Our ducks ripped up the grass, leaving it in very ragged shape for a lawn, but inspiring the idea of creating a seasonal meadow of flowers and grasses that could survive in wet soil.
Then things started to change, and threw my plans into disarray.
We no longer have ducks.
The west coast is experiencing a very dry winter.
|Instead of this|
|I had this|
So I've been going out a little every weekend and pulling grass, thistles and weeds.
The green compost bin in the back - a sort given out by the city of Seattle, is full of grass and roots.
Once I filled it I started piling off to the side, just to get it out of the way.
Ultimately I lashed together some pallets with baling twine and made a nice, big compost bin. It makes me very happy to fill it.
I can't wait for all the compost I will have this year.
Some of them are surprisingly green and lively in the bare soil.
This is coming up where the brown eyed Susans were growing; I assume that's what it is. There were four or five times as many crowns as I put in plants.
So either I'm wrong, or it's growing like gangbusters.
Sometimes I find plants as I start to dig a root and realize it's not a grass or a buttercup but something more intentional. Once it was a long, red, hairy underground stolon. Stinging nettle. Ooops.
I let my brain start planning next year's garden. It's in the shade of a big, sprawling pussy willow next door. I like shade, especially damp shade. I dream of big, dark leafed plants - maybe some giant Solomons seal. Meadow rue. Some trillium. Lots of dainty things to contrast with the vibrant music, the sound of football.
A huge windstorm blew down the willow. It must have happened last Sunday but I was too busy with my own stuff to notice till today. They had already chopped it up.
It had fallen over the fence onto our bushes too. Luckily I can't say I was very attached to any of them. I did like the shade though.
The soft soil was trampled with huge, deep footprints. It was damp enough to compact, though not wet enough for water to cup in the deep places.
Then I noticed someone looking over the fence at me.
I wish I'd taken a picture of the meadow after I completely degrassed it, to prove that it really happened and show how hard I worked. But I thought I could do it later, and then later a tree fell on it.
Here is a pile of torn up grass in the background and some wood chips from the tree in the near ground.
The story about how I worked on the yard just changed. It's not the story of all the work I did and it's not the story of how it turned out. I will tell them another time.
It's not the story of how I was frustrated at having a tree fall on my fence, and my soil stepped on, because I got over it. It's not about pollinators or biology or plants or anything.
Its just a story about gardens and shade and rain and dogs and trees and neighbors and making plans and unmaking them again, as sometimes happens.
Such is life that you never know when a willow tree will fall onto your work and leave wood chips and ivy fragments all over it. You can't plan for a dry year, though with climate change ahead I should plan on less freezing each year. You can't plan which windstorm will kill a tree, but you can make a shrewd guess which trees are most likely to succumb and you can recognize that it's better to fall on a fence than on a house.
You can enjoy work, and listen to games, and you can remember that distractions, redirections and changes of plan aren't just sidelights -they are life, happening. Live it and enjoy.
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