I’m throwing in the rake

It’s the day after Halloween. We had a blast (photos to follow, maybe, if they’re any good at all). But to get to Halloween decorating, I had to venture into the backyard to fetch the rake, to make piles of leaves, to stuff stray body parts and wigs into, to make part of the front lawn look like a zombie resting place.

Don’t misunderstand me. I see my backyard every day from on high, from the Romeo and Juliet deck that towers over the yard. From that vantage point the grass never looks really tall, and you just see the tops of weedsflowers and the odd dog toy. Sure, the raspberry bushes are overgrown, but whose raspberry bushes aren’t unruly shoots and brambles?

So to gain access to the backyard and the rake, I had to go down the path between the houses, and encountered this:

This passage sealed the fate of the zombie leaf pile on Halloween night, and led directly to my decision to abandon the backyard fall cleanup

A week and a half ago there was a phenomenal storm that ripped a huge branch from the front maple. It landed on the car, with one end on the front yard, over the car and the other end touching our neighbours’ tree in the centre of their yard. It took two strapping lads to drag it and stuff it between the houses, because the wind was so fierce we figured it would keep smacking things on its way down the street. I wrote a note to number 1 son and his friend to please cut the branch down and bag it for yard waste day removal. Fail.

So I picked my way around the tree and saw my backyard from ground level for what could be the first time since the end of summer. Great horny toads! What a disaster! I’ve been asking, suggesting, prodding, threatening, even the n-word that is forbidden in my home to describe anything I do (na**ing), but no one has done anything but pick raspberries and throw toys for the puppy for the last two months, and it looks it.

It all comes back to the mum. Read the ads, make the list, cook the meals, clean the meals, buy the clothes, wash the clothes—now not only would I be raking the leaves back here, but pruning and thinning and grass-cutting and then sawing and hacking these branches down to size too.

So this morning when I opened my mail and saw one of those deal emails for a fall yard cleanup, I said NO. Actually, I said YES, I will buy this, and NO I will not get stuck doing more work around the house than I already do. So, I paid $59 (regular charge for the service is $189) for someone else to rake, bag and drag the leaves away, trim and prune my lilacs, forsythia and raspberries, fertilize, de-weed and cut the lawn.

I have felt a huge weight lifted from my shoulders, and back, and back of legs and triceps, biceps and deltoids too. I feel like a wealthy woman (the charge went through, so why not??), because for a few hours, I will have a yard man or woman. I have never had one of those. I’ll bet it feels great.

Til next time, or when I get Halloween pics from my phone.


A snail’s race at a snail’s pace…

images-11.jpgI was out in the garden this morning, early, to pick another cup or two of raspberries. We’ve had a huge output this season, thanks to all the rain. Tessa said the berries weren’t looking good yesterday, and there was too much rain to pick any. I figured they were getting overripe. So I went out with a big container to find that 90 per cent of the raspberries are bad—they are small, and have a black blight-type thing on all of them. I almost cried. I picked maybe half a cup, and even the good ones look sad.

Continue reading

A great/tragic weekend

This is a Southeast Asian red-clawed crab. It isn’t here to depict my mood this fine day. It illustrates something a little farther along in the posting, which for some reason seems really long today.

For the first time in a very long time, Monday morning felt great today. That could be because I was up before it was, so I felt I had a tactical advantage.

I spent the better part of the weekend at the computer, mastering two years of GST by deciphering, recording and wrangling, with receipts and bills pilied up around me on the desk, sidetable, rabbit food bin, file boxes and the floor. It wasn’t pretty, but when are taxes ever? I stayed there all day Continue reading

Mom blog: Because I Said So! WFMW The perfect garden


It’s Works for Me Wednesday, the day of the week when Shannon hosts a blog carnival for bloggers to post and exchange tips and tricks of every kind imaginable. Once you’ve read mine, click through to her site to find several hundred more!

I love a good garden, but I’m a lousy soil conditioner, planter, thinner, weeder, waterer, even grass cutter. The best things I do in the garden are admire and harvest. You can see my dilemma.

Four years ago I got really tired of my north-facing front garden and front door and all the flowers and planters that failed. I love a hosta as much as the next girl, but pleeeez! I thought, “Why can’t I have a perfect garden like all my neighbours?” (forget about the I-can’t-garden part). So I fled to the fancy craft store and bought silk hyrangeas, the same colour as my neighbours’ because even I know the pH value of the soil determines the colour of the blossom, and I didn’t want to stand out. Into the urns they went, and the reception was good. I branched out into tiger lilies, phlox, tulips, glads, and plenty of grasses.

Am I silly? Is it tacky? I don’t think so. My mother-in-law wasn’t suspicious, people at yard sales complimented me on my lovely urns, the house looks pretty. I get my fill of admiring, my daughter and I garden at dusk, and “plant” when the street is quiet. The only flowers that appear are season-sensitive, which means the tulips are going back into storage soon. I do plant real perennials and some annuals—I had real orange tulips this year, which led the way for the white and pale green silk tulips. There are plenty of real ferns and hostas and greenery. I only purchase at the end of the season, when silk and silk-blend stems are marked down to 75 to 80 per cent off. My back and shoulders and knees never hurt.

It Works for Me!

Here is a couple of not very good pics, my apologies, but my staff photographer had to get to school early today. And since gardening is so not fun, I have sown beans and carrots and chives indoors to be transplanted outdoors later. Check in for ongoing reports!


Bye until tomorrow!