I love being outdoors. Well let me back-up, I love being outdoors when I am doing something that I enjoy doing and that list has grown a lot shorter as my years have grown longer.
I have a big yard. A big yard with a lot of grass, shrubs, trees, and planting beds. All things that require attention, a lot more attention than I am willing to offer. When I was younger I didn’t mind spending all day Saturday working in the yard because of the payoff at the end, a great view of my handy work, a little ego feeding from my neighbors, to many cold beers after the work was done and some quality time with my grill in the evening. When I was younger.
If you leave grass to its own device it becomes overgrown with weeds and shrubs will lose all shape and form. Planting beds become cheap motels allowing anyone and anything to take up residence in them. And trees, trees rain down limbs, leaves and acorns that simply won’t disappear without a lot of help.
Our weekends are typically busy with other activities now that the kids are gone. Travel, cycling, and hiking are always at the top of the list before mowing, blowing, spreading and weeding. I can usually put off the serious “Spring Cleaning” until late March or early April but this hasn’t been a typical winter and my yard (not sure why it is “my” and not “ours”) looks like, in a word, shit.
The biggest reason my yard looks like shit is what I have living next door to compare it to, the guy that works everyday to make his yard look like it belongs on the cover of Southern Living. By the beginning of January he had all the leaves out of his yard, I blew the last of mine Saturday, shrubs all trimmed back, I haven’t gotten to all of them yet, and pine needles spread in all of his beds, I have mulched three of my five beds so far.
Now I wouldn’t have chosen this past weekend to spend two straight days working in the yard. I had a bicycle ride planned for Saturday and a great hike mapped out for Sunday but my wife developed a mysterious “sickness” Friday night and just didn’t think she had the strength to pedal or walk up a mountain. Besides, she reasoned, we are in town, the weather is supposed to be nice, so this would be a good time for “us” to get the yard in shape for the Spring and Summer. If any of you are wondering, “us” means me.
So I worked, pulling weeds, mowing grass, spreading mulch all day Saturday. And then I worked again, pulling weeds, spreading mulch, trimming shrubs all day Sunday. I worked so hard one of my neighbors asked me if I was fixing up the house to sell it?
As the sun set Sunday, I put all my tools away and popped the top on the first of four very cold Duck–Rabbit Milk Stouts. Cooking slowly on the grill was a wonderful rack of baby-back ribs in a cloud of apple wood smoke. I sat on the front steps and surveyed my handy work. It did look good, fresh, clean and in order. I love the smell and the look of mulch. It is harder to work with than pine needles but there is just something about the symmetry of dark mulch and green grass. Yes from my perch on the steps it all looked nice. I still have some more work to do but it reminded me of my younger days, until, I tried to stand-up.