The Thorn in My Flesh

This post has been a long time coming. It has been over a year in the making. Doesn’t that sound like it’s going to be something amazing? It’s not. It’s just yard work. Y’know, that thorn in the side of home ownership. Get it? Thorn? Yard work? It’s like a literal metaphor.

When you paint a wall, it’s painted. When you tile a floor, it’s tiled. When you build new cabinets, they’re built. Forever.

When you do yard work, you have to go back out there next week and do it again. If you have a sprinkler system, that is. If not, you need to go back out tomorrow and water. Know what I mean? It never ends.

Some people love it. And I understand that. There is a great joy in maintaining flowerbeds and walkways and having gorgeous grass. I’m sure it is very rewarding to those who love it, and I know there are a lot of you out there. And I’m so glad. Because it’s a beautiful thing. Really, it is. But it’s just not my thing. To me, it’s more like doing laundry and dishes. It just has to be done, but it isn’t my idea of a good time.

But, like I think I’ve said before, at least in person if not on this blog, that’s no reason not to do it. I mean, the laundry and dishes still have to get done. You can’t just not be a yard person and not take care of your yard. At least not in the places I’ve called home in my adult life. And, again, I’m glad. I like it that way. I won’t be winning any yard-of-the-month contests, but neither do the neighbors call the HOA or city on me. So that’s good. We’re surviving. 🙂

Fifty-seven percent of our homes (really, I did the math) were built in the ’90s. They are tract homes built in planned communities where no trees existed, or if they did, the land was completely cleared by the builder before building homes. All of those have/had one little tree that the builder planted in the front yard, usually a Bradford Pear. You know. You have one, right? That’s pretty much the extent of trees we’ve had to take care of. We also have a house with one tree in the back yard, but nothing major.

Our flowerbeds have been differing degrees of elaborate/gorgeous/horrible/neglected when we’ve purchased our homes, but they all usually end up pretty simple/minimal/easy to maintain. Well, maybe easy isn’t the right word. But definitely not anything difficult.

And then we bought this house. *Sigh*

There weren’t actually any flowerbeds to speak of, but there were lots of bushes and a gazillion trees. Even fruit trees. *Deeper sigh* There were a bunch of overgrown vines and stuff I can’t even identify (because of my lack of knowledge) that we cleaned up over the Spring and early Summer. Yard work is no joke! We finally got this place looking semi decent, except for this area.


That’s from when we bought the house.

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And then a shot from the inside after the first snow.


I had the hubs cut that shrub/tree in front of that window way down last Spring so that we could get a bit more sunlight in our classroom. (I wanted it completely gone, but he said we should just trim it.) It helped some, but the other eleven trees that we have in our normal-sized suburban front yard still prevent us from getting as much sun as I would prefer. (We have plenty when the leaves are off the trees, which is at least half the school year, so I really shouldn’t complain. It’s super bright in there right now.)


This is one of those things that I know some people really love. And I do too, kinda. Sometimes. I appreciate the beauty of these trees. I do not appreciate the shade, the bird poop, the sap, the purple berry things that we track into the house on the soles of our shoes, the fact that my boys can’t run and play in their own yard, the leaves. Oh. my. gosh. the. leaves.

So I don’t know. I wanted to buy in this neighborhood specifically for the trees and the hills. It’s gorgeous! And now…my five-year old may never ride a bike without training wheels. The hills are monstrous for his tiny legs. So yeah. Like I said. I don’t know. It’s a love/hate thing. And it’s way more yard/tree work than we’re used to or were prepared for, but we’re adjusting. I think.

Anyway. That’s just my intro. This post is actually about all those dang rocks.

I have no idea what’s up with that. I’m not sure you can tell from the pic, but that isn’t just a small little flowerbed area with rocks. It’s almost the length of our garage.

I’m sure these cost a decent amount of money to be delivered, but I don’t understand why you’d just fill up a large portion of your front yard with rocks. But what do I know? This is definitely not my area of expertise.

The little old lady next door saw us working on this last Summer and was all, “I told her not to put those rocks in. I knew no one would like them.” Validation. Thank you very much.

At the end of May when school was out, I asked the boys to help me move all the rocks. Then I realized this was not going to happen in a weekend and offered to pay them for their help. I didn’t quote them an amount and told them they would be paid by the job, not the hour!

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I didn’t nag and wasn’t too concerned about it at first. I told them they could work on it whenever they wanted and I’d pay them at the end.


Popsicle break

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They worked hard out there several different days and just kept hitting more and more layers.

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The rocks got smaller as the layers got deeper. I suppose that’s from settling. And then there were even more rocks under a layer of landscaping fabric. And then bricks filling in holes. I thought it would never end.

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It’s was literally the end of August before we finished.

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Also, there were some serious root balls and vines all tangled under the landscaping fabric. I had a horrible time pulling it out myself. No way could they have done it. There were thorny rose bushes to look out for. It was much more labor intensive than I ever imagined when I tasked them with it.


The hubs even had to come in and help us at the end. He’s so strong!


Notice it was time to trim that shrub again.

We finally had it down to just dirt and leveled it all out Labor Day weekend. That’s right, folks, September. It took over three months to clear out some rocks and pull some weeds and spread some dirt around.


Of course, we did traipse all over the Midwest and Great Plains last Summer, as well as spend half a dozen weekends in Dallas. And don’t forget that we were actually working on the bathroom some when we weren’t waiting on bathtubs to be delivered and returned and delivered and returned and delivered. And of course we spent a portion of every day at the pool. Don’t ever accuse us of not taking time out to enjoy life. That’s all we do anymore. I feel like we never work. 🙂

We created a small bed with bricks that the previous owner left in the backyard.


This part of the yard is more shaded than the portion to the left side of the sidewalk, so it needed shade grass. The hubs planted some seeds that first weekend in September and they started sprouting in less than two weeks.


By Halloween time, the grass was thick and long.



It was still a bit splotchy in some places so we seeded again, and, thanks to global warming, it was warm enough that the second round of seeds did very well also.

It was still a pretty green even in November when all the leaves started falling.


Now, after a few snowstorms and bitter cold spurts this Winter, it’s STILL mostly green and soft.

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I kinda just want to tear up the other side of the yard and plant shade grass everywhere. Okay, maybe not. But I am glad that Spring (and green grass!) is around the corner and I’m so relieved that our yard will look decent this year. Happy March, you guys!



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