Wednesday, June 15, 2011

In the midst of crazy, I shall find...more crazy!

So. The last couple weeks have been…what’s the word I’m looking for here…

A twelve-layer Crazy Cake with fruity-nut topping and processed whipped banana-flavored dipping sauce on the side?! (OK, so, that’s more than “a” word, but is probably the closest to actually summing things up.)

Yeah, kind of like, all of the above, with an added layer of “!!!!!” and a few “?!?!?!” and even a couple “………” in there for good measure.

Which also aren’t exactly words, but sometimes…words fail, y’all.

So first of all, work? Yeah. Let’s put it this way: Last week, I billed 60.5 hours. Billed 60.5. Factor in my awesome commute and stuff like wandering off for half an hour here and there to shove food toward my mouth and dudes…last week? Stank. On. Ice.

MEANWHILE IN OTHER NEWS…the husband got all Rambo on me, conscripted his buddy into slave labor, and over the last about three weeks the two of them pulled out five trees that have been plaguing us around the Den.

One we called the ‘Yuck Berry’ tree. It was basically a shrub that had gotten delusions of grandeur and shot up a good twenty some-odd feet; it was covered with these little purple berry-things that the birds were just nuts about…as evidenced by the purple poop they left allllllll over the neighborhood. Awesome! It also filled up the whole yard with little shrub-tree babies, because of course the whole purpose of the berries is to make more shrubs!

…I have despised that tree-shrub for years

They also took out three cypress trees that had grown out of control along the side of the house – they were threatening to take out the fence, and in recent years had become kind of scary.

AND, an alder tree that has apparently caused an awful lot of damage to our neighbor’s pool over the years by dropping seed pods into their pool. They were just small enough to get through the filter and burn out their filter motors. They never said a word, just kept replacing the motor and cursing our tree in their hearts…until we were out there repairing the fence after it fell apart and we mentioned that we were thinking about maybe at some point taking that tree out of there, because it too was damaging the fence and was just kind of weirdly placed, and they were all, “YES PLEASE!!!!!” and that was that.

Have you ever wondered what five tree’s worth of debris looks like? Well, if you don’t already know…you might never know because the only picture I took was this one and it’s even crappier than I thought at the time:

Crappy picture of tree debris
Really? You had ALL THAT lying around your yard for, like, TWO WEEKS, and this is the ONLY shot you took?!

Well. Here’s a better one of the side path where the cypress trees were:

This is JUST the stump-grindings and general dirt – the actual TREE part filled up an entire full-sized pickup truck bed and two 60-gallon totes.

And of course there is this:
Fortunately, aforementioned tree-felling buddy is a FORESTER who lives in a FORESTER-Y place we refer to simply as The Mountains, where firewood is a main source of HEAT in the winter. It will not go to waste.

OH WAIT, and also? This.

OH! And also? We have this.
…which is what is left of six [because they also took out a tree a neighbor wanted gone] trees AFTER you’ve run it through a rented chipper…what you’re seeing there is wood chips spread over about a, what, 60-square-foot area up to about my KNEE…

So the husband rented this Great Big Chipper (which of course I also did not take a picture of, because that would have been a smart, with-it blogger kind of thing to do), and he and I started dragging allllllllll those branches and other detritus over and tossing it in there, and then one of our neighbors came to help us (the one whose unwanted ornamental pear tree was that sixth one), and along the way I got so mangled up! I am now sporting:

  1. A lovely slash across my cheek (mostly healed up by now, but it looked awesome and slightly pirate-y when I first got it), courtesy of me not ducking quite fast enough when the husband walked by with an extra-wide load
  2. A whack of deep scratches all up and down my right forearm, courtesy of me not being terribly good at that whole “proximity of my arm to the stubbly end of that branch” thing. And I’m mad about those because I wanted to wear my looooong gloves but the husband was all, “Blah blah blah safety,” which is fine, safety around chippers is good because they are scary and all, BUT, here’s the thing: He did 99% of the actual chipping, and could have done 100% of it, with the neighbor and me just hauling the stuff to him, but noooooooooo, I chipped, like, three twigs and got my forearm all messed up for no real reason. FEH.
  3. A MASSIVE! bruise on my right thigh, from me also not being particularly good at noticing that the wheelbarrow’s handles are right-there combined with me having a tendency to kind of jump! forward because I just want it to be over now please so maybe if I go faster, it will be over sooner, see? (Well, it would work, if I didn’t have to take that ten minutes out to sit on the ground laughing a lot and crying a little and massaging my thigh while thinking, Great. Now I won’t be able to wear shorts for, like, a MONTH because somebody will think my husband beats me or something…
  4. I am walking all funny because yeah…arthritic hip + bad back + this level of weekend warrior behavior? Bring on the pain meds, yo!
  5. AND! Best of all! A sunburn! Even though I totally put on sunscreen! Which is so unfair because I always get a sunburn, but usually I have to admit that noooooooo, in spite of the fact that this Celtic skin of mine has gone from snow-white to cooked-lobster-red in approximately thirteen seconds since I was born into this current incarnation, I did not actually remember to put on sunscreen. Or worse, decided not to because, pick any one: {I don’t like the smell, I couldn’t find it, I was only going to be out there a ‘few minutes’ where ‘minutes’ is pronounced ‘wait, why is it getting dark out here?!’, probably it would be best if I didn’t so that my skin will “toughen up,” a concept which is also pronounced, “I am too lazy to go find the sunscreen, I’m only going to be out there a few minutes at most anyway and besides, I hate the smell of that stuff.”}

Fortunately, I have been “work from home” all week thus far, because the husband had training to attend and our nanny (have I mentioned that I hate saying that? I mean, it’s not that she doesn’t earn / deserve the title, it’s just that I always feel like I’m putting on airs when I use it…oh yes, darling, our nanny will take care of that, would you like some more scones and shall I have the valet iron your newspaper for you…?) couldn’t get here early enough for me to get into the office at a reasonable hour and/or couldn’t stay late enough, so I’d end up with this 2.5 hour day at work before I had to run for home again, and pffffft.

It’s been an excellent week for working from home. I look like I fell into the chipper, I swear. And I’m tired and I just look…like holy hell, actually. Plus I’m limping. A lot. Which pisses me off, so if somebody makes the mistake of going, “Wow, did you hurt yourself skiing or something?” I have this tendency to rip their heads off. Or launch into a forty minute kvetch-fest.

Technically I’m supposed to have a five day weekend starting tomorrow, buuuuuuut, we kinda had this extra helping of Crazy at work sooooo I kind shoved everything I had planned for Thursday out a bit (you know, to Someday Soon-ish). BUT, then I sort of got a reprieve-ish thing, sooo, I might get at least half of tomorrow back.

But I’m still working from home.

Because I’m still a wreck.

But I digress.

ALSO…not shown because would I think to take a picture of this? OF COURSE NOT, but, we have barrels of these beautifully soft wood-shreds from the stump-grinder (yeah, the husband rented one of those, too) that I’ve been steadily working into our clay to break it up. I put them through my chemistry set and found that they are really rich on the fertilizer front, particularly in nitrogen; I experimented with different “shovels of this, cups of that, scoops of this other” and found a balance that puts my soil into about-perfect blends of pH, nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium blends for “generic” planting.

That part was fun. Eeeee, mix! Eeeeee, record! Eeeeeeee, make the “tea” stuff and play with very seriously and with great scientific attention to detail and junk like that use the pH strips and add drops of this and that to see what color it turns so you can find out what stuff is present, and then of course there’s the electronic-reader doohickey that kind of ‘second opinions’ the chemical reads and bouncy-bouncy-bouncy it’s so cooooooooool!

Then came the part where I got a shovel, and went through my (surprisingly depleted) little “fields” that weren’t actively growing anything, and cut down about four-five inches of topsoil, and put X shovels of ‘plain dirt’ with Y scoops of shavings and Z handfuls of store-bought rebalancing stuff (the nitrogen content is pretty high on the shavings, so I’m using a low nitrogen / high everything else blend from the store to compensate), and then mixed-mixed-mixed with an assortment of farm-like tools and that part?

Not-so-much high on the “fun-o-meter.”

BUT THEN, I got to have fun again! Because! Over where the alder used to be?

The New Pumpkin Patch

Found. Object. Garden. Structure.

See, we had all these not-big-enough-to-be-logs, too-big-to-be-chipped log-like things? And we had decided that we’d put a pumpkin patch over where the alder used to be; it’s extremely nitrogen-rich soil over there, and the pumpkins are heavy nitrogen feeders when they get started.

…and then I looked at this not-log thing…and I remembered that I had some jute string in the shed, and I kind of went, hee! to myself.

And then I pounded a whack of “stakes” (which are actually stubby little not-log branch-things that were lying allllll over the yard) into the ground and tied string around it like a Maypole, and planted a bunch of Christmas lima bean around the stakes, and now we’ll see if it works out – I’m hoping for a spread of pumpkins all under and around, with the lima beans kind of “umbella-ing” over them.

I am full of ideas like this. A lot of them don’t pan out – but I have fun trying.

And I hope that’s the point, because overall I don’t think I’m winning any awards for prettiest / unchewed / prolific gardening this year.


June is going to be a 200% crazy month, kids.

Wake me when it’s over, ‘kay?

1 comment:

Steph B said...

Wow. You know, every time I read your blog, I get all inspired and excited and run around saying things like "We should plant a garden!" and "I want to learn to play the harp!" and "I'm going to begin spinning and dying my own yarn!". And then I sit down for a minute and reality rears its ugly head, and I think "Yeah, right." I doubt that I could get as much done in six months as you do in a day. Your focus and drive are formidable, and I sure wish I could get some! :-) You're a wild woman, Tama!