Sunday, April 26, 2009


This doesn't look like much, but that's exactly the point.

When I bought my house, the yard was in pretty bad shape. It's in worse shape now, thanks to my (former) dog, my kid, and my own indifference. But I want it on record that the state of my yard is not my fault. Not entirely.

But that empty patch there? It was overgrown until very recently. And the fact that it's now clear is completely my fault.

When I moved in, a line of seven dying arborvitae provided privacy between my tangle of weeds and the fine landscaping of my neighbors' urban oasis. Fifteen months later I ditched the husband and, to prove to the world that I didn't need no man, I took out those damn trees with my own bare hands. And a hacksaw. It was exhausting work, and so I decided to dig out the stumps and roots on another day.

That day was yesterday. (For those of you who don't know, those trees came out in 2003, so... um... yeah. Shut up. I've been busy.) I got four of the seven out easily. The other three are tangled into the roots of the mammoth chestnut tree and will require a little more finesse. Also out: a completely dead rose bush, some sort of scraggly three-foot bushy thing that I think crawled through from under the fence, a diseased but persistent pear treelet that I've removed on at least three other occasions, and a spiderweb of bloodthirsty blackberry tentacles. I ran out of energy before I got the late fuchsia's remains out of the ground.

The clearing is a small start, but it's the beginnings of what will eventually become a raised vegetable garden. And this mess of lilac and St. John's wort and tarped dirt will, so help me God, be a patio by summer's end:

Wish me luck.

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