First, a pic:
|This is how real estate folks sell houses: a panorama shot of my back yard. Images are closer than they appear.|
Yes, the barren grass stands out, but what I see are improvements: thriving trees and vines, a pond that is still mostly keeping it together, and a straw bale with a target in it. At right, the spectre of the shed looms...
The biggest good news for our yard is that the boysenberries are growing vigorously, the pomegranate survived my hacking at it over winter, and the fig is finally producing, keeping me from cursing it. It already has figs the size of my thumb. (Tom, I have great hopes for your figs, too!)
We've also put peas into the ground. Typically, this is getting close to being too late in the year, but I think we'll get a few in a couple of months.
One of the more labor-intensive activities was tying up my boysenberries. I'd neglected them over the winter, and they needed to be raised up off the ground, untangled, and some of the old vines removed. I'm no expert on pruning them, so I erred on the side of caution and kept all the vines coming up that were close enough to be tied onto the trellis.
Two years ago, I'd cut river reed from one of the nearby levees, drilled 5/8" holes into some redwood 2x4's, and trained them up. Over time, the river reed (Arundo donax, a local invasive) had deteriorated, and so I pulled out the old cross bars and considered replacing them with some hardwood 5/8" dowels from the local big box yard store. One trip and a price of $2.85 per dowel convinced me that a quick trip out to the levee to cut my own new river reed would add a nice touch of rustic charm to the back yard.
|Ah, the rustic charm that comes from being a tight-wad... a river-reed trellis.|
But my favorite "improvement" was the purchase of a straw bale for use as an archery target. You see, I've been meaning to start up again, but couldn't bring myself to grab my gear and make the five mile drive to the archery range for the three or four shots I'd be able to physically make before wearing out my atrophied muscles. Pretty pathetic, I know. But the target in my back yard, plus signing up for a certification class to teach archery, have lit a fire under me, and I've been shooting nearly every day for the past ten days. I'm even up to nine or ten shots a day.