Don’t Throw Me in the Briar Patch!

I’m excited about my new project: cleaning up and managing the neighbor’s yard.  I know, sounds boring, but it’s what I do.  She couldn’t believe I was so willing; I couldn’t believe my good fortune!  It’s my ultimate challenge: taking an overgrown tangly chaos and transforming it into a botanical garden, using the natural raw materials that are already there.

Today I turned the overgrown jungle in the back of her yard into a park with trails through the trees.    Part of it I dedicated to her son as a memorial garden.  It seems he was really into gardening and perennials, so I cleaned up and restored what he had done, using the contents of his huge metal rotating composter to amend the soil.  There are hostas, beautiful blooming phlox, variegated lily-of-the-valley, black-eyed susans, blackberries, lilies, trumpet vines, and lots of other plants yet to be revealed.  There were bricks, tiled blocks, and railroad ties that I used to create paths and borders.

A neighborhood cat killed and beheaded a garter snake while I worked.  OK, that was weird.

There’s an ancient old gnarly apple tree in the yard that still provides apples, so I trimmed it up.

I’m also tackling the front, which is overgrown with ferns, hostas, sweet woodruff, invasive “weeds”,  and other interesting yet-to-be-discovered plants to be sorted out, underneath a gigantic Colorado spruce tree which the neighbor brought home as a tiny sapling from Colorado, aeons ago.

We’re hoping we can find some overgrown piece of land in TN, preferably with a stream or spring on it, that we can turn into the Secret Garden.  But meanwhile, we’re trying to make the best of our extended temporary layover in Ohio.

Inside, E was baking her exceptional Challah, somehow managing to outdo her last batch.  We sound so domestic!  I guess that’s what domestic partnership means.  She could really be a professional baker if she chose, added on to all the other practical skills she has.

Here are some work-in-progress shots:

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Here are the Uber-Challot:

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