The kid didn’t show.
The 13-1/2-year-old boy whose father said he’d be glad to help with some shovel-and-wheelbarrow work is nowhere to be found — though he lives next door.
I don’t think Dad forgot to tell him about the potential gig; Dad’s a hyper-responsible mill supervisor and a very involved, but traditional father. He’s eager for his oldest boy to take responsibility.
As soon as I knew it would come to having to chase the kid down, I knew it wasn’t worth chasing him down. Maybe next year.
Now I have this large area, about 30 x 30, that needs building materials, furniture, and other crap removed from it and bricks and broken concrete dug out of part of it. After that, at least a rough leveling, black plastic cover, and a couple loads of the local basalt 3/4-minus gravel.
This is to keep the area outside my kitchen door from turning into the Dead Marshes this winter. But there’s a huge aesthetic triumph to it, too. Mere gravel it might be, but it’ll be clean and uncluttered. A place to put the porch swing. Eventually a great area for raised-bed planters. The result of five years work.
So anyhow, I now have to clear this myself.
The Wandering Monk is, as usual, superb at shovel work. He’s tireless and I swear I’ve never seen such smooth, level ground as he can create. But this is his high season and I don’t want to take him away from other commitments or overload him. Anyhow, hiring him would be overkill.
A girl can do this.
Barely. But I was out there tonight lifting concrete blocks and knocking the slugs, worms, and pillbugs off the bottom of old marine 4 x 12s that have been waiting for years to find their renewed purpose in life.
I may yet ask the Monk to come to the rescue when I reach the stuff that’s either too heavy for me to move or that I wouldn’t be good at. Meantime, it’s me.
This is all part of my Evil (as the Monk sees it) Plot to murder the lawn and replace it with more useful, lower-maintence spaces.
Grass and weeds used to grow smack up to the walls of the house. It has become my mission to push useless greenery back. Everywhere we work on the exterior, we create the grounds for gravel paths or patios to be.
All the lawn on the house side of the property, I plan to replace with wildflowers, bulbs, native forest plants, and so on. This is a very long term Evil Plan. And gardening isn’t my forte so it won’t be easy.
But I hate lawns. Whoever thought they were the thing to have?
Sure, a little 12 x 12-foot patch for sitting on on warm summer days is nice. If you’ve got a gardener or a park maintenance staff … lawn away to your heart’s content. But was anything ever more labor for less reward? Other than bragging rights — which, trust me, I’m not aiming for — what does all that lawn maintenance get you?
The only lawn I want is that patch of grass from Lexington Green that a friend sent. And it stays decently in a pot.
So I’m on a campaign, advance by advance, to slaughter the lawn. In the last month or so, I’ve gotten very aggressive with the Round-Up.
Now, I can’t afford to execute any of those grand return-to-nature plans this year. so I may be creating further seas of mud if I’m not careful. But I could not allow that wretched lawn to live.
Parts of it still survive, but I feel the vile little blades of grass trembling as I approach. The murdered areas, I’ll try at least to cover with black plastic with big rocks or bricks (more carrying!) to weigh it down.
Thing is, the Monk — who as I say, does everything well — also mows lawns. At least two days a week, he has to leave construction jobs to go mowing.
Which seems a little crazy, as skilled as he is. But lawns are what he prefers. He enjoys the nearly mindless walking back and forth because it gives him free rein to think.
He’s promised — without being asked — to stick with my house projects to the end. But after that, he says he’s done with construction except for very occasional weekend project for a few of his favorite clients (which he says includes Neighbor J and me).
Murdering a lawn to him is eeeeeevil.
I think he occasionally runs over a fern with his mower just to keep the changes from happening too quickly.