luke and i are currently renting a small bungalow house that has no grass in the front and backyards. the idea behind this landscaping choice was that grass, being notorious for its water consumption, is not eco-friendly and so the family that owns this house decided instead to put in drought-tolerant plants and mulch over larger areas not planted with anything. this sounded great to luke and i - lower utility costs! woot!
sadly, it's become increasingly clear, especially after the first big rain during our first winter here, that mulch doesn't hold up well to the elements when used as a full-backyard landscaping tool. therefore, our yards are essentially dirt, which really wouldn't bother me at all, except for this environment is excellent for breeding weeds. everywhere. every. where.
for the first year we lived here, luke and i were really good about catching the weeds when they were tiny sprouts, and ripping them out of the ground with glee. however, it soon became obvious that weeding a completely bare yard is a full-time commitment - for realz. it is constant. in addition, i actually started to like the addition of green plants to the brown backyard landscape and the dog really likes jumping through the tall weed stalks when we play ball. thus, the plan to just ignore the weeds was born.
this plan has been working out pretty well for us. the backyard is full of lush greenery and if you squint (or, like me, don't wear your prescription glasses at home), it looks like there are just a bunch of legitimate plants basking in the sun out there. i actually kinda loved it.
...until today, when for some reason the weeds became less like pleasant alternatives to gray mulch and more like an indication of what a terrible mess my life is and how horrible i am at being a grown adult.* thus, after i swept all the errant pieces of mulch off our patio and completely re-organized our "potting station" (i.e. the stainless steel kitchen counter we had no place for, and thus stuck in the backyard as a place for me to place new plants into pots each spring, hopeful i will spring a green thumb, only to forget to water them for days at a time, effectively killing everything), i decided to start digging out weeds. most were almost hip-high on me and were therefore almost impossible for me to rip out with my hands. i grabbed a small trowel and, sans gardening gloves, ** i made my way across the yard just in front of the patio, manically removing all the weeds. i did this for a very long time (or at least what seemed like forever) and paused only to wipe the sweat from my face. i took a "before" photo of one portion of the yard, meaning to clear the entire frame of weeds before i stopped today, and i totally would have powered through had i not literally felt my skin slide off after i attacked a particularly vicious root with the trowel. i had managed to get a blister and pop it and tear my skin off in one weeding experience. so proud. i then had to wash all the dirt off of my bare hands and out of my exploded blister with antibacterial soap, which was so fun.
all in all, i think my bandaged hand was worth it. my plan is to go get some gloves tomorrow and continue on saturday. THERE WILL BE NO MORE GREEN on the left side of these photographs come sunday. NONE. (well, except for on the fence, because, you know, privacy.)
*luke and i had an extreme tax season this year, what with his new, declared small business and both of us working as "independent contractors" and such. we owed a bunch of money until i entered in all the tuition i paid in 2011. dear student loans: thanks for that. the intensity of taxes made me realize that i definitely need to get my shit together. no more "oops, i had no idea adult life worked that way, so i'm getting shafted." no. will not let it happen. i will pull up all the weeds until i feel responsible again.
**my lack of gloves, and my inability to remember to buy them, was a huge reason i've ignored the out of control weed problem for so long. today, i figured i should probably take advantage of the superhuman powers my sudden cleaning frenzy had granted me and just deal with the backyard, even without gloves.