"Your Life is an Occasion, Rise to it!" ~ Mr. Magorium
"We must face tomorrow, whatever it may hold, with determination, joy and bravery" ~ Mr. Magorium

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Lessons Learned in the Land of Jumanji

Yard work has been a real challenge for me! Don't get me wrong, I have done yard work. But the amount and type of work that I now have to do is insane. Maybe not really insane, it was let go for a couple of summers, so now I am having to deal with the clean up process.

First let me explain about where I live. I live on the back end of six acres of land. My ex's grandmother bought this land a long time ago, over 20 years ago. The main house was built in 1903 and there was another house that the hired help lived in that was built around that time as well. The property used to include a lot more land because it used to be a peanut plantation, but pieces were split and sold at some point. With exception of the front of the property, the land is surrounded by trees from one side all the way around to the other. Behind my house there is a pond and the tree line is behind that. All I'm trying to say is, I don't live in some neighborhood where over grown means the yard has weeds in it and that's as bad as it gets. All together there are five homes on the property. With exception of the rental, the other three homes are occupied by my ex in-laws! LOL! I get along with all of them! Plus the house is in my name!

During my marriage I mowed the lawn, with a riding lawn mower. I don't exactly have a small yard, my yard is apart of the six acres. And it would take a riding lawn mower to keep six acres mowed! But it wasn't like I was a lazy ass on a riding lawn mower mowing down a 6x6 area of land! I even pulled some weeds. But for the most part, my ex took care of the yard work.

There is a piece of land that my ex's grandmother had fenced off for the animals she had. She had goats and geese. And of course the pond is included in that fenced in area. That fence runs behind my house and then to the right all the way to the property line. I am so bad judging distance, I'd say there is 18 feet, probably a little more than that, between the back of my house and the fence. It's a pretty good size area!

Last summer the yard behind my house was let go! I couldn't do it because I had a baby. Cade was under a year old and it just wasn't possible to get it done with him. I want to say it was even over grown from the summer before, mainly because my ex had a bunch of stuff going on and didn't keep up with it. I was pregnant and taking it easy. I had a difficult pregnancy, swelling really bad, so I had no business out there! As it was the baby was born at 33 weeks. So the prior two summers I was just unable to do anything with the back yard.

So lets fast forward two years, back to today! Looking at the yard was just overwhelming! It made me think of that book, Where the Wild Things Are! When we first moved into the house we planted a weeping willow tree. It seemed to struggle and struggle and I didn't think it was going to make it! Well after two years of no yard work, that tree flourished and finally grew! There were trees planted along the fence line that were just out of control. Weeds were every where! I am talking tall weeds! Honey suckle grew out of control every where, as did raspberry vines. I even noticed that the entire yard was covered in vines. They crisscrossed the yard in every which direction! The flower bed that my mom and sister helped me plant was a bed of weeds! It even had oak trees growing in it! It was just insane, an insane mess! And for someone used to managing an already kept yard, it was definitely a task!

I am by no means a diva! I can hang outside and get dirty! I love to fish and camp and just be outside. But at the same time I am a girl, I like to be pretty and keep my nails filed and pretty. I am by no means a Paris Hilton, but imagine for a moment throwing Paris Hilton out in a wild jungle and her having to clean it up! Well really she probably wouldn't do it, she'd just give up the first second she was pricked by one of those damn thorny vines! But here I was outside attempting to clean up the mess, acting like I was some pro landscaper!

The first thing I learned...ok maybe I didn't learn...was that you get blisters from using yard tools for a long time! And blisters hurt! And they really hurt when you take a shower! I want to say I have never in my life had a blister on my hands. But the first day in the yard, I walked away with a couple on both of my hands! I realized, oh yeah, that's why people wear gloves! But I still haven't learned my lesson because I have a brand new pair of gloves and I still haven't worn them! And I got another blister last night! But this one was no where near as bad and really didn't bother me!

I of course started with mowing the yard. I was hoping the mower would maybe chop up the vines that ran across yard. No such luck! And really the mowing I was doing was just to mow down the weeds and what grass there was. It used to be lush and green. But I soon realized that the grass was brown and had died because of all the vines! It looked like someone played a game of Jumanji and wild vines came out and attacked!

So I had mowed the yard and cleaned out the flower beds over the last couple of weeks, it's been a process! I have a 19 month old remember! LOL! Sunday evening and last evening I mowed the yard, cause you keep having to do it! LOL! I then started the task of trying to rake up the vines that were every where! Talk about back breaking work! Some of them came up easy but some of them didn't! There were vines growing up the fence and even some that had grown up into the weeping willow tree. These vines had actually pulled the branches to the ground, so that vines grew over top the limbs, trapping them between the ground and the vines! I had to go in and clip the vines out of the tree! In doing that I saw species of insects that I have never seen before! So it was like PE and Science all rolled into one! I worked for a few hours raking and pulling at the vines. I raked up lots of dead brown grass as well! I would say that I have about 3/4ths of the yard raked up.

By the time I stopped I was so black from dirt! I am going to say I have probably never been that dirty. Maybe at some point as a child, but never as an adult!

So let me tell you about the fun parts. Trying to keep Cade with me so that I could not only watch him but accomplish my task was nearly impossible. He kept following our puppy Brownie into the woods, when I say "our", she belongs to everyone who lives there! That's a whole other story! Cade was tromping around in the woods like Survivor Man! How he wasn't covered in ticks is beyond me! Every five minutes I was having to drop what I was doing to chase him down! At one point Brownie and Duke, my sister-in-law's dog were chasing each other. They chased each other around this huge magnolia tree and finally went under it to play. They were making tons of noise as they ran through all the crisp dried leaves that had fallen from the tree. Well a noise like that is too irresistible for any child! He was all up under the tree with the dogs, trying to climb like Tarzan! This tree covers a large area and has branches all the way to the ground. So keeping him out was nearly impossible! At one point I was yelling for Cade to come back to me when I realized that my nephew Patric was home. He came outside and I looked at him, I said "Patric, come play with him so I can do some of this yard work!" He could tell I was frustrated! I usually ask, I never just tell him to do it. So Patric played with Cade while I tried to accomplish something! I kept a check on them! I didn't want a repeat of the coffee cup massacre! But Patric is really good with Cade, very responsible for his age!

But through all of the work, the yard has actually taught me some things about myself. First, yard work is relaxing, who would have thought! It allows you to think. It doesn't talk back or judge you and it's there to catch your tears without complaint! It is also a lot of hard work which is good! It allows me to release some of my pent up aggression and has me so tired after that I sleep well! But even more than that I see how my own hard work is shaping something that was out of control into something that will be pleasant. There is enough of my own blood, sweat, and tears in that yard that I think we could maybe be related! LOL! My DNA runs through it! But it's taught me that I can do anything! As overwhelming as it may seem, if I take it one little piece at a time, it doesn't seem as bad. Instead of focusing on it as a whole piece, I focus on just a tiny piece, and before I know it not much is left! So it has really become a give and take, 50/50 relationship! I am manicuring and improving, it is teaching me about myself and life! I think any overwhelming task can be faced as long as I face it one tiny piece at a time, instead of the the whole damn thing at once! It's about taking things one step at a time!

I so wish I had taken before pictures! I am still not finished with the yard. With a 19 month old, it isn't exactly something that can be accomplished really fast! But already the difference is huge! It's something I can be proud of! I can stand back when it's all finished and say, I did that! I did it in spite of the thorns, the snakes, the blisters, the heat and in spite of how impossible it seemed for someone like me! And I did it all by myself!

No comments:

Post a Comment