Friday, August 28, 2009

garden wreckage


I made myself promise that I would stay focused on the house renovation project, and not just flit from task to unfinished task.

But the heat has made me a filthy liar. It is too hot to work on the job that I need to do. I need to be standing on a ladder, re-plastering my ceiling.

But when I try to do that, I instantly over-heat.

So, I've been working on the back yard, instead. Our back year has a lot of potential. But truthfully, it's also a gigantic mess. I think the woman who owned the house before we did was not able to keep up her yard, and things just sort of fell into disarray.

Of course, I love this sort of challenge.

And I kind of love kicking things to pieces, so tearing apart the rotting trellis fence was more fun that I should probably admit.

I have to get the paint from this fence tested, quickly, because paint chips from this fence cover huge sections of my garden-to-be.

The back yard is littered with more dead, fallen branches than you could shake a stick at.

I've been gathering them up, with the idea that we'll use them for kindling wood once we get the chimney fixed. At the moment, the chimney is falling away from the house, and has neither a weather cap nor a flue damper. We've got to get all this dealt with before the rains start.

This massive pile is just some of the crap I've cleared out of the back yard. It is the start of compost to re-nourish my soil.

Pay no attention to the ugliest fence in the world. Assuming the soil is good, we plan to grow hops in front of this eyesore.

Beer, or at least hops, will make everything better.


Anonymous said...

M-m-m-m, beer...get hoppin'! :D

It is more than a little daunting to be owned by a home. So many projects that need attention, and so many more that want attention. You could break yourself emotionally, financially and physically from all the effort. :o

Step back. Breath deep. It's yours.

You have the rest of your life to get your house in order. Take care of what MUST be done--that chimney sounds like a candidate, 'though I'm sure you and Rob have ID'd more pressing issues. Then as time, sanity and finances allow, do something that you want for you and Rob.

I've found our home is an ever evolving project. Some of the things my wife and I thought were great ideas were just awful. Other projects took priority or we abandoned them because we changed our minds--a lot.

Congrats on the new house, and good luck turning it into your home. :D


Anonymous said...

See, you got me singing in my head:

Lisa was a kung fu fightin'! (HA!)
Those sticks broke as fast as lightning! (ha!)
Thought it was a little bit frightenin'
Paint chips gone is so delightin' (HA!)

and so on.

Martha said...

I wish I could have been a fly on the wall to see you karate chopping that trellis...

Anonymous said...

How big IS your property, anyhow? The big pile of sticks looks like part of an earthworks project. Putting it all in a compost pile is a brilliant idea.

Take one thing at a time- all of your projects will happen, and doing a bit at a time is helpful. It makes you feel like you have a lot going on- but it can also make you a crazy scatter brained ninny. You will develop a schitzo side as you can literally HEAR all the projects screaming at you to get done. Just take a breath and make some sort of plan. Stick to it- and add extra paper, cause your list is gonna GROW!

There WAS a point in our hectic house fixing-up, crazy moving in period where we just HAD TO lay in our sleeping bags on the floor (no bed yet) for 2 whole days, as we were seriously run down and sick. Eating from a microwave, as the stove was not set up yet. Also, no refrigerator. We needed physical rest and pampering that went beyond a cup of tea. PLEASE pay attention to this. If you get too sick and tired you are no good to anyone. Try to sit somewhere for a bit where there are NO cardboard boxes! Your walls can still get painted anytime. Everything can WAIT. I know you want to ignore this advice, but time will prove it true. And please wear a face mask working in your old house. Take vitimins!

You can always put chicken wire in front of the outside wall and let other viney stuff grow on it- Grapes, Bamboo, Wisteria, morning glories? English ivy? A money tree?

Make sure you find out what you can about your local Township (what sort of local government do you guys have any way?) and find out first hand what sort of projects you need permits for, etc, before you just go and do it and get slapped with either a "failure to get a permit fee" or a "nuisence fee" for chopping down a dead tree at 2 am sort of project. Pay attention to any quiet times that may exist in your neighborhood- No Sunday 6 am yodeling/chainsawing contests, ok?

Make sure you put ALL your projects on a "proposed work" form and file ONCE, (even if it is like 4 years worth of projects)- cause you wont know what you do/dont have money to fix that year) That means you pay ONCE, and not go in and file 8 forms for 8 different projects and have to pay 8 filing fees. Consider that advice a free-be. Now that you are a home owner, money will fly out of your hands faster a a greased pig on fair day!

Now the local homeowner laws, and "filing forms in triplicate" monster raises its head. We can't have a working outhouse on our land - Damn Government Intervention!- we used to, but some smart guy figured out we were all poisoning ourselves with our own waste in our drinking water, and stopped it. Thank goodness- our water table is very high, and I dont want to drink what I had for dinner last night, if you know what I mean. Laws exist for a reason.

I went ahead and joined and serve on my local township. I figure out what I can do to help the community, and how to help ourselves with the new laws. Its one meeting once a month, and very informative. I am the only person serving on the township who isnt 80 years old with a farm, so they watch me with interest to see what my ideas are. I'm pro-farmer and anti-development, (which means anti-eminent domain) so they think I'm ok.

We are going to put in a wooden fence and stone wall in front of our house in our yard, yet I gotta jump hoops through the Pennsylvania Highway traffic commission, county and township regulations, as well as the surveyor, water/septic departments. I guess they dont want me shoving a post hole digger through the township septic pipes (neither do I!)

Call Miss Dig before you do any serious digging in your yard, there could quite possibly be some older stuff that cuts through your yard that was forgotten by "accident" when you bought the place.



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