Friday, July 23, 2010

Determination and Dirt

Early in the summer I realized how burdened I felt with my yard work. It so happens that I've been working on three different areas, some for about 20 years now. They never seem to get to the point where I can say the basic ground work is completed. I decided that I would get two of those areas to that point this year, and complete the third area next summer. It has given me a sense of motivation that has held up through the worst of summer's heat, humidity and glare.

My plan is simple: every morning by 9:00, weather permitting, I head out the door in my grungiest of clothing, spray on a layer of insect repellent, and grab my shovel. I work until noon, with short breaks for water, a Snickers ice cream bar and a periodic to-the-elbows scrub in poison ivy treatment.

Significant progress has been made. I have:
1. removed all the grass in the cul-de-sac area and covered it with a layer of compost.
2. planted shrubs, ground covers and flowering plants in that area.
3. removed nearly all the myrtle, which was overrun with grass and weeds under the pines area. This probably added up to 200 square feet of area entirely dug up.
4. brought home, so far, three cubic yards of compost to help out plants in the sandy soil.
5. brought in two van loads of plant materials from a generous friend's yard.
6. divided and spread out plant materials into the cleared ground under the pines.
7. cleared out myrtle in the terraced area, replacing it with perennial flowers and mulch.
8. moved plants that will be in the way when the dead pines are cut down next month.
9. managed to water often enough that things are staying alive, if not thriving.
10. carried countless buckets of the removed myrtle to my neighbor's house to help move forward her projects.

Most days I find myself covered with dirt, sweating profusely in soaked clothes and staggering with weariness by noon--but the prize is in sight! I look forward to-- not finishing the yard work--but getting to that point where I am seeking to improve something that is already good--making it great. It's like being a cabinet maker--the pieces are all cut and assembled. What is left is the sanding, polishing, and fine-tuning that make it an accomplished work of art.

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