Worn out after 2 days of intense outside work. House looks a little less like an abandoned property at last…

Two days of intense work outside. My dogs were out with me a good chunk of the time and now they’re snoring away on their chairs. I’m an inch away from doing the same.

I finally got my knee in good enough shape (not feeling like it wanted to twist and stab on me) that I could move heavy bags of rocks, gravel, and cement out of the way in my garage. My mower’s been partially propped up so I could replace the mower blades at last. I just wasn’t sure the right way to do it at first. YouTube vids weren’t all that helpful, but when I took a closer look underneath (it had been months since I removed ’em for sharpening), I figured out the order for putting it together and saw the imprint for the big washer on one side vs. the split washer on the other. That made it easy, and 5 minutes later, I was removing the prop stands and getting ready to mow.

I need to find a manual for that mower, because I’m sure there’s other maintenance that’s due soon. If I can’t find the paper copy (which i always prefer), then I’m sure there’s an online PDF or something. I just get the model numbers mixed up a lot and need to figure it out.

I felt pretty good about myself, putting those blades on. I gave it a test run in the front yard as it was cooling off and the mower works just fine. That made me feel better about today.

I spent the morning getting stuff out of the way and mowing the yard. I forgot how good it can look (and how easy to see the trees I planted) when I don’t have all that ragged grass and weeds all over. More than that was the sight and smell as I went around. When I was walking out in the cool morning, picking up limbs and debris where I could find ’em, I was hit with a mix of wild onion and honeysuckle smells. Plenty of honeysuckle vines were growing up around a few trees and I’ll be darned if I deliberately cut them down. So there was that.

One of my favorite things, which I hadn’t seen much of lately, are the white storks. Whenever we mow out here, they come swooping down to get the grasshoppers exposed by the mowed down grass. I guess they were waiting for me to mow my yard because not 5 minutes after I started, I had my first few customers. I mean, I’d see one or two around when my neighbors mowed last week, but this morning there were over half a dozen. I’d make a pass and they’d fly a short distance away, let me pass, and then go back. Eventually, when they realize I’m not gonna try to run them over, they just hop a few extra feet away to get clear of flying debris and go right back to hunting.

Those guys trip me up. I think they’re pretty and just neat.


So that made the morning very pleasant, I have to say. And then I put the mower up and spent some time with the dogs and checking e-mails.

But this afternoon I found something I hadn’t realized: my retriever mix HATES my weed eater, and he could’ve got bad hurt if I hadn’t seen what he was doing.

I noticed him barking his head off at it (I guess it was the noise) and when I finished weed eating around the mailbox and trees in the front, I turned it off and carried it back to where my water was (and him). He kept going forward and shoving his nose at it and moving back, like he was picking a fight. It startled me when he actually latched onto the guide edge that protrudes in the front for a few seconds and I shouted his name. I’m glad my hand was away from the “on” trigger, because his face would’ve been bad tore up if that ugly line started whapping him.

I never thought that could happen, and had to make a mental note to have him at the complete opposite end of the property, all tethered like usual, before I went to clean up an area. I shudder to think what could’ve happened.

But he was pretty chill after that (and my checking on him that he didn’t snag on something sharp with his mouth), and just hung out. I took a look at what had been done and just couldn’t believe this was my yard. I hadn’t seen it look this good in a long time. I was just bummed that my two holly trees had died. But I’d found some “pink lemonade” lemon trees and figured those could replace the holly ones, so I spent some time digging the hole and planting the new ones in. I considered the papaya trees I’d gotten going there, but figured the off-color of the pink lemonade lemons meant that a bunch of neighborhood kids wouldn’t be picking them all to steal them.

Well, not to eat them. Wouldn’t put it past them to throw ’em in fights, the buggers.

I’ve got oodles of ideas for the rest of the week, and am just glad my house looks so much nicer on the outside. I was concerned it looked so junky just because of the yard and the holes in it (thanks to ruts that never quite filled in when they moved my new mobile home in). What slows me down, and is the bane of my existence, is having to water new plants.

I had the same hoses forever, and now I’m getting rid of them. They’re shorter, basic garden hoses, but the connections leak like crazy. I tried to use one of those watering wands at the end and it let out some water, but then nothing. It wasn’t clogged, but when I moved the hose where the two short hoses met in the middle, there was so much water coming out of there it wasn’t making it to the end! So, I disconnected that line and moved on to the one I always used before, but hated because I couldn’t remove the sprayer. I couldn’t disconnect any of the hoses from each other, so this other pair had the problem at the spigot. I saw a big gouge in the threading that was letting lots of water out there, and I just had it. I had always planned to get a flat hose or two anyway, and this was good motivation… especially since the price dropped. I wish dad hadn’t let those hoses rust together at the connection joints, because now they’re useless because all the teflon tape in the world won’t do a thing, or duct tape for very long.

Yeah, yeah. Not gonna buy Flex Tape, dammit. Time for easier to clean and control hoses, anyway. Though I’ll watch this for the hell of it… again.

And as those new hoses come in the mail, I’ll just deal with time honored gallon watering cans and my rainbarrels (because one’s tipping over and I need to empty it this week in order to re-level the spot and raise it up).

It’s starting to feel like working a ranch: the work outside is never done.

But I’m not bored at all. Just need to get my writing work schedule back, and that plan begins tomorrow.

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