Friday, January 25, 2013

Making Space

At Unseemly Manor, it seems that the focus has been on making space.  We've made space for ourselves and our belongings in the house, we've made space in our hearts for the two cats that came with the place, we've worked to make space in our schedule for fun and silly time together, and we're working hard to make space on our mountainside for a garden.  It is no picnic.

The wildness has grown up and encroached on the house to the point that areas that were apparently once well-loved and well-kept gardens are completely unrecognizable.  We spent one day just picking up all manner of trash that was dumped around the yard, including glass bottles, cans, bits of plastic, bags of stuff, bottles of motor oil, and whatever other kind of flotsam you can imagine.  There is also a mound of used kitty litter *gag* that has been dumped in a huge heap that is going to have to be shoveled away, but that will have to wait until it's warmer because right now, it is frozen.

Our next work was to clear off a huge brush pile that turned out to be a multi-tiered retaining wall garden.  This is a little peninsula of land that juts out between the front yard and the parking area, and was covered in brush, bracken, thorns, and young trees.  It looked like a prime area for rattlesnakes to hang out, so it had to be cleared.  I am all about wildness, but we really want to make sure that the area around the house is safe for the girls to play.

You can see Preston standing in the corner to get an idea of scale.

On the left are the fence panels we're putting into the play area to keeps the kids from rolling down the mountain.

 Using hedge clippers, loppers, a hand saw, and a lot of pulling, grunting, and sweating, we managed to slowly clear the space out.

Being sure to take plenty of snuggle breaks.
Don't let Preston fool you...I did a lot of the grunt work, too.  I just took the pictures. 

Buried under the mess, there are lots of flowers coming up!
 The whole thing is actually set up in several levels, each held up with river rocks.  I'm sure at one point it was very pretty.  I can't wait to see what the flowers are once they bloom.  But right now, the whole patch kind of looks like a scraggly, scruffy beard that needs a good shave.  We're going to have to buy a weed eater to go over it.  However, that said, we took a couple truckloads at least of briars and branches and tangled vines off of that little area.  Now we have a space that doesn't look like a vacation home for snakes or a scene from a Tim Burton film when you pass by it at night to get to your car!
The crew relaxing, enjoying a new spot to play.