Monday, December 30, 2013

Why not ask a perfectionist to do any yard work?

When I returned from Georgia after a week of 20s here, my locally-infamous Rube Goldberg watering system had decided to give up the ghost (even though I'd turned it off at the main).

So I bit the proverbial bullet and began a planned xeriscape revamping. The landscaper began by removing the grass last week. This afternoon, I went out to collect the Iris before the yard work begins next week. (Last year, I had two boxes of Iris and gave away half, but now the iris have multiplied again. In fact, I found more after this photo. Thank heavens I save all those boxes....)
Boxes of too many iris

While I was out in the yard, I noticed some roots protruding in the area below the kitchen window where they took some grass out. Oh, good, I thought, those nasty Ivy roots are exposed; time to get rid of them once and for all. (When I moved in, ivy had taken over my house and was invading the roof; it's been a continuous battle to keep the plants from reviving.) I pulled and pulled and cut and stuffed the yardwaste bin full. It was pretty satisfying, but that was only the minor ivy area. Nonetheless, I didn't go searching out more ivy roots -- and I didn't even take a picture. (In fact, I got the iris picture hours later.)

Instead, I liberated some of the brick edging:
overly-well-secured brick edging

For sure, those previous owners didn't want that brick to MOVE. You can't really tell from the picture, but the gray part is a BASE of concrete that the brick edging is set into, and it is BEHIND another edging of concrete curbing. The second base is about 6" deep. No way that stuff is coming out without a machine. And the bricks aren't likely to be easily liberated unless they happen to WANT to be freed -- I had a couple sections that came loose with just a shovel pry and once I shoved a section with my foot and it (to my surprise) gave way. But the rest is intended to be there for life. :( This is BAD because that is NOT the new edging location for my yard plan.

Anyway as I inspected the edging, I noticed... wait for it... more roots. Not ivy this time but back in the yard. Ah, I thought, the roots of a defunct tree. Yes, it was the ex-pear tree roots. (The pears were bad -- so inedible even the birds would eat them only on one side; mostly the pears just cluttered the yard and rotted -- in huge piles; it was a very prolific, useless tree. And it had as many roots.) I pulled. I pulled some more. It was a Hydra, a mythical beast, branching out away from the edging. Its tentacles reached out toward every corner of the yard. They crisscrossed and interlaced, but I persevered.
Root Hydra
This is the first hydra. As I worked at liberating its tentacles, I found more hydras. In the end, there were three fully formed hydras with many, many interlaced tentacles.

Hydra Tentacles
This is the area near the ex-pear tree location after my victory. On the other side of the brick edging, the hydra continues; there are two more hydras I have identified. And I didn't even look at the (also yard littering) ex-plum or (dying) ex-almond areas. Fortunately, it got dark. I came in and made a margarita-tini from Crystal Light and tequila. As a hydra fighter, I deserved this reward. After another, I felt maybe I could face the hydra tomorrow and cut it up to dispose of all the tentacles, but it may have to live there for a week because my bin was already full....

You are probably asking yourself, as I did several times while amputating hydra limbs, is this really necessary? You are probably concluding, as I did each time, NO. The dirt is going to be moved around and the edging dug out, any hydra tentacles that exist will be buried during the prepping for the new backyard plan (which hasn't even been formulated yet). And still, I pulled hydra limbs and traced hydra tentacles and dug up hydra intersections. I cut the hydra at the brick edging -- on BOTH sides because of course you can't pull the hydra tentacles out from under the overly-well-secured edging foundation.

This is not the task for a sane homeowner. Once you start, it is like an OCD compulsion. You think, this branch will end and that will be the finish. But the branch always intersects another, and you find an additional full hydra tempting you to pull some more. It is crazy-making. It is obsessive. It is ridiculous. And yet you think: just another pull and it will be the end. Trust me: the hydra never end. Do NOT do this in your yard.

When I dispose of the already-exposed hydra, I am going to try very hard to ignore the other protruding roots. Fortunately I had a skype yoga class to teach Sunday at 2, so prime hydra hunting time was effectively interrupted. Thank goodness. Doing my taxes (my other weekend task) has seemed almost preferrable -- but just as tenaciously neverending (what myth-maker estimates those recordkeeping and preparation times?). Or maybe there, too, I need to realize: perfection is NOT required.

Wish me luck -- or sanity....


Anonymous said...

I am wondering if I can have some of your Iris...:) this is Karen....

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