what i really wanted to say was – holy *crap*! we bought a house! yes, i said i didn’t want to swear as much, but – ohmigodwhatwerewethinking? we. bought. a. house.
so. i call my dad the other night, for a little bit of insight into, and compassion about, the whole home buying thing, because it’s freaking me out, realizing on increasing levels what we’ve committed to, hubby and me, and dad has been thru this, three times personally, and many more times as a major mover and shaker for the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. i explain to him that the whole homeowner thing is crazy. and he says: ‘yup, said that a lot, especially with the first house.’ then i explain to him that i’ve been freaking out about how much property we own. i really didn’t know until i tried to get it under control, and is it always like this when you buy a place? so he says, ‘well, if you called for sympathy about the weeds, you called the wrong place.’ (shades of ‘i walked uphill, both ways, in the snow, to school!’) and, coup de grace, ‘well, you did walk the property line, didn’t you?’ gah!!
(don’t get me wrong – i love my dad to pieces. he and i fought a lot as i was growing up, but i realized a few things as i got older. i am my father’s daughter, in spades. i absorbed so many of his traits that i had to spend a lot of time looking at who i am, why i’m that way, and what i appreciate about that. so i’ve come to peace with why we fought, and, in many ways, who i am. i also realized that, regardless of our differences, my dad has always wanted the best for me. we may disagree about the path, but the intent, and the love, has always been there.)
back to the story. 😉 all i wanted to do at that moment was throttle my dad. could you not have one soft bone in your body, and say, ‘yeah, it sucks, but it gets better, and you’ll come to love the weeds’? (come to find out, i interrupted his viewing of the Red Sox game. so just say that up front, dad! nobody should ever get in the way of The Boys of Summer laying it out. 😉 )
no, dad, i didn’t walk the property line. because we’ve lived here for a year, and because the property line looks like this:
i didn’t especially feel like bushwhacking up five levels of terraced garden which are all overgrown. it does have a lot of potential, with many lovely rock walls, and a stand of money plants on the back left corner of the property, which is wonderful. since i planted a stand of Chinese lantern plants out front, i’ve wanted to add in some money plants, but talked myself out of buying any just now. so it was a big treat to find that there were already some here. and if it turns out that they’re just over the line in another yard? i don’t think anyone would mind if i nicked a few seeds.
granted, there is a lot of potential there. at some point, the owners cared about the place, and created some wonderful spaces. there are vestiges of wonderful gardens, and some lovely landscaping, in particular the stone walls.
anywhoo, since i started to wrap my mind around just how much *land* we own, in addition to a lot of freakin’ house, i’ve tried to tackle it one small patch at a time. for starters, i picked up some dwarf marigolds to fill in the space by the front walk. yes, they’re annuals, but for small change, it seems like an easy way to have a lot of color and be happy seeing color and plants there. also, they’re pretty sturdy plants, so if Little Man and his buds tramp over them, it’s not a big deal.
i’ve also spent a fair amount of time on the front garden. it’s pretty much been a wreck since we moved in, all overgrown, and a few weeds (def: plants existing where they are not wanted) taking over the whole space. so, since we signed papers, i’ve turned the front patch from a weed-infested space into this, after it looked much like the back patch/property line:
i’ve been especially happy with some of the plants, like the verbena that’s gone wild, filling in some big spaces and adding a lot of color and texture:
and rearranging plants in the past few days, i’ve come up with a corner that makes me very happy. yeah… not much *planning* went into the front patch. so, as bits and pieces of it come together, it’s a joy to see. i moved a crimson barberry to make room for another plant that would attract hummingbirds, and ended up with this:
crimson daylilies, crimson barberry, and crimson fountain grass, with a background of Chinese lanterns, stonecrop, and rocks.
mostly, it makes me happy that when i walk out on the deck and look down, i see this:
yeah, there are a lot of lawn waste bags, but they’ll be picked up this week, and it’s only the tip of the iceberg, as it were, of detritus. right now, i love looking down on all the plants.
i’ve also spent a lot of time setting up bird feeders. why this is the thing that makes it feel like my land, my home, i do not know. my gramp always had gardens, and a bird feeder he could watch from his chair in the den, so maybe that’s it. but honestly, the love of birds seems like a new thing for me. i’ve set up, so far, a pole-mounted feeder in the front patch, a bird bath, a suet feeder hung off the porch, a thistle feeder, and a nut feeder for the squirrels so they’ll leave the birds alone.
i remulched the area under the pole feeder today, since there was too much seed falling into the garden. two things: fermenting bird seed smells like bread dough, and newspaper is a great weed deterrent when put down under mulch. i’ve also set up a hummingbird feeder, which started down front, and then moved up to the den window.
and for much of the birdfeeder happiness, i have Chef and Wild Birds Unlimited to thank. after marinating in the car the other day, in fruitless pursuit of another store, i looked up WBU on Chef’s suggestion. it was even harder to find than the other store, but the guy who runs it? was limitlessly helpful and patient, not only with directions, but also with all my questions. honestly, walking into that store was a deep draught of fresh air, and shopping there was one of the happiest experiences i’ve had in ages. i’ve got the setup i want for the moment, and loved talking to WBU Guy, and respect his knowledge and patience. the man should be a bird saint. 😉
the next reclamation project was the side garden. it was just nas. tay. bleargh. after much weeding and replanting, it looks like this, which is a far sight better than what it was. hey, that edging wall in the front? i built it. go, me! i dug out a trench, set in the cobblestones, and made a nice little edge for that end of the garden. by the way, everything in this garden and the front garden are perennials, so i’m thinking it’s a good investment. the plants will come back, and a house always looks better with happy plants growing around it. now, if i can just tame the weeds… 😉
actually, even more than the weeds, i’d like to tame the freakin’ rocks. as i work thru the garden spaces, it becomes crystal clear to me why New England is full of rock walls. what the hell else would you do with all the damn rocks? yeah, yeah, less cursing… you dig out farkin’ stumps and rocks for hours on end, and try to restrain your tongue. herewith, the rocks dug out of the side garden:
this week, i’ve been working on the other side of the house, trying to reclaim (slowly) the mishegas on that side. i swear, the plants there have been growing up, thru, around, and beside a trash heap/rock pile for aeons. so far, i’ve decided to work on just the first part of the ‘not rock garden’, because tearing out stumps and excavating rock walls, i can only go so far. so, i’ve been clearing out the first half:
to make room for the plants waiting for a new home. when i finally get all the damn stumps out, or at least as much as i can (and make peace with the rest of the shrub coming back, because you can always work with ugly), and remulch the soil, and dig out the last freakin’ construction screw, and reset the middle stone wall (needs to have the foundation stone reseated, and part of the wall built back up), then the plants can go in, and should be fine.
the irony in all of this, as i pointed out to Little Man tonight, as he bashed rocks into small pieces, is that hubby is the one who wants the rock garden. 😉
i’ve spent a fair amount of time (altho not as much time as with the rocks) picking worms out of the soil, and moving them to where i’m not digging. seems only right.
it may take a while, tho, to de-stump and ‘destonify’ this particular garden. not even halfway done, and so far, the stones extracted (on the left, keepers, on the right, trash):
yewpha. and as if the outside projects aren’t enough, i’ve been chipping away at inside projects. tonight’s project was scrubbing the kitchen floor, in a big way. take every dang stick of everything out of the kitchen, get down with a scrub brush and bucket, and clean. thankfully, our former landlord picked very pretty tiles for the kitchen. otherwise, i may have given up on the nasty, slippery, sweaty, gross job of scrubbing down the kitchen. in the end, it was all worth it. and hubby, bless him, came in and said, ‘ooooh! ahhhh! pretty!’ 🙂
also, just because. he is the cutest cat on the face of the earth. love my kitty.
mmmphrgh. ‘nite, all. 🙂
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