Thursday, May 12, 2011

ten good things - May edition

Yes, it's May! Yippee! And I have at least ten good things to share, I'm sure of it.

1. strawberry season Freshly picked, nom nom, piled with angle food cake, ice cream and whipped cream for dinner - need I say more?

2. the little girl sleeping through the cats' nightly rackets

3. friendly neighbors and their children

4. snapdragons in rosy and pale colors

5. regular rain! Drought, drought, go away.

6. fresh rhubarb to go with the strawberries

7. the 50% coupon my sister gave me to buy fruit trees

8. organizers, callers and dancers who feed my interest in calling squares

9. rereading the Clan of the Cave Bear series Only twenty or thirty years or so after the first time.

10. playing with new accessory combinations whee!

Bonus: Little girl trying to sing along with Beatles songs. She loves you, yeahyeahyeah, we all live in a yellow submarine.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Fighting the Equivalent Evil

So I've been throwing myself at the yard this Winter and Spring. We had some people come and hack back limbs and brush on more than one occasion, and those portions are looking amazingly better. And as often happens, I'm inspired to tweak the upkeep.

Most recently, we had the side yard and fence line hacked back. Wow! We actually have a back yard! And now we have space to plant more fruit trees - hehe. This is part of my long-term yard revitalization, bringing it back from years of tangled neglect into a more usable space.

And although we've already dropped gobs of money on house renovations and yard reworkings this year, we are excited about the space. I've even gotten my husband excited about planting some raised garden beds for vegetables in back. That's in addition to the fruit trees I'm putting in shortly.

Anyhoo, it's been lovely and invigorating going out to rip up vines and clear brush every other evening, and watching old plantings gain more space. But in the process, I've been seeing other things start to grow. Things like... poison ivy. Ugh. It sends out its little rootlings everywhere and anytime it sees an opening, zammo - it pops out a few leaves and starts growing like heck. Urk. Like, growing all over the back! Ack! Ack!

Now, plain old ivy does not bother me. I can rip it up along with the other five or six named and unnamed vines infesting my lawn and trees and shrubbery and anything not moving fast enough. But poison ivy? Nonono. That stuff is eeeeviiiilllll.

I had been keeping ahead of most of it with daily weedings (bag over the hand technique), but the recent rains have given the stuff real legs. And it was popping up in swaths. Swaths! Sadly, that is not an exaggeration. All over the middle of the back yard, mind you!

I thought to myself that if we didn't get ahead of it, it was going to literally take over the back yard to the point to not being able to walk to the fig trees, and I couldn't bear it.

So then I was thinking to myself - I hate the heavy duty herbicides, but that's exactly what we need to knock the stuff back. I refuse to acquiesce to this horrible stuff just as we are regaining our yard.

I finally found some kind of lawn herbicide was wasn't going to immediately kill me, and said, okayokay, I can do this. I've got the long pants and the long-sleeved shirt and the gloves and all.

This evening I went out while the light was still good and zapped every sprig I could lay my eyes on. Which was a lot. In fact, I was finding large leaves of it in places I hadn't even seen it before. Ugh! So I kept going and kept going, and the bottle started running a little low. I thought, well, I'll use up as much of it as I can tonight! And I was trying to not step on the evil stuff as I was spraying, and trying to not step in the evil stuff I'd already sprayed and trying to not think too hard about the drips soaking into my gloves, and the exposure I might be getting. At least it did not stink.

I got about three-quarters of the way around, and I said Okay That is Enough! And I wrapped up the bottle and threw it out and went in to wash the darn gloves and then strip and stuff my clothing into the washer. And tell my husband that the little girl is not allowed in the back yard for a week, at least, although the spray is supposed to dry to rain-proof within hours. I just can't stand the idea of the wee one tromping through it. In fact, maybe she can stay out of the back yard until this whole mess is over. Like, maybe, June.

I thought I felt a little lump in my throat, and I guzzled lots of water to help flush out random toxins. It's ugly stuff, but I think the poison ivy is worse. And if anybody wants to argue with me about how horrible the toxins are that are capable of killing the stuff, why yes, I do agree, and I'd like to invite you to come over every other day and pull it up for me by hand instead!

I can't wait to see that nasty stuff shrivel up and die. And then I'll really get my yard back. I just may have to get some new gloves so I can get back to work.