Welcome to Small Reflections

"Nothing is ever achieved without enthusiasm."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Duck photo source: Lisa's Chaos
I hope you enjoy your visit. If you're looking for something specific, check out the links to posts by category in my sidebar and down a ways. They'll assist with tracking down different types of posts found on each of my three blogs. You might also enjoy checking out the other sites: Sacred Ruminations, Blog Rolls, Bling & Blurbs, and Happily Retired Gal.

I hope you'll look around & leave comments
then visit me at my new blog ...

Giraffe Journal

and/or website ... Labyrinth Journal
both self-hosted at WordPress
where I publish as myself
rather than under a

I've not had much time for posting or blog visits, but if you're interested I hope you'll find time to check out my new blog, Giraffe Journal or my Labyrinth Journal website ... both self hosted at WordPress.

Thanks for your visit and have a delightful day ;--)
Hugs and blessings,

Monday, November 26, 2007

Reclaiming my Yard (Part 2) or A Slow & Tedious Single-Handed Transition

I suppose this could also be entitled
How I Made a Bunch of New Friends From
Passers-by Who Stopped to Chat :)

Day by day (as time & energy permitted) I worked in the yard ... enjoying my progress (however slow & tedious it seemed to others) ... making new friends as folks on their way to and from the beach stopped to comment (many offering suggestions as to how I might speed things along, not realizing I was using this as a meditative practice). I spent considerable time thinking about how I might similarly reclaim the inside of my home (as in clear out the clutter of books and reading material that collect on any horizontal surface despite my best intentions).

I started by cutting the Korean grass covering the concrete "footer" originally designed & put in place to keep the lawn out of the flowerbeds. I knew it was there, but others were surprised as it reappeared. Next I cut back the bushes encroaching on my walk-way to the house, then started digging out the roots. That's when I discovered the first of many 3" in diameter roots from the city's tree on my neighbor's parkway and invested in a hand-saw to cut them out in foot-long pieces so I could pull them out in sections.

As it turned out, those tree roots were EVERYWHERE in my yard (and probably still run under the grass area) though the offending tree itself has been removed after the fact (illegally, of course, by my new neighbors who afterwards planted something in its place that is lovely and hopefully less intrusive ... all without the city's knowledge ... just as others on the block have done previously). When they asked me about taking this action (ie should they get a permit first), I suggested that it's often easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission in such cases. Actually, I suspect it's quite possible the city is relieved to have home-owners pay for such removal and replacement :)

But I digress (please bear with me as my mind wanders often these days) so I'll now continue with my tale of transition.

Removing the grass from the stream bed was most challenging. I'd clear out a section of rocks, pull the grass out by the roots, replace the 27 year old plastic with a new piece (cut to size & overlapping the previous one), sprinkle a little rock salt to slow down future grass growth, and replace the rocks one-by-one before moving on to the next section and repeating the process. Of course this took WEEKS of daily effort, but I enjoyed the pleasant weather and didn't worry about how long it would take. I snapped photos of my progress to email to family and friends (and now to share with you), but as I look at the photo-collage ... I realize it doesn't contain those close-up pix, so maybe I'll see if I can make a "mini-collage" to use in a later post (making note to self as I type that thought here).

I suppose I could have invested in a weed-wacker and/or some other tools, but I am "a senior citizen" and doing this by hand allowed me to sit down on the job. In addition, it didn't require me to learn new skills or risk injury by accident :)

Eventually it did become obvious (even to my independent self) that I could use some help. I managed to use my trusty pruning tools and newly acquired hand-saw to prune the lime and lemon trees (as I've done yearly for decades) as well as to decimate the peach tree that had never produced edible fruit probably because it was planted too close to the house and in the shade of the lime tree. What I couldn't do however was dig out the massive root system created by this tree over its 27 year life span. So, I enlisted the help of a local gardening service for this purpose.

When they offered a deal I couldn't refuse, I hired them also to finish stripping the lawn for me (much to the relief of my aching hands and back) and to clear off the parkway. It took three workers more than 4 hours (using power tools) to make the lawn area level as in the photo on the left, second from the bottom. Even better, they hauled away the debris so I didn't have make multiple trips dragging heavy trash cans filled to capacity the 120 feet from my front yard to the alley behind my house :)

I plan to create a mini-grid of those photos and pictures taken while they dug out the Tam Junipers on the parkway along with the Korean grass doing it's best to overtake them and claim the area for its own. The "parkway" task took 4 workers almost 5 hours to accomplish! Maybe I'll post it with the other mini-collage of my "rock clearing" photos.

So Karen ... I hope you enjoy Part 2 as much as you did Part 1.
More to follow as time permits :)


Anonymous said...

Wow! How long did it all take you up to this point? Are you envisioning ever being done, or will this end up one being one of those projects that are never completed--something to always work on and meditate in?

I am in awe of all the work you have done.

storyteller said...

Hmmm ... I finished the yard project in the Fall of 2006 (about 6 months after I started), although I do plant new flowers and plants periodically to "update" things.
This "retrospective look" at the process may continue indefinitely ... but I'm learning as I go and that's a pleasure. I hoped it would go faster, but it's going to evolve gradually I suspect. Such is the way of most things in life. I can’t fail if I don’t quit, so bear with me please :)
Hugs and blessings,

Anonymous said...

Of course, now that I think of it (and I must tell you the thinking isn't going well--have been dealing with a sick four year old for the past two days), how can one ever be finished with a garden?

storyteller said...

Hope your little one feels better soon and that no one else in the family catches the bug :)
Hugs and blessings,

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