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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Yardwork Again

I wasn't sure I was gong to be doing much yardwork the rest of the year.  I usually try to do at least one useful thing each day.  Sometimes I don't, but that is the goal anyway. 

So when I twisted my right knee in early April, and it was difficult to walk the first couple of weeks, I grudgingly waited for it to heal.  I do these sorts of injuries every so often but generally heal quickly enough.  I'm used to it.  You live on your own, you push yourself to do more than you should sometimes, and there is the occasional time your body says hey ease off on me a bit. 

It has happened before.  10 years ago, I casually tossed a rock at a squirrel and strained my rotator cuff and I could barely raise my arm over my shoulder for 4 months!  But it healed fine and I kind of expect that.

But this time, April rolled into May, and May into June and eventually September and it was better but not normal.  Some projects got delayed.  I had planned to repaint the bathrooms and kitchen, but crawling all around washing the walls, putting tape along all the edges and then doing the actual painting seemed too awkward.  But it could wait.

I had also planned to use my gas-powered weed-whacker with the steel cutters to eliminate the backyard brush and brambles that sprung up after I had a few trees removed  several years ago.  That didn't happen.

A few weeks ago, my right knee suddenly felt much better.  Not perfect, but good enough, and I started some minor yard projects and felt ready to do more.  I got some work done.   Mostly de-clutterring the basement the computer room, and the cat room.

And then I went and did something to the left knee.  No idea what I did.  It felt like I had banged it against a door frame, but for 2 weeks, I had 2 bad knees.  I was worried I was sufferring some serious problem (like Lyme Disease affects your joints, or longer term problems like arthritis). 

But I woke up 2 days ago and the left knee was back to normal and the right knee wasn't bad.  I could walk around pretty much normal.

So I had found a sealed bag of grass seed in the basement left over from last year .  I mowed the front yard grass very short.  Today I raked all the loose grass and dumped it where I plan to put a flowerbed island around a large rock and tree in order to smother the grass and weeds and leave some improved soil.  Then I spread the grass weeds all around.  And then I spent 90 minutes carefully spraying straight down onto the grass to beat the grass seeds onto the soil surface and give them enough water to germinate.

It is a bit late to do that.  But I had the seeds and they won't last another year.  And we are having a warm spell, so the seeds should germinate if they are still viable.  There are 2 bare spots, so I will know if they germinate.  At least that is SOMETHING done.

And both knees felt just fine after all that.  So that's good.

The next things to do are planting Daffodils in mid November, tilling some dead areas of the flowerbeds, and eliminating weeds in the paths between the framed veggie beds.  

Are you familiar with those long strips of brown paper used as packing material?  I've been saving the longest strips for several years.  The stuff comes all twisted and crinkled, but I untwist it and lay in on the basement floor and use a push broom to flatten it out.  That works very well.  Then I fold it up in 4' lengths and put a piece of plywood on it to flatten it further and keep it out of the way.  I have several hundred linear feet of it now.

It seems like great stuff to put between the framed beds, on top of weedy dead sections of the flowerbeds, and on top of all the Spring bulbs to smother weeds (with shredded bark on top).  It will probably decompose by Spring, and in not, it will certainly be easy to pull up at planting time.

It may not kill all the weeds, but it sure won't do them any good.  I am reminded of a W C Fields vaudeville joke where he says he swallowed a few moths and said he swallowed a couple of mothballs to get rid of them.  The sidekick asks if it did any good.  Fields says "well it sure couldn't have helped them any".  (Do not do this at home, mothballs are toxic).

My point is that the brown paper cover is worth trying.  If it works, GREAT!  If not, it is easy to remove and will make good compostable material after 5 months exposure to rain and melting snow all Winter and early Spring. 

Gardeners might object that  covers the soil gives voles safe space to run around under.  I did cover part of my flowerbeds with black plastic 10 years ago, and they did love it.  They ate every tulip bulb, safe from predators.  But this time, there won't be anything for them to eat.  Well, the weeds, and if they want to eat the roots of those, they are not welcome, I encourage them.  Otherwise, they don't touch Daffodils or Daylilies (toxic to mammals), the Tulips and Hyacinths are in wire cages they can't get into, and the seeds from the birdfeeder will be on top of the paper where they waill actually have trouble getting to the spilled seeds. EVIL LOL!

So I am getting into the yardwork late, but not impossibly late.  The last project, which is to plant specimen trees that won't grow tall enough to shade my garden and flowerbeds is still in reach.  By "specimen trees", I mean Korean Dogwoods, Sourwoods, Wisteria shrubs, and Star Magnolias.  Those will shade out the brush and brambles like the taller trees used to do, but not cause shade problems across the yard.

I will surround the new trees with used carpeting.  That has really worked well for me over the years.  Rain soaks right through, but weeds won't grow up through it.  And it it is usually free.  Just look for some place being renovated and ask for the old carpet.  They will usually just give it away. 

OK, I'm off to buy some specimen tree saplings...

Back, I ordered 3 Sourwood trees and 2 Korean Dogwoods.  Sourwood trees are great in Fall.  They have small grapelike clusters of yellow berries and burgundy leaves and grow to about 25'.  The Korean Dogwoods are great in Springs, don't have the same disease problems as American Dogwoods, and spread sideways.  I have one on the shady side of the house that has been happily existing for 25 years at 20 feet, and I will take some tip cuttings next June.  It has pink flowers. The dogwoods I ordered have white flowers, so that will make a nice change.

I also filled in all the screw and nail holes in the main bathroom a week ago

1 comment:

Megan said...

Terrific to hear your good news about your knees! Be a bit gentle on yourself for a while longer, though, won't you!

Sydney, Australia