i am still not sure sure how this whole thing happened. jesse's mom told us about a big catholic church event where lots of youth teams were descending upon our neck of the woods in search of work projects. i am not sure if they were doing them for anyone in need, or for the families of folk in ministry or what, but jesse made a call and a few hours later we had a team headed our way for 2 days.
so we didn't really have a glaringly obvious project we needed help on, but jesse had just mentioned how much a fence would help our back yard so much.
considering we live inside the city limits of our town, we have a lot of land. not like "the hills are alive" amounts of land, but also way more than "jenny from the block" who probably just had her stoop (and her hip hop flava). i think jesse informed me that we have just under 2 acres. that means approximately nothing to me. what is the conversion rate between an acre, a peck and a schrute buck? answer: fiction.
but what it does mean is that there is WAY too much for me and my man to make look good. we are horrible landscapers. we just dont care. jesse's dad is passionate about beautifying their land himself, and my parents live in the headmaster's residence at my old school, and the groundskeepers (hagrid, et al) for the school also tended to our yard so neither jesse or i was ever apprenticed in tending the soil. we are not blaming our parents. let me restate: we just dont care.
we cant make grass grow, our lawnmower breaks every 30 seconds (we once got a citation in our redneck town that our weeds were too high. our neighbors have toilets in their front yard, but our grass was the true eyesore), and if the price of brazen, unpulled weeds (note the S on that word) ever rises, we will be set for life.
part of me thinks it's because who gives a crap spatula what your lawn looks like when there is so much effed up in the world? it's like superficiality that's not even related to your own appearance, which you at least walk around with all the time. seems like pouring money and effort into your house's facial hair. so our 3 bedroom ranch's goatee is a little scraggly? cry me a river.
so i get on my high horse and let the georgia red clay, crab grass and dandelions have a florgy (see what i did there?) in the name of jesus, but really it's probably because i am ignorant and lazy and don't have yard-critique-o-vision…which i totally would if mine looked halfway decent. i've found it's a good practice to only judge others on the things that you have together yourself, that way you're always the best. if something in your life is a mess, then just be all, "oh no, i don't even see cellulite on women. god created each and everyone of us beautifully," that way anyone who points out my curds and whey will at least feel like a jerk because i am so un-judgy. but if it's something like pouring the exact right amount of milk for a bowl of cereal or something else that you do just right? then judge and rank the world!
has this post taken a turn?
so we have a chain link fence around a great portion of our land. but that's where the wildebeests known as our dogs live, and it's detached from the back of our house (thank god or the hellhounds would have gnawed off all of our siding by now). rather than go to war with the dogs over this land, we have ceded it to them in exchange for not having to play with them or touch them daily (this would have made me cry once upon a time but i have real human pets, known as my children now, so the animal activist in me is gone). so that land is wild and forest-y because they prefer it that way. we save money by not having to import ticks to put on them by just having tons of wild brush back there.
view from the driveway. you can see our red and our black dog lounging back there (chopper and clifford) in their domain. the fence and their area extend about 30 yards back.
the extent of our backyard grooming: a patio set, a buzz lightyear tent, and a failed vegetable garden that is now a frog sanctuary.
this still leaves a great bit of backyard land. we have trees that continually dump leaves all over the place (havent' figured out how to make them stop) which we of course don't rake. and these same trees provide so much shade that not a lot will grow back there (can't be sure though since we haven't really tried).
oh my gosh this is the most boring post in the world. i am monologue-ing like whoa. that concludes the unabridged history of our backyard. i will become a stripper next week so you have something way more interesting to read.
back to the point. the main problem is that if we let judah outside to play, he is not contained. i would put him back there with the dogs, but i think i would have to leave him out there permanently because he'd be so smelly and dirty. he can run around the front of the house and into the road unless we are right there with him, and i really dont love outside or the idea of helicopter parenting his fun outdoor play.
so jesse dreamed up a pretty wooden fence extending off the back sides of our house to meet up with the chainlink doggy fence. but of course we wrote it off as "dream list" material because we can't afford to have that kind of work done right now. this was like 20 hours before he heard about the work teams coming to town. "ok god, we'll build you a fence! it will be 4 cubits long and we will fill it every species of our household: dogs, cats, babies, and parental dukes, 2 by 2."
i got way overwhelmed at the store the first time when we were trying to just swing by and pick the materials up the first time. we had a post-vaccination layla in tow, and just our tiny cars and a general plan/list. i got overwhelmed STAT when i realized that free labor doesn't mean that a lot of planning and muscle will still be required to get the supplies. also i was very hungry. so i quit and went home.
jesse persevered and came back 3.5 hours later with nothing in hand after realizing it wouldn't come close to fitting in our cars so he left it at will call. that was a sad homecoming. we drew up a more detailed plan, priced it out to be sure we weren't overpaying, borrowed a good friend's truck and trailer and sent our neighbor along with jesse to assist. we would need every inch of truck, trailer, neighbor, and all 12 months of no-interest financing to pull it off.
all i had to help with was unloading the trailer and i still managed to crush my finger, cry, sweat and complain. freaking princess. but all of this was still 100% worth it because of the amazing blessing of having this awesome team do the work with us. and in typical keight fashion, it was way more involved of a process than i was predicting. SO glad i have a diligent husband who cares about doing the details right rather than just doing it quick like i would.
here are a million pictures to commemorate the process.
our across the street neighbors yard. they actually take great care of their lawn, but that toilet has been there a LONG time. and the other arrow points to our crappy mailbox that got smashed by some truants and we reattached with tape. it meets the ground on a rusty metal pole embedded in a huge ant pile and sits next to an AJC mailbox that we have never once used.
seriously. would you be friends with the people who owned this mailbox? or would you be a little scared that they would give you moonshine, tie you up with a hose, and then steal your teeth if you came over?
oh my gosh ten million times better. we'll get so many more molars now that we aren't scaring away 90% of our prospective victims.
can we talk about if i had been in charge of painting 214 pickets white on all 4 sides and in the top curvy parts?
these huge posts had to be cemented in holes dug over a foot deep and wide and placed just right to keep aligned. i had no idea. this was smart, heavy duty, man-work (was that sexist?) and jesse and the dudes worked so hard to get it just right.
more posts going in on day 1. the made the turn at the corner. almost done with the first side of the house.
look at the battle wounds the girls bore from painting hundreds of pickets!
perfectly aligned. using string! and brains! makes me want to curl up in a ball and suck my thumb thinking about the meticulousness that went into this.
they got all the posts inserted (except for 3 or 4 which my hero husband finished on his own that night) and left them overnight for the cement to fully harden.
that gap is where the gate is going to go and we are going to move the bushes somewhere else (and most likely kill them in transit).
this little sub-team was the bomb-dilzzly. they would perfectly measure all the cuts that jesse need to make with the saw and go before him and prep the brackets and do all sorts of initiative-taking things that i dont even understand.
smile! we (i) may not play with them or give them heartworm pills anymore (please dont leave hateful comments. we love our dogs, but are poor and love our kids more), but we do give them doggie crest white strips for a shining grin.
getting ready to fire up the saw. hello toolbelt! i had never seen jesse be all handy and power-toolsy like this. it was...mmm, enriching for me.
this was the 3rd time i had taken judah out to visit the site. the first time he ruined his white shorts with red dirt. the second time he ruined his blue shirt with white paint. so we went redneck-casual on the 3rd venture. mama aint no fool (the 3rd time around at least)
something about the new boundaries really got him excited. so he sprinted all around the new play area for a good 15 minutes. back and forth as fast (and serious) as possible.
these kids were out of their minds unbelievable. i cannot believe these are high schoolers. they did such a great job working hard, not letting the heat beat them down and having great attitudes.
THANK YOU to our amazing team from mississippi! if we didnt already love jesus, your servant hearts and joyful faces would have told us a lot about who he is and how he loves us. we COULD NOT have done this without you.
our wild 2 year old will now be safely contained within our picturesque fence and not roaming the streets lord of the flies style. you have given us a well-contained, highly manageable little backyard that we WILL make pretty so it can live up to the gorgeous boundaries.
i sort of get it now about land-beautification. i am so proud of this gift we received that i want the contents to live up to the hard work that went into it! we have dreamed of flower beds, and herb garden, a swing set, a hammock, an arbor and maybe even some sod. all pending amazing deals, of course.
i feel like we have tamed the wild! i may one day enjoy being outside of an HVAC controlled environment. i am really excited to see our "home" extend beyond the walls of the house and this may have been just the jumpstart to make that happen. onward!