Saturday, June 18, 2016

Slowly Regaining A Yard

When we first moved into our house, the place needed a lot of work.
It was a strong house.
A good house.
A house that no-one had cared about in a very long time.
If ever.
We moved into this house almost three years ago now.
It was structurally sound but ugly as home-made sin.
The outside was painted an ugy pale yellow and was peeling all over.
The gutters and trim around the windows were painted an ugly and industrial brown and (judging from the appearance of some of the other homes in town) was likely painted from supplies stolen from INL.
The inside was an aging cream color and the walls were all very dirty from years and more years of dust, grime and uncaring renters.
And the yard.
The yard.
When we first moved here the yard was beige and we were certain that the grass was all dead.
It was too hot here in the summer.
Too dry here.
The grass could not have possibly survived.
Or so we thought.
The yard was filled with sorry looking and thirsty bushes and endless pieces of metal that had been carelessly scattered wherever careless people chose to throw unwanted nuts, bolts, screws, and pieces of wire.
And broken glass.
Pieces of beer bottles mostly.
It has taken almost three years to finally regain the yard..................

So how many times did we walk back and forth with a large magnet on a string picking up endless coffee cans full of metal?
How many pieces of broken bottles have we picked off the ground?
We don't know and we lost count.
A lot.
And even after all this time we still find glass and still find nails that occasionally pop up through the ground.
I never understand people who can be so uncaring about what they have.
Even if we don't have much, what we have is ours and we care for it.
So I don't understand those who care so little..................

A small herd of deer spent the entire winter in town.
I loved seeing them.
And then one day in early spring they simply disappeared.
It had been probably four months since I last saw the deer, and then the other morning I opened the kitchen curtains and saw two adults grazing on the grass on the property across the street from us.
Somehow I wasn't ecstatic to see them.
In winter they are beautiful.
The silent, beautiful, gentle creatures that provide both me and Kory joy as we walk.  We don't see people through the winter very much and we like it that way, but it was always good to see THEM.
 But right now we have lilac bushes that are finally starting to recover from the ravishes of the deer over the years who seem to love the taste of lilac bushes very much.
We are growing some container vegetables - just peppers and tomatoes but they're all doing fine and maybe we'll even get a vegetable or two out of the deal.
Container flowers.
Small trees that we are trying to nurture.
Iris' all over the yard that are coming on strong.
Wild roses that unexpectedly presented themselves for the first time last spring and that we are trying to grow into something nice along the front fence.
And some other kind of growth that stays green all spring and then sometime in late summer magically turns into huge clusters of pink flowers..............

Yesterday we constructed protective metal cages around the vegetables.
And the small trees that have a lot of growing to do.
But the rest will be at the mercy of the deer and I guess we will have to see what they get through the summer and what will make it.
Since that first deer sighting a few days ago I've seen them a few times throughout town.
There are at least three floating around, and I understand now why residents of our tiny town truly have a love-hate relationship with them....................

Pictures of a couple of our lilac bushes.....................
Kory happily chewing on a deer leg in our back yard.
Most of the bones that she finds out on BLM land are old and sun bleached.
But occasionally she comes across part of an animal (usually a deer) that has not been dead for very long.
One day last summer she chased after a rabbit in the desert and disappeared over a rise.
I did not see her again for almost 30 minutes, but knew from experience that if I simply kept calling her name she would find her way back to me.
30 minutes after she had sprinted over a rise and disappeared from view, I saw a cloud of dust.
The cloud was moving in my direction and although I could not see my dog yet, I knew that it was her.
A few minutes later she came racing towards me and as she jumped over one sage bush after another in her effort to speed back to me I realized that she was also carrying something in her mouth.
Something big.
it was a deer leg (all the way from hip to hoof).
Out of breath she dropped the treasure at my feet and then collapsed on the ground.
She was very tired.
I squatted down beside her, talked to her, rubbed her ears and the top of her head, letting her know how proud of her I was.
After a few minutes I turned in the middle of the desert field and began to walk across country, heading for the trail on the outskirts of town.
She would want to bring her treasure home with her.
She always does.
My dog was so tired from the rabbit chasing, the deer leg finding, the sprint back to me, the leaps over sage bushes, that she had trouble carrying her new find, and continually dropped it onto the ground.
Eventually I picked the disgusting object up and carried it home for my dog.
THIS deer leg was more manageable, she proudly carried it all the way to the house, and spent the rest of the afternoon happily gnawing on it in the back yard...................
Some random pictures of the yard as it looked a few days ago....................
A couple of months ago - when spring was just beginning to find its way to SE Idaho - I went on a painting binge.
The grass was already beginning to get green again but the trees and bushes were all still mostly bare.
Suddenly and unexpectedly desperate for some color in the yard I drove to Blackfoot, picked up cans of red, white and blue paint and went to work.
I painted an old milk can in stars and stripes.
Painted a palette into an American flag.
Painted an old beat-up wheelbarrow that our neighbor had given us when we asked for it as she was throwing it away.  Red.  White.  Blue.
Same thing with an old oil funnel.
And painted this old post.
It wasn't originally intended to be a pole for mini flags but somehow developed into one anyway, and believe it or not it doesn't look quite as tacky in real life as it does in the picture.
I'll take better pictures of the patriotic things I made, when I get some time...............
Our back yard is basically in the shape of an E.
One arm of the E is still in rough shape.
The soil is terrible.  The grass grows in patches.  Both grass and flowers have trouble growing in this place, and it was the place with the least grading, and the most random pieces of metal.
It still needs work.  Quite a bit of work...................
There was supposed to be flowers in this thing by now, but they haven't made it yet and maybe they won't make it this summer at all.
We've got pansies all over the place in random containers, and with everything else we're trying to develop in the yard right now I look at this little wheelbarrow and think..............maybe next year...............

 It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside. ~Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and Tib, 1941

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