22 March 2010

my latest project, aka why I ache

Our fabulous little house was vacant for almost exactly a year by the time we moved in. Frankly, I was surprised that the yard hadn't gone more to-seed. To wit:

Our little patch of at-least-they-didn't-pave-everything on the right-hand side there looked pretty normal. Blank-slate-ish, almost. And then it rained.

It rained a lot. For a long time (for L.A., anyway). And this happened:

To use a local expression ... duuuuuuude.

Actually, we didn't think it was so bad -- at least it's green, right? Sure, we started to get flyers for landscaping services on our gate every day. Okay, fine, fair enough. But it wasn't a priority (hello, bathroom?).

Then we got a notice from the city about fire hazards & fines for non-compliance with brush-clearing ordinances.


The Mr. suggested acquiring a weed whacker from the nearby Home Despot. I countered that unless we yanked those babies out by the roots, we'd just be caught in an endless cycle of brush-clearance despair. (Side note to the neighbors I suspect were laughing at us during the Puffy Yard Stage: at least we don't park cars on it, n'est pas?) And just in case you were hoping (you? okay, me -- I was hoping) that said roots were shallow & not-so-hardy, behold:

In other news, I've discovered that gloves aren't for pussies ... they're for people who don't like bleeding.

Anyway: after a few days of "perhaps" overdoing it (where "perhaps" = lying in bed at night, unable to make a fist because my hands were so swollen), I produced this:

Also, it turns out that the city of L.A. will pick up as much yard waste as you can bag/bundle once a year for free! -- which is a good thing, because we are about 25 Hefty bags past our green trash bin's capacity. Why so many? Did I mention I did the backyard, too?

It's cool -- I know I'm insane.

I also have plans. They're modest plans, at least to start, and they involve scouring Craigslist daily for free stuff we can use to make a desert-friendly garden (because we live in the desert, folks. There are no lawns in the effing desert! Ahem.) For starters, I want to hide our lovely retaining wall with some of these:
I ordered 4 "starter sized" plants, and seeds for some smaller ones like these:
all at Amazon. As soon as they arrive, we'll see if I can manage to not kill them. Because it's important to have goals, kids. Write that down.


Peanut said...

You are brave. We are just ignoring our mess. On the little front lawn and the HUGE (3 lots altogether) back yard that happens to be on a hilly slope. Yeah... We hope one day, when we win a lottery, to have a pretty rock garden with nothing that can grow around it. Even if it is a desert plant, just because I somehow manage to kill everything, including cacti. And, by the way, first thing we did when we bought the house last July - we paid a TON of money to remove all that dry brush from the property. Fire hazard my a.. :-(

Christa Terry said...

We're right there with you on the house fixing up front, since we have a fixer-upper with a yard that loves plants and hates grass. We don't really want grass anyway, even though it's a New England staple. Boring! But we're also not sure how our neighbors will react to our growing food in the half of the front yard where the grass just won't grow.

samantha said...

i love it. I have a great pair of yard gloves, and they get an awesome use every year at planting time.

and it's a great work out. not that you actually need more of a work out, but you know, you can feel good about it!