04 March 2011

Urban Blight

I have a lot of fun indoor projects in the queue, but we haven't had much time to work on them because of the less-fun (but still kind of rewarding) yard work that's been keeping us occupied. As I mentioned a week or two ago, we had the landscaper who did our design bid the work, but her bid wasn't itemized in a way that would allow us to pick and choose what to do now versus later (plus the total came in a lot higher than we were hoping despite inexplicably omitting the sod and another large element), so we have decided to do as much of the work as we can ourselves, as our schedules allow. And it's grunt work. More than one person has told us to hire out the least-skilled, most tedious parts of the job...but I'm pretty sure the least-skilled parts are all I'm qualified to do, so it's pretty much now or never. And with the weather approaching the springtime sweet spot, well, it's really now or never. So there's a lot of weeding and tilling and raking and clearing to do before we're ready to move on to that big step of bringing in good soil and compost. But I'm getting ahead of myself. While we plod along, square foot by square foot, digging up weeds and wrangling wayward construction debris, here's a look at the unfortunate "before":

I feel the urge to add captions to these pictures, but all that comes to mind is "ugh."

The backyard is even worse.

We affectionately refer to this weeded-over dirt pile as "the Lorax" (you know, the character in the classic Dr. Seuss book who "speaks for the trees"? Technically, it reminds me of the trees themselves, not the guy, but whatever):

The backyard actually got just a little bit worse recently, when we cut a larger-than-we-had-realized branch off of the dead tree at the back of the lot. Week by week, we're putting the pieces out for the city to take away for mulching, but until that's done, carnage remains strewn about:

There is one glimmer of hope, though. Despite a total lack of attention over the last year, the daffodil bulbs I planted last winter are coming back! (Exclamation points can mean many things. This one means, "I have no botanical skills whatsoever, so it's a miracle the bulbs even sprouted the first time around.")

I discovered the flowers on March 30 of last year, so hopefully they're just four weeks away from a vase on my dining table....

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