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Monday, February 7, 2011

Backyard Reclamation Project

I've been meaning to write about this for awhile, but wanted to attach all the photos I've got before I did. Now that I've finally uploaded the pictures to Picassa, here's the post.

Picture of spiders in my backyard.
So, my backyard is a jungle. It's fairly large, with a gentle inclining slope from the house to the property line, filled with tall, old trees, and covered in English Ivy. Ivy is really great for those who don't want to have to take care of their yards. It is not so good for people with young children who are bizarrely paranoid of their children getting bitten by snakes or spiders.

I also randomly have a greenhouse attached the back of the house that was left over from the previous owners of the house. I would be lying if I said that the greenhouse wasn't one of the reasons I liked the house so much.

Backyard as seen from back of the house.
 Anyway, another part of the weird-30-something mood I've been in lately is that I've become very preoccupied with my inability to make anything, or know anything about survival outside of turning on a computer and using a microwave. To combat this growing paranoia about my relative uselessness, survivally-speaking, I've decided to reclaim my backyard and greenhouse for my own, and take it once and for all form the forces of nature.

The jungle.
 In order to do this I need to tear up about 25 square yards of ivy and then plant grass seed and/or find a nice landscaping option. I will also need to completely dismantle the greenhouse and clean it and replace the missing panes of glass, and re-lacquer the wood parts that have been exposed to the elements for nearly a decade. Both of these may sound like weekend projects, but to give you an idea of how large my ambitions are, I have filled over 30 yard bags* with ivy over the last several weekends and am only about 1/5 of the way done with the backyard. I spent four hours last Sunday replacing 5 (yes, only 5) panes of glass on the greenhouse. There are 32 panes of glass on this thing.

The greenhouse.
So basically, like, this is a pretty big project, but in the end it will be way worth it, if only for the education of it all.

Here are some tentative plans for the backyard: plant grass so that my son has some good running room back there, plant a small garden to grow veggies that my fam likes, create a cool landscaped path that winds through the trees, have a compost heap in the very back of the property to teach my son about death and other cool things.

Here is my plan with the greenhouse: to grow small edible foods to transfer to the garden once the weather gets good enough. That's why I've focused all my energies on the greenhouse, because in March I can start planting things like squash and green beans so that they will be germinated and ready to transfer to the garden by mid-April.

So, there you go. There's my plans for my Backyard Reclamation Project. Pictures and updates to follow. Hopefully by the end of the year I will have a reclaimed backyard and finished novel to share with y'all.

Wish me luck.

*Which, BTW, filling yard bags have become super easy with the invention, and purchase by me of, this little doo-dad... I got a cheap one from Home Depot, but you get the idea. A funnel. Go fig, right?


Mister Booze said...

You know, the ivy can be turned into fertilizer fairly easily. My grandpa had a great backyard with fruit and vegetables. He had a big pile in the back corner where he put all the yard clippings and rotten produce to make good topsoil for next year. I think they call that compost, but I'm not too familiar with that hippie crap.

Alan Stewart Carl said...

Oh, man, I've been slowly redoing my back yard for years. Them things take ridiculous amounts of time. But it does make you feel like you might have some useful skills outside of words and such.

Tres Crow said...

Mister Booze, I'm definitely going to set up a compost bin so I'll probably use the last bit of ivy to facilitate that. Right now there is simply so much of it that I would have to have a compost pile somewhere around the size of my house in order to get rid of it all. The stuff is crazy hard to get rid of. You have to pull it up with a rake and by hand, and then power till the roots so that they don't come back.

Alan, somehow I thought you'd be a backyardsman. It just seemed like something you'd be into. I don't mind the time commitment so much because it's sort of spiritual for me. It makes me feel connected to something greater than myself when I'm outside workiing my bones. Plus it gives me tons of time to think about my next moves with the words and such.

Tondar said...

Big Lots has a surprisingly decent collection of outdoor tools at reasonable prices.


Tres Crow said...

I agree, death to the spiders!