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Progress - or at least exercise

A couple of days ago, I finally went and picked up/fixed/re-stacked the woodpile that had fallen over into the yard - last November.  The next step after that needed to be to rake the yard preparatory to putting down seed.  Well, we haven't raked for a while.  A good long while.  (Because Bob said he'd do it.  We just won't explore that line of speculative fiction.)  So I figured that the logical way to approach this was to start by clearing all the wood detritus off the deck, give it a good sweeping, and then work my way clockwise around the back yard, ending with raking out the thatch and moss in the yard itself.

Yeah, good one.

The deck went fast - I broke down the wood racks, cleaned up the mess and swept.  Then I dug out the channel between the edge of the deck and the edge of the Bilco door.  The house is chock full of little crevices like that - slots that were badly thought out and apparently designed to catch leaves.  I need to figure out a solution for that.  I'd extend the deck to meet the door when we redo the deck, but I suspect it would then interfere with the septic tank.  Joy.  The leaves were two feet deep in there.  I worked my way down to the garage people-door, and doubled back to the empty garden bed.  Now at this point the plan had been to start raking the grass, but I'd piled so many leaves on it that they were going to need to be hauled first.  So instead I raked out the garden bed and beat back the English ivy.  Since that can never be eradicated, I've settled for cutting it back to the roots every year.  As I was working around the creeping hydrangea, Bob came out - unnagged - and started hauling the piles back to the woods.  Since the weather has been perfect for this (just a bit cool, and no real bugs except gnats,) I decided to be thorough and gave the creeping hydrangea one heck of a haircut.  Basically, I'm trimming everything so that I can get under it to rake.  That one still needs some more pruning, but I'm going to let those shoots bloom first.  I also beat back where it was creeping on the ground, because it was getting out of hand.

All of this pruning slowed me down enough that Bob was able to keep up with the mess I was producing, so that worked out nicely.  Cleaning under the mock orange, the verbena, and the witch hazel wasn't a problem, but then I got to the forsythia.  That... needed work.  I basically ended up climbing into it.  Pulled out the volunteers, trimmed back the canes, cut out all the dead stuff - what a pain.  Once I'd cleaned up to the path to the range, I remembered that I had a chiropractor appointment!  Done for the day.

Today - more of the same.  Cleaned out the garden on the other side of the deck, and repeated the process with the next forsythia.  Cleaned down the side of the library and one side of the gardens down the front.  I repeated the English ivy process with the euonymous.  I didn't rake the house side because - pachysandra.  I'm beginning to hate pachysandra.  I have to assess if it's practical to try to pull it out, because it's creating an environment of old, wet leaves and thick growth right up against the house.  Honestly, I'd prefer plain old mulch.  But that's a LOT of pachysandra to pull out.  Oy.

So rather than try to rake out those beds, I moved around to the side of the garage.  I cut the boxwood down *again.*  I really need to dig those stumps.  Maybe next week.  Beat back the euonymous over there, and got that all raked out.  Since I'd been at it for three hours and was starting to see spots in front of my eyes, called it quits.

I need to figure out what to do about all this.  The stuff we inherited with the house is either not working or not to my taste, and I clearly don't have the time to maintain anything extensive.  I'm not going to be doing the walk this year - even if we do it ourselves it will be expensive, and I have to admit that I'm flummoxed by the sheer quantity of materials that will be needed if I'm going to do it right.  I think this year may be the year of "pull out the "bad" stuff."  For example, I really dislike the giant solomon's seal that's right across from the front door.  So let's dig it out.  Likewise the boxwood stumps.  Maybe start beating back the pachysandra on *one* side of the front door.  That seems doable, and it will make a visual difference.  I think I'm also going to plant some black-eyed susans in one problem spot.  It gets sun now that some trees have come down, susies are sturdy, attractive, and I really like them.  And if they volunteer elsewhere, I'm good with that.

Right now - I'm just really tired.  I hear it may rain tomorrow.  Darn.

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