April 11th, 2011

House - spring

Another weekend, another 250 mountain laurels sprayed

Round two, and I think the laurels are winning. Luckily the weather was better this Saturday than it was last Sunday. I’m not sure it was warmer but there was significantly less wind, which helped a lot. Also, I was starting with the larger, more functional sprayer, so I didn’t exhaust myself immediately. That said, it was more of the same although this time I also did some related “landscaping” work. We cut down some volunteer hemlocks that were growing out of the side of the driveway, and I dragged some deadwood out of the area closest to the house, and also down out of the frontage. Then it was lots and lots of spraying. I sincerely hope this is effective, because it’s an unconscionable amount of work if it’s not. While I was spraying the laurels, Bob put together the new cart that we bought at Costco when we went to get the shelves. It looks like it was a good buy. He cut up and hauled off the stuff I was cutting down and piling up, and when those piles were gone he pulled apart the woodpile that came with the house. The pieces that were sound are now on our woodpile, and the ones that weren’t have gone back to the brush pile. I pulled the remaining stack of flagstones out of the same area, and we picked up the last of the brick pile, and I raked away however many years of detritus. That spot is now clear, and we have someplace to put the swingset. The plan is to put that together next weekend.

Now I need to clear out the side of the garage to move the extension ladder inside. That’ll be tedious. Maybe I can pick away at it over the course of the week.

It looks so insignificant, boiled down to one paragraph like that. But it was close to six hours of backbreaking work. Even better – I get to do it again next week! Hopefully next week my new pruners will have come, and I can cut deadwood out of the laurels. That will help. I’ll see if I can get Bob to follow along with the new cart, and we can haul all the dead stuff straight back to the brush pile instead of forgetting to come back for it later. It’s frustrating – I know how I want it to be – I can see it in my head – and it’s going to take a long time and a lot of work to get there. It’s a wooded lot, so it’s never going to have a ton of curb appeal – I believe “not a drive by” is the real estate terminology – but I want it to at least look neat and maintained.

Sunday was a bit discombobulated. In the morning I sent Bob off to Agway, and he came home with propane, weed & feed, grass seed, and bird seed. While he was doing that, I was chipping paint off the back deck, because someone insisted on being outside, and it was a choice of take her outside or wring her neck. So we went outside.

As a separate thought, I’m just about to resort to a chemical stripper for the deck. It’s probably not good for the adjacent plants, but there just isn’t much there right now. I’ve been ripping things out, but I haven’t put anything new in yet. If I’m going to end up stripping the deck, now would be a very good time - *before* I put in all sorts of expensive perennials on the edges. I think a stop at the Depot for label reading is in the future.

The second half of Sunday was a housewarming party for a coworker. They bought a fabulous old historic house in Durham – it’s what my house is trying to be. The difference is that my house has modern insulation and modern wiring and modern plumbing… Regardless, it’s a lovely old house with a huge lawn, nice trees, and a fish pond – we absolutely could not tear Charlotte away from the fishies. We’re going to have to take this kid to Mystic Aquarium – she’ll dissolve in delight. The highlight of the day though, was talking to a lady named Donna. She knows my coworker from when they all lived in California. Her family moved to Connecticut, and now ten years later David’s family has come east also. In the course of conversation she mentioned that she lived in Woodstock, I mentioned that I had friends in Woodstock, aaannnnnd... she is friends with my old friend Daryl, whom I see maybe once every five years at this point. Yet again, the shrinkage of the world is alarming. We bailed out just as Charlotte was getting to be “done,” gave her a bath when we got home, and we all fell apart. Never did make it to the grocery store, so I get to do that on the way home tonight.

Yet again, I need a weekend to recover from my weekend. What I could really use is a series of three day weekends – that way I could work like a dog for two days, recover for one, and go back to work ready to go. I even already know what the agenda is for next weekend (weather permitting.) Spray the mountain laurels. Weed & Feed the back yard. Put the extension ladder in the garage. Assemble the swingset.

I live an exciting, fun-filled life, don’t I? I really hope I don’t have to play this game with the laurels every year. If so, I’m just spraying the ones I can see – the ones back in the woods are on their own.

Next task is to make a list of the expensive projects and prioritize them – see what we can do this year and start scheduling them. I think the tree guy might be happening soon.