I did a ton of laundry while he was awake, including some of the curtains. As soon as I put him down for his nap I raced out into the back yard. In his 2 hour nap, my father in law, Rick, and I got a ton of stuff done.
First we hung the gutter that I made for the rain barrel. We bought a rain barrel and we planned to use it on the piece of roof that previously had no gutter. I made my own gutter and it was a learning experience, which mostly means I made a lot of mistakes and I don't really want to spend the money or energy to fix them. So, crappy workmanship it is.
It still isn't quite finished either. My in laws left this morning, and we had to buy some bends and straight pieces of downspout at Lowe's today. It's kind of a pain in the butt because it is dark after Calvin goes to sleep, and I need David to hold the ladder for me, so that leaves weekend naptimes. Well, guess who seems to have a lot of commitments every weekend during his naptimes? David. Today, it's raining, so we couldn't get very much done before we were soaked and freezing. The downspout pieces are assembled, but we have to attach them to the gutter and to the wall with a metal strap.
As with many projects I have taken on myself, I am feeling very strongly that maybe we should have just called someone to come and install a gutter and divert it into the rain barrel. But I am like $75 bucks in at this point, plus I can't return all the pieces I mangled, so I feel like I have to see it through. I hate it when that happens.
Anyways, Rick and I got a lot done. We sprayed herbicide on all the green weeds in the flowerbeds. Then, Rick turned the soil and did some tilling in the beds.
One of the previous owners, I think the woman who lost the house in foreclosure. Our seller bought it from her and flipped it. Anyways, someone created flower beds and edged them in brick. There was nothing in them when we moved in, and we did not maintain them so they became weed and grass infested. The bricks that edge them are sunk pretty low in the dirt, but there isn't really much I can do with that.
I spread pre-emergent weed killer on the grass in the front and back and Preen on the flowerbeds. Earlier in the week, in painfully chunks of time, I cut the loriape back in the front yard. Yesterday during the nap I was able to put all the loriape pieces into the wheel barrow and then into the compost. Why did I have to cut the loriape in painfully small pieces of time? Because it is either cold or dark or both when I am free. When Calvin is awake, until 6:30 pm every night, it is all hands on deck. Either I am cooking dinner, or David is cooking dinner and the other person is on Calvin duty. So, until 6:30, no one is free. At 6:30 it is cold and dark. So, I would run outside and cut down as much loriape as I could stand. This was made worse by the fact that we don't have big hedge clippers. I just have these little edging clippers that are glorified scissors. Why don't I use the big electric hedge trimmers that we own, you ask? Well, we don't have an outlet in the front, so I either have to run the giant extension cord to it from the back or through the front door or window. Why not just do that? If Calvin is awake, he will pull on the cord or escape out the front door. If he is asleep, it is dark, and I don't feel that safe using power tools in the dark. Also, I don't want to wake him up since the loriape are right outside his room.
Do you see the Greek-style punishment hell I am operating in these days? I am eating an elephant with a spoon. In the cold and the dark.
Okay, back to the yard. Last year we had two working beds. This semi-circular one at the edge of the patio (that is in the middle of the lawn):
Our second bed last year was a rectangular cedar raised bed that we bought from The Green Wagon, made by Landscape Solutions. We bought a square raised bed at the same time, but didn't assemble it last year. Rick and I put it together yesterday.
I cut some weed-barrier cloth to fit:
Stapled it to the bottom:
Flipped it over:
And placed it by the rectangular bed:
You can't see it from this picture, but Rick tilled up some of the flower bed that the raised beds are sitting in. We are going to plant flowers in front of the raised beds and put down a mulch path around the bed.