Backyard Progress

When we moved in the backyard was pretty sad. So was the front yard, actually. They were both pretty dead looking. Then the rains came. And kept coming. My understanding is that we had an extended rainy season this year. Unfortunately, this means that since about the only things growing in our yard were weeds, those’re what went wild.

Also pictured, the mini fence inside the yard.
The stone building just on the other side of the fence is a church. You might think that would do something about the amount of cursing I did while pulling weeds. It didn’t, but I felt a little guilty. (Mostly because across the street from the church is our high school, and I could hear kids outside while I was working.)

The bulk of what you’re seeing here are goatheads and tumbleweeds. We don’t have a mower yet, so things got quite out of hand. I picked up a weeding hoe, thinking I could at least get rid of some of the goatheads before we got someone to come in and take care of the rest of it. Two horrible days later I had only managed to clear a 10′ by 20′ bit of the yard that really didn’t have much on it. So we called in help. Thank gods. Not only did they mow, but they also took out all the dead trees. (Four of them, three of which were unnervingly close to the house.) And they cut the trees down into firewood. All well worth it and done in a fraction of the time it would have taken us.

Mini has been wanting to play soccer in the yard. We can finally say yes without worrying about what's lurking out there.
Mini has been wanting to play soccer in the yard. We can finally say yes without worrying about what’s lurking out there.

We still need to grab some burlap or carpet scraps to drag over the yard to pick up as many burrs as possible. Hopefully it will cut down on a resurgence of goatheads. What will also help will be putting in some ground cover of some sort, either grass or maybe a clover. Goatheads don’t do well with competition, so if we can get something else to take hold that’ll be great.

Now that it’s mowed, and with the benefit of the weather getting cooler, we can start working on the things that need doing. Building raised beds are fairly high on the list. We’ve got a ton of shade on the east side of the house, thanks to a well established shade tree in our neighbor’s yard. There’ll be one bed there for more delicate things that won’t handle the height of desert summer so well. Then, on the west side, we’ll do a bed or two for things that need more sun.

Also on the list is a firepit. Nothing better than a fire under the stars. Of course, that means picking up some seating for around said firepit. Mini wants us to build her a ninja fort. We’ll probably go full swingset while we’re at it. That girl loves to swing. The fence is… well, the previous owner replaced some sections of it right before we bought it, but really the whole thing needs replacing. It’s all rickety and the gates are all in fairly terrible shape. Fortunately, the worst one is on the smallest section. I’m hoping it won’t be too difficult to replace. And then we need to walk the whole fence and look for any low bits, and possibly just put hardware cloth all the way around. Small Town doesn’t have a lot in the way of traffic, but we do live on a relatively busy street, and just where people feel comfortable starting to go faster than they would more in town. I want the yard as puppy safe as possible.

There’s a lot to be done, but at least now it all feels like it can be done.

Tiny Flowers

I had a post planned about the little updates we’ve been making on our “master bathroom,” but it’s not done yet. I’m down to the pain in the ass cleaning bits, and I think I’m going to have to pick up some CLR. I’m giving borax and washing soda paste a shot first, though. So that’s coming. And you’ll see why I used the sarcasm quotes up there. Here’s a hint: claustrophobia.

We’re planning on working on the yard this weekend. Ideally, we want to have it dog friendly by Christmas. Child friendly would also be good. Mini Furious is making friends, and I feel like there will be children running around here before I know it. Right now, our backyard is overrun with goat head burrs. Also known as puncture vine. Also known as Satan is real and invented half the things in West Texas. These things can potentially flatten a car tire. They definitely flatten bike tires. They go right through shoe soles. The burrs, which are also the seeds, can lie dormant for twenty years. The recommended method for dealing with them is a flamethrower. However, there is a burn ban in effect, and I don’t want to be the one to accidentally set West Texas on fire. This is a serious thing. Wild fires out here can be nasty and spread ridiculously quickly. It would probably be okay, but I don’t want to take that chance. So this weekend is gloves and pulling weeds and probably profuse cursing. At least we’re supposed to be getting a cool front, so it shouldn’t be too hot. And the tumbleweeds, which are the other thing growing in our yard, haven’t dried out yet, so their thorns aren’t too poky.

Until then, have a picture of the one decent growing thing we have: some little desert roses in a planter box by our back door. I’m actually sort of proud that not only are they blooming, but they seem to be filling out. Plants and I don’t usually mix well, so this is a big step!

Arty enough?
I got a new phone, which pretty much means I got a new camera. Be prepared for lots of artistic vision.