You Know You’re Getting Old When…

We bought the house we now live in late last year and when I first toured the house with the Realtor (I’m not sure she’s an actual REALTOR) one of the first things I did was look at the backyard. After walking out on the deck and peering over its edge onto a backyard that had a severe slope that started right after the deck supports and ended up about 12 feet down the hill, I immediately said, “No way!”

But after looking at a dozen more houses and finding nothing comparable for the price, I did what we all do when we REALLY want something, but when there are valid reasons for not getting it…I rationalized.

I rationalized that I could plant grass and shrubs on it and it would be beautiful. I rationalized that I could build steps down the side leading to the flat area down by the creek. And indeed, all these things have come to pass (well, I wouldn’t call it “beautiful” at this point just yet).

However, having had to weed-eat this hill (since it’s far too steep for a mower), while trying to keep from sliding down the hill at every step, I finally decided maybe it was time to re-think my idea. And again…I rationalized, except this time I started thinking about this hill and my caring for it when I’m in my 50s. It went something like this:

“Do I really want to be trying to cut this grass without breaking my neck when my body is 15 years older and more beat up than it is now? Will I be able to afford some kid to come do it for me? What if they don’t do a good job? What if he hurts himself while trying to cut it and he sues me?

So, I finally decided that, while I could leave the shrubs and small trees, perhaps I should just lay down a thick carpet of pine straw and be done with it. And so, I headed to my local Mega-Home Upkeep Mart and bought 12 bales of pinestraw.

It didn’t even cover a 1/3 of it. And have you ever tried to walk on pinestraw? It’s very slippery, especially on a 15 degree slope. There’s apparently some trick to laying down pinestraw on a hill and as far as I can tell, it’s basically that you put the bale on your left, grab some in your hand and throw it on your right. Forget trying to do it uphill/downhill. As I found out, you’ll only sliiiide down the hill every time.

So now I’m considering having someone drop me off another 30 bales and finishing the job. They wanted about $5.50 per bale (spread) for someone else to do it and I can buy just the bales for $3.49 at the Mega-Home Upkeep Mart, so that’s a good bit o’ savings. My only question now is how I’ll refresh it every year. I won’t be able to climb all over the hill to lay a new layer like I did this time. I might just have to stand at the top and toss it down. I’m sure the coverage would be excellent (NOT!).

No really, I’m gonna replant!

I’ve been going on to people at work–because they’re the only people I talk to other than my in-home family–about my errant landscaper. He’s fairly young and inexperienced, so yes, the term “landscaper” is a bit generous. Let’s call him “my yard guy.” That might more appropriately represent his help to me.

At any rate, he did show up after not showing up the first day and then not showing up until late the second day, oh and then not showing up yesterday despite having told me that even if it rains he has covers he can work under. Riiiiight.

Here’s pretty much all he’s done this week:

See all that blank area in front of the house on both sides of the door? Well, if you look closely, you’ll see stumps from the shrubs that were there previously. He hacked those out with some power hackers that he was very proud of (“These cost $400!”). He said he’d return the next day with a stump grinder, but I’ve not seen him since.

However, I do have my plant material that he’s purchased for me (below). I’d have hoped to have something a bit larger on the Japanese Maple, but they do get pricey. I got a “Waterfall’ variety for in front of the house and a Sango Kaku for the top of the yard and a Seiryu for the far right side.

Can you believe that tiny little pile of rocks cost me $70? I had to go get those myself from Pike Nurseries Stone Center here in town.

So, work is being done, just not too often. The dirt is supposed to be delivered today, but he has to build a small timber retaining wall before he can place all the dirt, so I’m sure I’ll be looking at a big pile o’ dirt for a few days.

But I’m confident it’ll look good when he’s done and if not, well, at least I’ll have all the materials there to fix it myself. 🙂