Making a List of “To Do’s”

More succulents. I picked up these four different plants at Aldi’s of all places and placed them in this handmade container.

It might be in the 90s outside, but you and I both know that won’t last for long. It’s time to start planning for fall.

Inside the house we have a childhood favorite of mine courtesy of a start provided by my mom. I’ve always called this plant “purple velvet” – does anyone know its proper name?

We worked hard in the yard today and Dave got all of the mowing done while I pulled weeds and began digging out unwanted scrub trees scattered throughout the property.

I made some Ginger Pear Crisp with the Asian pears we have growing in our yard. The pears stay crisp even when baked. So good over vanilla ice cream. You can find the directions under Recipes/Desserts in the tab above. Give the recipe a try!

And then my eyes settled on the future pond and all of the growth and brush that was clogging it up. When Dave finished mowing he headed over to help and together we pulled out many trees, a pile of weeds, and began tarping the cleared areas.

Future pond

I began dreaming of a pond in this spot the first spring we were here, in early 2013. I imagined a deep upper pool, connected to a shallow stream lined with river rock and pea gravel that would open up onto two separate deep pools.

Future pond

It all started with this bit of tree root. Cottonwood trees are notoriously shallow-rooted, and this one was just sitting there on the surface of the ground. I looked at it and thought “Bridge!” and began to dig.

The bit of cottonwood root that started the whole adventure over five years ago.

The years have flown by and I keep promising myself that this will be the year that I put in the pond. Well, I’m really hoping that 2019 will be that year. Meanwhile, we have dug every tree, bush and most of the weeds out, and placed tarps over a majority of the future pond. Next year, we can remove the tarps, dig down deep into the ground to the appropriate depths, then replace the tarps until we have the pipes, pond liner and rocks ready to go.

Future pond

More than anything, I’ve grown tired of having to clear the space over and over of greenery.

Gooseberries, a rosebush and fruit trees surrounded by pea gravel and eventually stepping stones.

We also spread out some of the pea gravel we have bought in this little oasis of gooseberry, rosebush and fruit trees. Looks like I need a bit more to complete the project!

I think I’ll include this other fruit tree as well. I’m going to need a lot more pea gravel!

It will include metal edging so that it is easy to mow right up to.

Ignore all the weeds – I began transplanting my mint from the greenway in the front of the property to the base of Cottage West. I hope to plant moats of mint around all of the houses to repel invading mice and ants. This mint is doing well here and will continue to grow and spread over the years.

I sat down and identified what we still need to do in the yard before it gets cold:

  • Finish the brick firepit surround and reposition the logs for sitting on
  • Finish the brick pathway rebuild
  • Expand the dog yard to include the passageway between the dog yard and Cottage East (build one little patch of wall and one more gate)
  • Remove chain-link fence from side and front of Cottage East and dig up poles
  • Remove the underbrush and re-do the brick walkway on the east side of Cottage East
  • Kill off and remove poison ivy and other weeds from the back of Cottage West
  • Clear the alley side of the back fence of scrub trees, poison ivy and weeds. Put down weed-block and mulch some areas.
  • Finish tree ring in front side yard
  • Clear/tidy Cottage West front yard
  • Clean up garbage along front of property

The “wildflower shade garden” was in a decrepit state. I hope to really cut loose on wildflowers here next year. I will be the mad seeder come springtime.

It’s quite a lot of work. And I’m hoping that most of it can be done before our Halloween Party and Birthday Bash.

One of our two Asian pear trees in our mini-orchard.

Each year we make such enormous progress on this house and yard. Sometimes I feel like I’m running a marathon, or maybe trying to beat the clock before my body tells me “Enough!” while I still have a “to do” list a mile long.

One of our heirloom apple trees in our mini-orchard.

In any case, I took a good look at our calendar over the next two months and plugged in various activities (mostly on the weekends) that should mean we have most if not all of that hellish list done before it gets cold.

All of this hard work is so worth it. Look how far we have come!

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