Me vs. Dirt, Part 1

There is something about having sore shoulder muscles that can make one feel especially broken, like you’ve been in a car wreck or had a bad turn at one of the bungie jumping things they have at big malls. Luckily, I do not feel all broken today because I was in a car wreck. I feel broken because I went toe to toe went mother nature yesterday and she won the battle.

I tried this once before, a couple of years ago, only to find that I just don’t weigh enough to get a shovel through unbroken ground. My boyfriend at the time ended up having pity on me and (after I bitched at him outright) busted both beds out in about 20 minutes of anger-filled digging. Now that my irises have gotten totally out of control and I’ve decided that monkey grass just looks like weeds, it’s time to expand.

“I’ll get a little tiller! That will make it easy!”

OK, it didn’t make the process easy. It just made the process POSSIBLE. That poor tiller jumped around, hopping about until I mastered some sort of technique, ripping through 70 years of weeds, bush roots, and some broken glass from when the front window got smashed while the house sat on the market for nine months. It only clogged once, choking on weeds and too-wet dirt until the blades locked up, a burning electrical smell began, and I was forced to unplug the tiller and clean it out with a pair of pruning shears and a long fork-like tool that I’m guessing is for cutting roots. The new bed is roughly 27 square feet and needs to be about 4-6 inches deep.

Then it was time to remove mother earth’s dirt and get a flat bottom on the beds. Far as I know, “the way” to do this is do get down and scrape at the bottom with a flat-edged shovel. Thing is, that job is almost completely fueled by body weight and upper body strength, aka “two things I’m not so great with.” After half an hour of scraping and shoveling out dirt, I was done. A steady stream of sweat was pouring out of my work gloves, and sweat was running into my eyes. It was only 11:00, and I was exhausted.

When I woke up to pee at 3am this morning, every muscle in my back screamed. In an effort to turn this into a leg-muscle game (a game I can win), I’m going to get a hoe after work. Dig it in, pull with legs, repeat. Mother nature will not win this one. We will not be calling in the mothers and boyfriends. It’s you and me, dirt, and I’m moving these damned irises.

I have resolved to spend an hour and a half out there each night after work, considering this my gym time, until the new bed is finished and planted and the old beds are de-monkey-grassed and mulched.

Making mother nature your bitch, Part 1

As many of you may recall, I promised a while back to give you a full report on my relationship with my new push reel mower. Dad warned me that I would find such a mower to be “….uh….a good workout….let me know how THAT goes.” Luckily, my friend Google was right: modern push reel mowers really ARE pretty easy to push. It’s pretty much only a workout if I rake afterward, which I tend to do because I haven’t gotten the bag attachment yet. I’m not sure a bag attachment would be any good unless the grass is wet, cause it tends to just fly out to the sides a la Bugs Bunny.

I like him, though. Well, as much as I’m capable of liking an instrument of summer torture. I can get down in the ditches and funky spots (which are about 80% of the yard) without worrying about a rock flying up in my eye or slipping on the grass and chopping off one or both of my feet. The push reel also makes a rather amusing Edward Scissorhands noise.

My neighbors seem to be a tad bewildered by this newest of weird-ass behaviors. One teenager asked me, “is that cutting your grass?” “Well, it better be! Otherwise I’m out here pushing it around for nothing!”

There’s a spot in the backyard that’s under a tree and filled with clover (and rocks) instead of grass. Rather than continue to mow this, I will be establishing a cemetery in the back yard. Some day soon, I’m going to use my new jigsaw (purchased at a yard sale for a whopping 4 bucks) to cut out some headstone shapes and then have a PWOT party. Paint Your Own Tombstone, that is. There goes the neighborhood!

In other news, dad’s most recent medical update email says that his brain cancer is doing well, but they’ve now also found cancer in his liver. Sister and I have been instructed to wait until after Christmas to book place tickets, since Christmas day is the last day that the cruise tickets will be refundable “if anything happens.”