Traditionally, winterizing the yard is a job we loathed and put off as long as possible (a procrastination in which two of our trees in the yard obliged us as they do not shed their leaves until the last possible second before snow. I'm pretty sure the very last leaf fell when it heard there would be snow today). Two things motivate me. The memory of the first year after we moved in (November 7th four years ago) and like ignorant first time homeowners did not rake up or pull up or trim down anything in our beautifully landscaped yard, thinking it would all somehow disappear. Come spring, the work still needed to be done, however by then it was soggy and rotting and very disgusting (and I was very pregnant). Not a fun job. This second thing that motivates me is the view of my elderly neighbors yard. This man spends hours on his hands and knees weeding out any errant crabgrass with needle nose pliers (I am not kidding...) and no weed is allowed past a baby stage before it is uprooted with the ruthlessness of a bounty hunter. He is a friendly guy but can't hear a word anyone says. He likes to offer us pointed tips on our own yard, which we most often ignore. Every year I strive to get my yard as beautifully done as his until last spring when I decided to just get fence slats instead (so the sight of my yard wont mar his...). Below is a picture of his yard and my yard as of yesterday. Most of his grass is still a velvety green while mine has been fairly brown for a month or so now when the city turned off the secondary water and I decided watering was done for the year and amen to that! Guess which side of the fence is my yard?
Anyway, disliking winterizing the yard is so rampant around here, I am not positive that J didn't set this whole thing up as an elaborate scheme to get out of it (because I have considered it myself). Now that it is done, he will probably be back any day now... :-)
Every year as I rake, I have to remind myself how much we appreciate the shade of the trees in the summer. We had a massive pile, much bigger than years past because in the past I was more on top of the leaves as they fell. Keep in mind that this pile could have been even bigger since it was on top of a large dip in the yard. The boys both worked industriously with their rakes and were very good helpers. Then we played:
The boys jumped in the leaves, while Sis jumped in her own way and observed (this is her "I just woke up and I am not ready to smile or jump, mom" face).
I was so proud of Junior. He has not shown himself to be adept at hard labor in the past, but he really was a trooper this year. He raked and fetched and carried and held the bags while I put leaves in (while making chomping sounds on the bag's behalf). Bubba was not inclined to help with that, but did his own part by standing barefoot at the back door and shouting things like "Mom, it's cold.." and "Mom, are you done, I'm starving to play with you..." Helpful stuff. Sis just jumped. She can help next year. Afterward we went inside and had hot chocolate with marshmallows and spongebob candy canes.
All in all, I tried to enjoy it more this year. If it's the last thing I do, I want to be long out of this house by next fall and my yard gets truly gorgeous in the fall. I wish I had gotten more pictures of it in all it's glory, but was too distracted and my camera sucks. I had planned to gather and press some of the flowers in the yard to make into wall hangings so I could pass them on to Sis one day and tell her that they bloomed the spring she was born, but well...you know. I was a little distracted then too. I really wish I had. I kind of hope that if my boys only remember one thing (if they remember anything) it is the annual leaf jumping. And I hope that we find a new place with trees even if they involve more work. Isn't that what 10$ an hour deacons are for?
Look - Not a moment too soon...
I wish my boys were here this weekend to make the first tracks in the first snow of the year