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Category Archives: This Old House

The Fruits Of His Labor

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When I take a good long look at things, I guess I’m more of a pessimist and H is an optimist.

He procrastinates getting things done, while I want results immediately. I’m still waiting on new front and back doors and two closet doors. They aren’t as high on his agenda as they are on mine.

There are articles in this house – and outside – that do not need to be here. He doesn’t mind weaving in and out around large pieces of furniture we don’t need or use. I do.

I love to mark through things on a list. It makes me feel as though I’ve accomplished something. I make him lists of the things we need to get done around here, but he tends to ignore them and has a plan of his own that doesn’t usually include my list.

He putters around the yard and babies his plants that I see as dead or dying. Last year I laughed at the twig he called a fig tree. We had moved it from the backyard to the front yard so it could receive more sun and it lost all its leaves, making it look as though there was a dead twig in the ground. Granted it’s only about ten inches tall, but look at it now. I was wrong. I’m sorry.

Now I’m wrong again. H has carted this pineapple plant in and out of the cold weather for at least four years. It’s prickly and he always seems to put it where I get stuck when walking past it.

There is hardly enough room in this house for us, much less, plants that need to come in for the winter months like the snowbirds who show up in town every year as soon as snow starts falling in the north. I begged him to either put it in the ground or get rid of it. I had no faith this plant would ever bear fruit and when he excitedly called me outside to look at his two pineapples this morning, I had to eat my words.

There is still the matter of that fence that needs to be removed from the backyard. It’s on his list.

~Elle

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Jungle Fever or Why Don’t We Just Bulldoze The Whole Mess Down!

Jungle Fever or Why Don’t We Just Bulldoze The Whole Mess Down!

We have vines growing in the trees in our yard that would make Tarzan do back flips. It’s too bad we didn’t live here when Andrew was younger and in his ‘George Of The Jungle’ phase. Actually, it’s probably better that we didn’t. After seeing the movie Andrew decided it would be a good idea to swing from the top posts of his bunk beds. He would have broken his neck in these trees!

After a few years of procrastinating, H finally plunged in and started on the backbreaking task of clearing the underbrush in our side yard. With the biggest lot in the neighborhood, a forest in our back yard is still not an option in my book.

I told myself I was not going to get out in that mess and help with the clearing. But I did – for one day. Getting poison ivy was my biggest fear. H gets a bad enough case every year that he has to go to the doctor and get a shot. I haven’t had it that bad in at least thirty years. It’s been a week and no signs of poison ivy yet so I dodged the bullet.

I don’t believe H’s dad realized how big pine trees eventually get when he brought home that truck load of small saplings when H was just a boy. They also sprout up voluntarily when given the chance. And believe me, they were given the chance!

There were three of these fenced in circles space out across the back yard. H’s parents had the great idea they would put all their clippings and yard debris in them and have their own mulch pile. A snake pit is more like it! Everything is dead now but in the summer there is all kinds of green things sprouting out of them. Two have been removed and this is the last one. It will be much harder to remove since H can’t get his truck in there to pull down the fencing.

There was a volunteer pecan tree too close to the carport. H’s mom let it grow for years and it was really pretty and provided lots of shade in the summer. Two years ago, when Andrew was home for a few days, I finally convinced H to cut it down before it grew too big for him to do it himself. It took him and Andrew about twenty minutes to cut down and then into smaller pieces, and drag it to the front for pick up the next morning.

A friend offered me a cutting from her wisterias. She said to be careful where I planted it because it could overtake a tree and kill it. I told her I had a lot of trees I’d like to kill! We once checked on the cost of having a few of the bigger pines in the front cut down. They are waaaay too big for us to tackle ourselves. That’s about as far as that project got since it cost about $800 – $1200 per tree. Two are really big. Should we plant wisteria? Ha! The best we can manage is clean up around them and hope they don’t blow over onto the house during a hurricane.

With the canopy of shade pulled down from the underbrush and Tarzan vines, we discovered about twelve blueberry bushes. We knew they were there, but the hopes of them ever producing were slim to none. The sunshine can finally get to them now. Maybe we will have blueberries in June!

There are about eight holly trees planted in a straight line down the center of that wooded area and you can now see how they were spaced out, straight and narrow. These trees were sent to H’s dad from his sister in Ocean Springs, Maryland. In the mail. It’s a wonder they survived. So of course he planted every one. In my opinion, one would have been enough.

We have a few different varieties of palm trees in the front and back yard, but have cut down a ton of them that sprout up voluntarily. This one in the front yard we will probably keep. Here’s a picture of it my sister, Tish, took while visiting a couple years ago. She said, “You know you’re in Florida when you see a squirrel in a palm tree!” These are the ones we usually cut down.

H thinks the forest area can be managed now with just some weed eating during the summer months. Good thing because I can’t see the benefits of spending three thousand dollars or more on a riding lawnmower to mow pine straw! There is a lot more to be done in this yard.

I wonder what the cost of renting a bulldozer would be.

~Elle

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