Week two. And I’ve had so many thoughts this week, I actually started composing a blog post in my head like the olden days of blogging, but there’s just too much to organize linearly. Therefore, I am going to sit here and spill and whatever comes out, well, there you have it.
My weeks of late are defined by my weekends. But since last I wrote, I spent a lot of time out in the garden, stacking blocks into various configurations. I’ve probably hauled about 200 cinder blocks from outside the gate to somewhere inside the fence, and stacked them lovingly on top of precarious other blocks.
To level or not to level? I wasn’t sure what to do with the cinder block beds. The one bed Cole helped me level is the only one I’m not satisfied with – but that might be because it’s 3 blocks high and still a bit uneven. I’ll work on it. I’ll figure it out.
The other beds mostly settle. They don’t really need leveling. As I stack, I’m amazed by how much dog poop I MISS when I’m out there scooping poop. Hopefully these better-defined spaces will encourage/discourage poopingness where appropriate. If I can establish an area for Lulu to go, that would make it super easy for me. At this point, she does seem to naturally avoid the beds and the people-sitting areas…but after that, it’s anyone’s guess.
(So, this is what happens when you ignore a blog post that wants to be written all day – you end up talking about where the dog is going to poop in the new yard layout.)
I like the way the concrete beds juxtaposed with the overgrown garden looks like my yard is ancient ruins with wild abandoned crops of kale and broccoli going to seed in the midst of it all.
I continue to remind myself to go slow and think in increments. If I try too hard to do everything that I want to do all at once, I will end up burning out. This is supposed to be fun, and I’m enjoying it. Even the hauling of blocks feels like good exercise and I’m thankful that my body is capable of it. The best way to ensure that my body continues to be capable of it is to continue working on it. Just like the only way I will know if I’m capable of maintaining gardens is to continue working on them.
So far, I’d say I’ve caught the bug. I am waking up every morning, wanting to look at it again. To size things up. To measure progress.
This weekend, Dani came by and started working on the chicken coop we have been talking about for some time. I helped – if by help you mean very occasionally handing things to her and watching her brain devise and spontaneously adapt amazingly creative design ideas. She incorporated waste from all around my yard in the design and bent it all to her will. I’m really excited about what the finished project will look like.
More importantly, I feel inspired to continue to explore building things…in slow, tentative ways. I was too busy hauling blocks to really petition Dani to show me how to use the power tools like I had planned, but I was impressed with the reciprocal saw she had, and feel like it will be a good place for me to start using more tools. I have so many little trees to clear and much of the branches and twigs from around the yard can be cut down and laid in the beds before the dirt arrives.
But the day for me started before Dani arrived, and I was contemplating lawns.
I don’t mow my lawn. I have a lawnmower. It’s even a nifty battery-operated one. I even replaced the battery that was accidentally left plugged in forever and therefore no longer holds a charge. But I can’t bring myself to mow. I love my long, waving seed stalks. I’d much rather hack at my lawn with a weed whacker than shear it to obscene uniformity.
Now, I understand neighbors being concerned about weeds. And there’s definitely some weeding that I am behind on…but I gotta say, I kind of like an unkempt yard. Bit by bit I might train it to be unkempt in a more aesthetically pleasing way, but it might not ever meet the standards of some of my neighbors.
It’s funny, because the yard is the most outward-facing part of your home. It is what puts your personality on display to the neighborhood and passersby. Up until now, I haven’t really been intentional about what I’m communicating to people through my yard. I don’t know if that, in itself, communicates something…but in the future, I hope to communicate more clearly and intentionally. Even if what I’m communicating is a big mess. hahaha.
At any rate, I asked Dani what she thought of lawns and of “good” weeds and “bad” weeds. I was telling her that I feel like I have been gathering information about my yard this whole year. I have learned which weeds I want to discourage, and I recognize leaf shapes that I don’t recognize – meaning, I know those are likely things that are either newly planted or newly accidentally seeded. Either way – I’m giving unknowns the benefit of the doubt until I get to know them.
In other words – I’m learning by doing. Because I don’t care how many books about plants I read – I’m still not going to know what that little lettucey-looking thing is until it becomes what it’s going to become right in front of my freaking eyes.
It was a good day. I got a lot done. But I was pretty exhausting going into chicken coop building day 2. Someone once told me “The best thing about being an introvert is you are never disappointed when people cancel.” – So when Dani had to postpone day two, I got right into the groove of Lainieland. I spent much much much of the morning laying out in my chair under the oak tree, listening to a cacophony of birdsong descend, then lift, then descend again, and the mild breeze through darkening leaves.
I got myself a table for one.
I ordered what is probably going to be literally TONS of dirt.
And I put further thought into my special little garden.
Because all of the talk about lawns made me think “There really is SOMETHING about a well-kept lawn that is appealing.” The idea of having space where I can roll in, without worrying that I’m going to roll right into a pile of something. The idea of not having rocks. The idea of being in touch with the earth fully without getting coated with dust or dirt. So, lawns aren’t EVIL…they are just overabundant.
What if, within the wild unkemptness of my yard – smack in the middle, in that spot that is traumatically significant to me…what if I create an oasis of buffalo grass – which is my favorite luxurious sitting/laying groundcover – fenced in, so no dog can enter, with a vintage gated arbor that I will search for until I find something that’s absolutely perfect, and until then will block the entrance with whatever I can find.
And since this bed will be in the middle of the yard where the sun is turned up to 11 for a significant portion of daylight hours – what if I surround my oasis with night blooming flowers and silvery grasses…and pretty lights. My tiny yard. My little night-time oasis. Big enough for one – maybe two – to lay in and watch the stars.
So, now while I’m totally TOTALLY psyched for next week when I get my soil and can finally start planting vegetables…I’m extra SUPER psyched to clear the space for my moon garden. I will likely have to wait until after winter to seed the buffalo grass, but if it comes to that, I might just consider buying sod. It’s a small area, and…I CAN’T WAIT TO ROLL AROUND IN MY BUFFALO GRASS NIGHT TIME GARDEN.
Sorry about that outburst. Hahaha.
So, I spent much of today regrouping. Thinking and planning – if not on paper, then in my head.
And listening to birds.