Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wrestling and other such activities...

Last year, I spent most of my time inside the house. I tried the "summer cottage" look by painting everything that didn't move fast enough. (Yes, I did get the dog a couple times... ) I started with the ceilings, moved down the walls and even painted the floors. Looks nice, though my husband did comment on my "fruit" theme. (My hallway upstairs and down are a soft lemony yellow and the living room is now a soft lime green. Not quite neon, but cool and bright. Everything with crisp white trim. The floors are all -- except for the dining room, which we DON'T discuss -- are painted "pebbled path", so it's a medium dark greyish brown.) Anyway, that was last year.

Which explained why my yard was a mess this year. Can't be working inside the house and outside in the yard at the same time. I've pretty much figured out that time warp thing how kids can grow up while I remain the same, but I haven't figured out how to occupy two spaces at the same time... er, yet. I'm working on it.

Anyway, so I can't afford a lot of perrenials this year, so I got a bunch of annuals from my MIL. The prettiest tall marigolds called "Sweet Cream" which are a nice soft buttery yellow-white. I'm definitely going to remember those babies and suggest that Flo keep them up every year. I got all the beds settled when Mark announced that I simply HAD to do something with that dreadful hill out front. He can't mow it anymore.

So I've spent hours upon hours digging out grass (and discovering every escape hole the chipmunks have dug into the yard). I planted three purple smoke trees. They look like sticks stuck in the ground, but two of them are already settled and happy. They have new leaves. So now they look like two sticks in the ground with tiny, itty bitty leaves. Get further than five feet away and you can't see the leaves. But they seem to be happy and I'm encouraging them to stay that way.

The third isn't as happy. The ground is very dense where it's planted. I would have liked to till some peat moss into the earth before planting, but Mark was off somewhere and I haven't a clue how the rototiller works. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed for that third three.

Around the base of each tree are five tiny little scraggly tufts of "strawberries and cream" grass. They should mound up to about 4'-5' in diameter and encircle each tree.

My goal is to cover that dreadful hill with various grasses and mounds of stuff like the lavendar I have on order. 21 plants that will hopefully come soon so they have plenty of time to settle and be happy before Fall descends. And the purple blooms will give a nice lighter shade accent to the dark purple leaves on the trees (as well as the feathery tree flowers that garner the name "purple smoke"). Next year, I'll get a whole bunch more grasses. Many kinds in clumps of varying heights and colors for interest. But this year, I've got to dig out the hill and mulch the whole thing down so heavy that it kills anything I miss.

It's a huge project. Figure about 400 square feet or so. But I've done it before. The wilderness always came back and reclaimed the hill, which is why I'm going to dig the whole thing out by hand this time. It's not going to reclaim it this time. I'm going to wrestle it into submission whether it agrees to cooperate or not.

Course, the only good thing about this whole project is that my tan is wonderful. My oldest daughter is the one who claimed every Italian gene in our family. One day in the sun for her is like two weeks worth of work for the rest of us. uh huh. I make her look like the belly of a whale.

Oh, other news is that I've decided today that I'm on strike as far as the girls are concerned. They can't even be bothered to wash a dish. They're much better housekeepers than I am. I admit that. And I asked them to help with the house because, going back to what I said before, I can't be in the yard and cleaning the house at the same time. My youngest's idea of getting up the dust goats of dog and cat hair? She swept down the stairs onto the carpet and left it there. Dragging out the vacuum was too much work...

So I've decided that they can spend the rest of the summer talking to the hand. No money. No favors. No advice. I've tried asking. I've even begged. But I get better response talking to the dogs. In fact, I KNOW the dogs would help if they could figure out how to turn on the vacuum or hold a sponge without a thumb. Yup, I can even see Lacy folding clothes one piece at a time using her nose. But my kids? Forget it. So they can forget me. I'm not going to ask anymore. And I won't be giving one tenth of an inch either.

Gee, can you tell I'm mad?

Updates to come. This should be interesting. I haven't gone on strike for a couple years. It's probably overdue.