Home Maintenance, Spring Gardening, and the Story of How I Spent Way Too Much Money at Home Depot Yesterday

So yes, it is well and truly spring here in Philadelphia. The crocuses in my backyard made a half-hearted attempt at blooming (I don’t get much sun back there, so I’m not surprised by this), and the tulips are poking up, even though I don’t think they’ll bloom.

And with spring come thoughts of making my living space more … well, livable. Thus it was that Amy and I decided to play together in our yards this weekend. We started off yesterday morning by filling up 8 huge buckets full of compost from the incredibly large composter in my backyard and putting them into the trunk of my Civic. Then we dismantled the composter, cleaned it off, and threw that into the back seat. I dug out my backyard plans (thanks to my mom and her gardener, who drew them up for me gratis!) and we hit the open road to the ‘burbs and Amy’s house.

Upon arriving, her neighbor across the street – a delightful woman who is a true caricature of the overbearing Italian-American by way of South Philly by way of Sicily woman – came over and insisted that Amy really wanted the peach tree that, “blocks the view of my beautiful house.” Now, Amy’s been wanting a tree for her backyard for some time, and we’ve talked about it a lot. But she’d been leaning towards a dogwood of some sort, and not a fruit tree at all. But the peach tree was pretty, and about as tall as it was going to get, so we foolishly decided to give it a shot. Yup, we (with 2 shovels) were going to dig up a peach tree that was growing right next to a sewer line, drag it about 50 yards uphill and transplant it in Amy’s backyard.

I successfully dug the new hole for the tree. And Amy started in on the peach tree. And then we looked at each other and said, “This is a dumb idea, right?” About that time, neighbor up the hill drove past, and confirmed our hunch. So we asked the neighbor really what she wanted done. And she said, “Get rid of the tree! I don’t want the thing in front of my house. Why don’t you just dig it out and put it in your yard?” We explained a few times about root balls and tap roots and the sheer magnitude of the job in front of us, and finally she agreed that cutting the thing down might be the best idea. So we took the whole thing down – root ball and all. She fed us well, with great cheese/tomato/turkey/Italian sausage sandwiches. But still. It was hard work.

At that point, we realized that there was still a big old hole in Amy’s backyard, and it needed to be filled. So we trundled off to Home Depot with credit cards, a gift card from Christmas, and ideas in tow. I got a new bathroom sink (simple white and round) and faucet (properly mod), and a new kitchen faucet. And I found a DECK SCRUBBER. Who knew these things even existed? My main complaint about my backyard (other than the fact that the fence is rotting, nothing grows, and it’s always shady) is that when you look away for 10 minutes, algae starts growing on the bricks. Deck scrubber to the rescue! That thing helped me make short work of the algae today…

Anyhow, that’s what I got. Amy ended up with a white dogwood – which is already planted – 2 holly bushes, and some pretty little blue annuals. She also got a ton of bird seed (figuratively, not literally). We managed to get a dogwood, 2 holly bushes, a bathroom sink, 80 pounds of bird seed, two faucets, a flat of flowers, a 4-foot-long deck scrubber, and various other odds and ends into a Honda Civic with no cursing or anger. We’re good.

So it’s been that sort of weekend. Lots of work, good fun, and the exhaustion (and weird dreams) that come from doing such different physical labor. I’m off now to call the plumber, schedule a re-roofing, and redo the plans for my backyard. Just the sort of Sunday afternoon I enjoy.

6 thoughts to “Home Maintenance, Spring Gardening, and the Story of How I Spent Way Too Much Money at Home Depot Yesterday”

  1. aren’t spring weekends great like that? paul and i did a bunch around here too and i’m sitting here now feeling so good about ourselves (and craving strawberry ice cream too!).

    regarding your algae problem — do you think one of those 3 month weed killing type products might help curb the growth?

  2. Very industrious! In theory I think I would love a yard and plants and trees, in reality, I think I am just too lazy…
    Glad you had a great and productive weekend with your lady!


  3. What were you thinking?? No way in hell the two of you could have dug that tree out even if you dug for a week. E’gads I thought I raised you better then that (just kidding). A deck scrubber huh? Like you said, who knew? Hope your back isn’t too sore today. Love you,

  4. how the f*ck did you fit all of that into a CIVIC???? my GOD, i bow down before your superior car-packing skills (and this from someone that once packed a Mazda MX-3 for a week’s CAMPING trip in Cape Hatteras–I STILL kick myself for not taking a picture of just how I fit tent, coolers, sleeping gear, surfing gear, and etc into that TINY TINY hatchback….).

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