September 23, 2012

A few weekends ago, a large pine tree in our backyard felled a massive branch.  It wiped out the fence between two neighboring properties.  It took three days of labor from Donald, my father, and one of the neighbors to chop the tree’s pieces, clear the neighbors’ properties, and rebuild the fence.

Had the tree fallen even an inch differently, the damage would have been far more devastating.  It could have easily killed our dogs and wiped out the neighbor’s guest house and flattened any number of fruit trees planted in the area.  Instead, it landed in the luckiest position available.  No people or animals were injured, the plants in the area survived, and barring a few bent roof tiles the neighbors’ guest house remained intact.  But it was still quite a lot of work.

And the work didn’t end there.  The following weekend, Donald spent two full days clearing the space we’ve set aside for our vegetable garden.  Soon afterwards, he had to remove a dead orange tree from the front of our property.  Then he rented a chipper – an enormous yellow beast of a machine that came with a sixteen-minute video guide discussing the myriad of ways in which it could kill a person.  He spent a full day (my father helped in the morning and a neighbor pitched in during the afternoon) with the chipper.

It was one of the hottest days on record for southern California.  I have never seen Donald look quite so exhausted.

Next on the list is to dig up the stumps from chopped trees – some of which are several feet in diameter.  Then we need to mow the weeds.  Clear a lingering thicket at the corner of the designated vegetable garden.  Trim back a yucca tree.  Till the garden space.  Level the dirt and remove some topsoil.

Trench for sprinklers.  Lay down mulch.  Construct bins for red worms and compost.  Build twenty-eight raised beds (4’ x 10’ each) complete with gopher wire.  Make a seed list.  Set up a small fence with a native plant barrier.  Create a bean/pea tunnel.  Set up the children’s garden corner.  Build an insect hotel.

This vegetable garden will be good for our family.  Still, I am exhausted just thinking about the effort that goes into it coming true – and I’m not the one putting my back into it.  I’m the enormously pregnant one taking long naps with the three-year-old while everyone around me works their asses off.

It occurs to me that it may be time to dig out some old well-loved baking recipes.  I have a feeling that when all of these yardwork projects are done, I owe the neighborhood A LOT of thank-yous.

We won’t get into what Donald thinks I owe him.  As far as I can tell, when my husband thinks I owe him, I wind up with my own gravitational pull and an inability to see my toes for two months.

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  1. By Karen on September 24, 2012

    I imagine the neighbors will also benefit when you are overrun by rampant produce come next harvest time! And when that time comes you might find you’d enjoy She had a ton of posts this year on how she put up all the stuff she got from her garden. She also posts a lot of recipes for homemade all natural herbal remedies, cleaning products, etc.

  2. By on September 25, 2012

    Doesn’t it feel good to be napping with your baby girl while the world whizzes by right outside your window?

    I wouldn’t trade that feeling for the word.





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