Sprucing up around the place

It finally got hot over here. It’s funny how when the good weather hits Oregon every one starts doing yard chores that were postponed during the wet times. We got a lot of really wet late rains this year that were interspersed with sunny breaks. That meant that our grass and weeds and everything else around the house turned into a JUNGLE.

Just outside our back porch there is a mess on both sides. I’d been putting off doing anything about it because I knew at least one side had buried trash in it. Sifting through dirt taking out someone else’s trash doesn’t really rate high on my usual want-to-do list. I decided to tackle it finally and got it cleaned up.

I filled up one trash can with garbage that I found while sifting through the dirt. It was the usual: bits of plastic, broken glass, tin can lids, rusty nails, but mostly old buried shingles. I also can’t forget about our property’s official garbage mascot, a matchbox car. The day I stop finding matchbox cars I will know that all the garbage has been unearthed on our property.

My aunt gave me some iris starts and I bought some annuals and Lee got me some bark-o-mulch to lay down. It looks much better now. I’m not going to plant anything permanent here because later on we will build a bigger porch and put a patio in. Not to mention we will need plenty of space to work in when Lee installs the new window above it and when we get around to painting the house. Once we get all that done then I can think about more permanent landscaping.

On the back left corner of the house where I was cleaning is a bush that is flowering again. I love this bush and think it is so pretty. I really wish I knew what it was. It looks like a rose, but it is not.

With the left side of the back porch cleaned up I then had the right side bugging me. It looked awful. Thankfully I didn’t find nearly as much buried trash this time.

Lee dug out two lilac bushes (they were badly placed) for me and we leveled and graded around the foundation like I did on the left side.

Along with the thick layer of bark-o-mulch (for weed control), I also laid down a strip of fabric weed barrier right next to the house. I was really getting tired of grass growing up the side of the house as we don’t often get the edger out. I plan on using the landscape fabric barrier along with bark-o-mulch on the south side of the house to help with that same problem. I would do it on the other two sides of the house but there are grading issues that need to be dealt with before it can be done.

We finally planted our Empress tree that we bought last year. I can’t believe that the poor thing survived a year in it’s little pot. Empress trees have leaves that are edible to livestock, easy to propagate, and they grow amazingly fast (up to 15 ft a year). We are thinking about experimenting with this tree, making new starts off it, and then using them as a sustainable firewood source. We shall see how it goes.

I went and limbed trees by our house. Mowing somehow becomes a more pleasant experience when you don’t have branches trying to poke out your eyes and you have to duck every few steps.

This section by the house was finally mowed after about a year. It looked a right mess. I also did some limbing here. I need to clean out the back area soon, which will involve picking up downed branches before I can do anything else. We finally discarded a pile of wood shingles from our roof remodel last year. Yeah I know, a year later and a big eyesore right in front of the house. We still have one wooden shingle pile left but it is farther back and doesn’t annoy me as much. Hopefully by next year that one will be gone too. We let my parents, uncle, and neighbor take what they wanted last winter to use as kindling.

With all the mowing that has been going on Lee was about ready to tidy up the back fields. He did a few passes with his tractor and then it started overheating. DOH! I hate it when that happens. I need a mowed field to make my cleaning happiness complete don’t you know!

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4 Responses to Sprucing up around the place

  1. Lynn says:

    Whenever I read about people cleaning up their gardens and yards it always motivates me to go clean up my yard. I’ve given up on the garden. Your place looks very nice, especially the flower gardens beside the house. Thanks for the motivation.

  2. Leigh says:

    Cleaning up an old place is a big job. Yours is looking really good. Like Lynn says, it’s motivating for the rest of us.

  3. Benita says:

    The flowers look pretty. It seems odd to think of doing what you are doing right now – our time for that is long past.

    The area with the trees looks like a park. And, yes, mowing is easier when you aren’t ducking all the limbs. Several of mine keep taking my hat off my head. Time to get the pruners out again, I see.

  4. lee says:

    Lynn – I’m so sorry to read about your garden. That has to be really heartbreaking after all the effort. My brother has put in a big 2000 gallon water tank this year so he can water the garden out of it and not risk their well so much when it gets dry. I’m also interested in dry gardening. Supposedly it’s possible in our dry summers (the settlers had vegetable gardens several hundred years ago and few of them had irrigation), but it requires wide plant spacings and careful attention to killing weeds when they are small.

    Leigh – Thanks. I think we are going to be happy with how much different it looks after these updates. (At least on two sides.) It might need re-siding and painting, but the tall weeds and stacks of glass plates (who knows why they were there) will at least be gone!

    Benita – Yeah, it is pretty late to be planting annuals here too. But that just means they are really cheap to buy! ­čÖé The second photo of the mowed grass and trees is actually where Robin wants to create a shade garden eventually. The tall Douglas Firs, Red Cedars, and one Sequoia create a lot of shade, so it’s too dark to grow food there. She has a couple beds started off to the left, but her plans are much larger than our available energy for it at the moment.

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