Saturday, May 10, 2008

Another Brick ... and a Wall

Busy has been the word.

This past month, since Bonnie and I returned from Hawaii, we have been busy.

Did I ever tell you how much I hate the word busy? I mean, it is used to pass off so many forgetfulness's ("I'm sorry I forgot about your birthday, I was busy," or "I know I said I'd get that done, but I've been busy."). And the very act of being busy is referred to as busy-ness, or as we normally spell (and pronounce) it: business. But business does not invoke the empty-handed excuse that merely being busy does. Does it?

Soliloquy aside, the month of April found Bonnie and me neck-deep in the business of home improvements (and yes Bonnie and me is correct language usage). More specifically, we have been working on yard improvements.

As a child I despised anything that related to yard work. My dad was a farmer and always had a vegetable garden going. And we had an acre of lawn, half of which was on an extremely steep hill, which needed mowing constantly (this was in Hawaii which is still in its first growing season {think about it}). We had weeds that, left unattended, would grow to heights rivaling the great sequoias. As the oldest son, it was my constant job to mow the lawn (wearing crampons to prevent my fall into the abyss below), weed the veggie garden, and wrestle down the marauding army of weeds. I was provided weekday reprieve from these tasks during the school year, but my summers were an endless stream of yard work. Naturally, I developed a black thumb. Plants die just for being in the same hemisphere that I am walking through.

Or at least that's how it used to be. Bonnie has changed that for me. Her unabashed love of all things growing has somehow magically finally rubbed off on me. I'm not sure when this happened, but ever since we bought our current house (a bit over three years ago), I just can't seem to get enough of yard improvement. This started out as landscape architecture of one form or another, but has evolved to include the actual planting and nurturing of those little (and large) green things themselves. As I was working the soil last weekend, I actually found myself pondering that I finally understood why people talk to their plants.

My black thumb has turned green! Bonnie still performs the lion's share of the plant care around the yard, but I have become an integral part of that work. And I create spaces for plantlife to display itself in.

So our April workload consisted of three components: 1) Increasing the back-yard wall height from 4 to 7 feet high, 2) nurturing our winter sleepers back to life and planting new life for this season, and 3) preparing and planting a vegetable garden.

Item 1 was the most work intensive of the above. In fact, not since the great deck I built in Oregon, and for which my abandonment thereof I have been often and severely chastised, have I put as much effort and expense into an outdoor project. I have, however, redeemed myself for having abandoned the aforementioned deck. This is truly a work of art of which I am proud. I have photos sprinkled here, but just sitting in our back yard is the best way to enjoy it. I built it of redwood and then painted it. That description says fence, but I call it a wall. And it looks nothing like a fence, though one of the hobbits next door told me last night that I had built a "handsom fence." She is about 85 years old, and is thus forgiven.

Our veggie garden is small. We may or may not expand it next year. We'll see how it works out this season. We planted cilantro, squash (two types I think), tomatoes (also two types), some bell peppers, jalapeno and serrano peppers, carrots, sweet peas, string beans (or some such), and one or two others that don't come to mind at the moment. I love watering this little patch of earth. We planted it just a week ago, so we haven't had to start weeding yet, but that will ensue before long. I can't wait for the harvest.

Bonnie's floral array is beautiful this year. I dont' know what else to say. The photos speak for themselves. I think our yard brings us our greatest joy. It looks like a place of endless relaxation. In fact, it is a place of endless endeavor, as that is what is required to maintain the appearance of a haven of escape. But we both love the work. In fact, we had planned on getting out today (it's 5:15 AM at the moment, so don't give me shit for wasting the day just yet), but decided last night that there were sufficient chores here in our yard to keep us busy today. Tomorrow is Mother's Day and that speaks for itself (though this deserves its own blog entry - origins of Mother's Day and all - not just a Hallmark/1-800-SendLotsofFlowers holiday).

As noted above, our biggest April project was my wall. Then there was Roger Waters' Wall. Brandy and I flew up to Denver on the last day of April and saw the old Pink Floyd minstral live on stage. What a show! Ten days later, I am still reliving moments of the performance. It was a father-daughter moment that I will cherish for many long years.

As we entered the arena, we were all admonished not to bring in cameras or other recording equipment. Of course everybody had cellphones, and none of these were disallowed. The audience was awash with glowing cellphone screens throughout the concert, as revelers sought to capture snippets of scene or song in their flash memory. I attempted this myself, but Brandy is a better photographer and has a better phone (my sacrifice to her gods). The concert photos here are courtesy Brandy.


Beth said...

Lovely wall/fence. And here I am struggling to finish a stone flower bed :) Ahhhhh Pink Floyd. I've loved them forever - saw them once live many years ago and watch them on the live world wide ONE concert a couple years ago. I still get excited when one of their songs comes on the radio or come up on my ipod. I'd probably pick them as my favorite of all time.

Yar said...

Yes Pink Floyd manages to stand out as my favorite of all time as well. Second favorite seems to lob from one artist/group to another, but Floyd remains steadfast at numero uno.