Monday, July 04, 2005

A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Aleve

For the past two days I have been doing my best Frederick Law Olmsted impression in our postage-stamp sized, shady backyard. On Saturday: created several multi-layered planting areas using the rocks that tumble up from the earth like potatoes whenever I rake the ground. Into these beds went ground cover in three varieties: ivy, pachysandra, and euonymus. On Sunday: dug a drainage canal along the back wall and down to the sidewalk on the west side of the house, then filled it with more rocks for that mountain stream look.

New England agriculture revolves around the disposal of rocks.
Through it all, I have to say that the generic version of Aleve that I have been taking has really helped with the shoulder tendinitis.

And darned if it isn't all pretty rewarding. Why, I don't know. Last time I did anything out there was May of 2000. If that ground cover is going to make it I will have to pay closer attention this time. Certainly as a youth, yard work meant mowing a giant backyard while my dad "supervised," i.e. sat on the swingset and drank Coors, and it was not the highlight of my week. Now I would give anything to have a big yard to mow.

Multi-layered planting beds
Likewise, the various housekeeping tasks I have undertaken lately have also been remarkably drudgery-free. Again, why? Is it the fact that these tasks are chosen by me freely, and not imposed from without, by society's expectations or the demands of a spouse? Or the fact that I can quit anytime during the day and take a bike ride or check email or write or go explore a new beach? Or the knowledge that I can leave this life pretty much any time I want and go back into an non-home workplace? Or maybe it's that I'm not responsible for anyone else, i.e. kids or an elderly relative.

Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, homemaking as an occupation got such a bad rap in the media and in popular culture that I thought nobody in their right mind would ever want to do it. But so far I find that it agrees with me.

Drainage canal

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