafy fella is indestructible.  

Soon our flowers for the front garden arrive.  Cannot wait!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ault Park in Bloom

I love when the days are long enough for us to get out and play.  When the weather is as lovely as it was on St. Patty's Day, how can you not get out and enjoy it?   

I missed the first few days of beautiful weather, sprawled out on the couch with a fever.  Poor dog didn't get much exercise, and I'd like to say he was pretty good about, except he's been jumping the fences to play with the neighbors' dogs again.  And then I had to run out in my slippers and madwoman hair, apologizing, trying to coax Dog back into the yard.  And because he was passive aggressive, he took some persuading.  Humiliation.  Clever vengeance, Dog.  

But St. Patty's Day had me feeling better than I have in awhile.  So as a treat for both of us I got out early with young master Bobbins, and we went to Ault Park.  

Just like Cherry Blossom time in Japan, people were out with their families, their dogs, their cameras, to take in the beautiful blossoms.

We went early in the day, so it was still quiet, the earth and blossoms were fragrant, especially thanks to the rain yesterday. 

I'd brought my headphones but I never put them in, choosing instead to give the full attention of my senses to the show that nature was putting on.  The birdsong was adequate soundtrack for me.

People enjoy sakura in Japan by having "Flower Viewing Parties."

A bunch of friends or family with spread a tarp underneath the canopy of blossoms and have a picnic and some drinks, and just generally have a good time. 

 No familiar blue tarps at Ault Park, and at that early hour there were no picnickers either.  All for the best I suppose, as they don't smile on publicly imbibing alcohol in the park, St. Patty's Day or no.  

No picnic for me either, especially not with the Dog in tow.  I can't imagine anything more impossible, actually.  


I certainly took my time strolling the grounds.  Took a photo for a sweet young couple.  Joked about stealing their fancy camera.  ha haa.

And maybe its all in my head, but I swear that something about a shift in weather that really seems to open people up.


The usually (seemingly) standoffish Cincinnatians around me were cordial in their greetings, pleasant in their hellos.  


There was an openness, a warmth that pervaded the scene.  Or maybe I'm the one that opened up? 

Camouflage, for the win

Oh, I'm making it sound pretty pastoral, huh?  But you know what?  It kinda was.   

Star Magnolia

A Spring morning spent in Ault Park is time well spent. 


Maybe even good for the soul.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

While the D's Away, the H Will ... languish on sofa, apparently

D was gone on a business trip for a week.  Oh, the plans!  The plans I had!

Alas, I caught a sickness and spent the week exhausted, eating canned soup instead of experimental home-cooked meals, watching a marathon of Battlestar Galactica with the dog while dosing myself with cold meds and wishing I had less to do at work so that I could take some sick days.  I'm much better, but still a bit run down.
And no longer home alone.  What a rotten shame.

Bobby makes me fastforward through all BSG scenes focusing on blonde Slut-bot

I was going to have this thematic week of fresh-veg meals with mushrooms and tomatoes.  A pizza.  A salad.  A fritata.  I was struck with a desire to eat fresh veg when D pulled up a bit of our lawn and chewed on it.  True story.  We were surveying the front yard, taking note of a possible bulb coming up, and at the corner of the lawn were bits of very green, long curlicuing blades.

"What is that?"  I asked.  David walked over, stooped without pausing, and ripped a handful away.
"Hey!" I complained, right before he put it in his mouth and tore off bits with his teeth.  He savored my dumbfounded expression for a moment before he let me know, "it's green onion," and offered me some.  I took it, sniffed it, and bit off a teeny cud of my own. 

By George, it was. 

What a lovely, edible surprise!  Of course, seeing as how its in the front yard by the sidewalk, it was probably peed on by all the neighborhood dogs.  I washed them before I made D a pre-flight lunch with them. This bean/tomato/onion salad was the only "cooking" I did all week.  And its not "cooked."  Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans.

Thar be green onion in thar
That's pretty much the extent of all productivity for the week.  No cooking, cleaning, dancing, nothing.

"Whut? You like what you see?"

I was well enough to spend the gorgeous St. Patty's Day at Ault Park!  If you're a Cincy local, go.  Go now.  It's a beautiful day!