Tag Archives: gardening

The Grass is Always Greener

Since we have moved into our new house, Chris has become obsessed with our yard.  He spends hours out there playing in dirt, digging holes, spraying water on things.  And the front yard is looking really great.  The grass is luscious.  The shrubs are trimmed.  And the whole look is topped off with my brand new autumn wreath I hung on the front door.  I’m pretty certain Martha Stewart drives by my house on a daily basis to get ideas.

And then there is the backyard.  The backyard is a little…well…it needs some help.  Through no fault of Chris’ the yard is just shot to hell.  I blame the dogs.  They romp, they root around, they lay in the flower beds, they dig holes, they poop, they pee, they chew on the bushes, they dig up flowers.  And it all shows in the backyard.  Add to this that the entire backyard is covered in trees, so no sunlight gets back there, and its not pretty.  There are patches of hopefulness, but its just not the thick, green look in our front yard.  And it kills Chris.  Kills him.  Every night he wanders out to the back deck and surveys the backyard, scheming up new ways to make it better.  And every night he comes inside cussing all of God’s green earth.  Frankly, its starting to get old.

But a few weeks ago, the next door neighbor’s yard died unexpectedly.  All together.  One night we went to bed and they had lush, green grass and the next morning we wake up to their barren waste land of brown grass.  Chris was ecstatic.  He was so excited that finally someone else’s yard looked as bad as his backyard.  Two or three days go by and Chris was like a different person.  He wasn’t pacing on the back deck mumbling about fertilizers.  He didn’t cry anymore when he drove by someone’s beautiful yard.  He just seemed more relaxed.

And then two days later, we woke up and the neighbor’s yard was bright green and healthy.  It was like a landscaping miracle.  Overnight they grew a golf course in their front AND backyard.  I’m serious.  It came in so fast I thought it had to be fake.  But it wasn’t, as proven by Neighbor Jeff mowing his lawn the very next afternoon.  Cause that’s how fast it grew.  It was like a mythical beast.

I put Chris on a suicide watch.  I thought he would either hurt himself or Neighbor Jeff, so I confined him to the house.  But that hasn’t stopped him from staring out the window at the grass next door.  Occasionally he sighs a low, mournful sigh, but mostly he is just quiet.  Quietly seething inside.  And I feel bad for him.  And his crummy backyard.  I also feel bad for Neighbor Jeff, who is blissfully unaware that deep inside the house next door, his neighbor is scheming about ways to kill his greener grass.

Yard envy.  Killing suburbia one dying yard at a time.

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Filed under Around the House, Marriage, Stratford

The Selfless Wife

Oh the things I do for my husband…

For the past few weeks we have had crazy rain in Connecticut.  There’s been rain, hail, power outages, lightning, and now, mushrooms.  Apparently a lot of rain can cause mushrooms to flourish and they have decided to flourish on our front lawn.  Chris thinks this is God testing him.

He’s always been the kind of person who takes a lot of pride in his work.  He’s been that way since high school.  It’s actually one of the things that I like most about him.  He is dedicated and wants everything he does to be done well.  This includes homeownership.  To him, our house is not just where we live, but it is how we represent ourselves.  And, therefore, the mushrooms must die.

“Its okay, Chris,” I said.  “No one is judging you for your lawn.”

“Yes they are,” he responded.  “They are judging me for my mushroom infested yard.”

It was all he talked about.  And then he got all crazy and started freaking out about the yard in general.  We have been spending so much time working on the inside and it has been raining so much lately that the yard looks a little rough.  So yesterday after work, I heard him outside trimming the shrubs and pulling weeds.  And I had to go help him.  First, I had to go because he was in the front yard and I didn’t want the neighbors to think that I was a lazy beast (even though I am) who makes her husband be her yard boy.  And second, I have a crush on him and want to impress him with my mad gardening skills. So I put on my purple gardening gloves and WITHOUT EVEN BEING ASKED, I go into the front yard and start picking mushrooms.

That’s right.  I picked up fungus because I love my husband.

I wish I could say it was a labor of love because I knew how important it was to Chris, but it wasn’t.  I hated every minute of it and gagged the entire time.  But I did it.  Because I love him.  And because if fungal rot is killing Chris, then I shall kill the fungal rot.

And because for the rest of the night I got to say, “Honey, since I picked up the rotting dead fungus in our yard, do you think you could feed the dogs/rub my feet/bring me an ice cream cone?”

Marriage.  Its a game of sacrifices.  And I’m winning.

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Filed under Marriage

Gardening for Dummies

Late this past Sunday afternoon, Chris and I worked in the yard – wait, correction. I worked in the yard late this past Sunday afternoon. Chris worked in the yard all day on Sunday. Anyway, late this past Sunday afternoon Chris and I worked in the yard. And I really actually did work. And what motivated me to get dirty, covered in ants, and play with hedge trimmers? My mother’s guilt.

Ah…a mother’s guilt. Its a powerful thing. I imagine the letters that Napoleon must have received from his mother on the battlefield, “…I’m proud of you for conquering the world, Little Neo. I guess hoping you could take down Paris, too, was asking a little too much.” No one guilts us like our mothers. And no mother’s guilt like mine. Hers is quick, to the point, and always spot on. An unskilled guiltee would not even realize they had just been guilted. But I know. I always know.

So when I finished telling her a story about how I laid on the couch and napped while Chris dug holes in the yard a few weeks ago, all she had to say was, “I bet Chris will get tired of that after a while, Kate.” ZING!

Cue the guilt.

Exit the mother.

I might be able to go on in my life ignoring these zings if she wasn’t so right about them. So, I spent a few days festering to my BFF about how unfair my mom was with that one liner accusation, and then on Sunday I decided maybe I should actually help Chris out. So I dressed in my cutest army cargo shorts and sexy black tank top, put my hair in a curly ponytail, wrapped my delicate hands in my new bright purple gardening gloves and declared to Chris that I was here to help.

He was skeptical at first, but I really pulled my weight. I pulled weeds, shoveled dirt AND cedar chips, and moved some rocks around. When I asked for something else to do, Chris handed me a pair of hedge trimmers and told me to go to town on this bush that was huge and ugly. I just wanted to rip it out of the ground, but Chris said it just needed to be shaped. And that was all the direction he gave me – “shape it up.” What the hell does that mean?!?

So, I start hacking away at this bush. Only, I apparently only hacked away at one side of this bush because after a few minutes when I stood back to look, one side of it was still really bushy and ugly and one side had a single branch left that just hung out there all by itself. Kind of droopy like.

“Hmm…” I thought. “That doesn’t look right.”

So, I start hacking away at the OTHER SIDE of this bush. By the time I was done, there were two small sprouts of life left in the bush and they stuck out on either side of the stem, like Yoda’s ears. I stood there with the clippers on my hip, pondering what to do about this bush that I had pruned into a stick when Chris walked up beside me.

“Oh man,” he said. “What did you do?”

“I don’t know. I shaped it, I guess.”

And that’s when Chris took the clippers away from me and demoted me to hole digger. How sad.

This morning I noticed as I walked to my car that the bush had completely died yesterday. It had accepted defeat, and just curled up and died. Well, good. Its survival of the fittest in my backyard, baby. Besides, I never liked that bush anyway.

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Filed under Around the House

Dirt, Digging, and Dogs

Yesterday was a perfect day. It was the kind of day outside that makes you feel guilty for staying inside. Usually on days like that, we take the dogs to a park or field or something outside so they can run and play, but Chris had different plans this weekend. He convinced me to stay home and to work in the yard with him. Now, my gardening skills are about as good as my baking skills. I just have no interest in it. I don’t like to get dirty or sweaty. I don’t like bugs and I try to avoid as much manual labor as possible. Take me for what I am.

But I agreed to at least stay outside and play with the dogs while Chris worked in the yard.  First, I made Chris pick up all the doggy “calling cards” in our yard so that I could run around out there safely.

After that, I decided to check out the dog’s hideaway. They have this corner of the yard that they like to hide in.  We call it their fort. They get behind this bush and I don’t know what what they do – make bird feeders out of milk cartons or plot to take over the trash cans outside – I don’t know what happens back there. So I decided to find out.

Here is the bush/fort:

Its actually not that interesting, but I did find a few holes that they were digging under the fence. Now I know they are going all Shawshank on me out there. Bad dogs. So I blocked their holes and moved over to see what Chris was doing. So did the dogs.

Lucy helped Chris rake:

And not to be outdone, Molly was right behind her:

We (and by “we” I mean “Chris”) put up a little picket fence around the vegetable garden so that the dogs didn’t get in there this year and eat all the veggies. Last year, they thought we were growing a regular salad bar out there for them. A few hours after the fence was up, Molly decided she was over the fence thing and wanted to check out the cucumber situation:

Then she got in trouble:

A little later in the day, Molly came to say hello to me and I had my first casualty of the afternoon:

After this, I figured, “What the heck?” and I jumped into the flower beds with Chris. He gave me a pretty new, shiny hand shovel and I planted some bulbs. I felt like I was contributing.

Later that night, Chris took me out to dinner and to Barnes and Noble to reward me for being so helpful (I can be a bit of a child about things like that.  But what’s wrong with needing a good, healthy reward system???).  I’ll work for dinner out somewhere any time!!

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Filed under Around the House, Lucy, Marriage, Molly