Sunday, October 27, 2013

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

The house we rent here in Metairie faces east. The backyard can't be seen from the street. Because of the eccentricity of the layout, it can barely be seen from the house. You also can't reach it from the house, there is no back door, so to get there you have to go out the front or side door and slip around the side through the gate.

There are no trees, just a few bushes on the south fence line, so in the afternoon as the sun slides down the sky, it gets very warm back there. Very warm. Hot. No shade. On a 90-degree day, it problably gets close to a hundred back there. As the sun bakes the back wall, it radiates that heat into the house. The western rooms of the house, the living room and especially the kitchen, get noticeably warmer than the bedrooms in the front half of the house.

The result is, we hardly ever go back there.

The yard is "textured," one might say. It's a real ankle breaker, and there's a dip in the middle, a patch about six feet in diameter where I'm guessing there was a tree removed either by storm, age or someone who just didn't like trees. We've had a couple of rainstorms that filled up the divot to a depth of a foot or more, which soaked away or evaporated by the next day. Next to the dip is a mound about the same size in reverse, as if someone had dug a hole and slung the debris to one side. I can't imagine why, but it's possible.

Tori planted pumpkins there this spring. At first they took off – The vines extended diagonally from one corner of the lot to the other. The vines looked as if they were going to take over the yard, maybe the world. It developed about three dozen small green orbs about the size of softballs and we thought, "Great! We'll be selling pumpkins this Halloween." I looked up a few pumpkin recipes.

And then they stopped. In bunches, they just broke off their stems and rotted. We ended up with one pumpkin still growing in late August, and something found it and chowed down on it in September.

The point of all this is, we don't do much, if anything, with the backyard.

Saturday we deemed it time to go give it it's annual mowing. The weather has cooled, it was a beautiful day, mid 70s, and we went out in the mid-morning and were finished by 1 p.m. Tori and I took turns with the borrowed lawn mower and the weed whacker we'd found in the shed. The grass hadn't gotten too tall – probably the spread of pumpkin vines had kept it to ankle height in most places. But it was dense, and the uneven terrain made it a chore. We were both sore afterwards, and didn't have much energy left for anything else on Saturday.

But now the backyard is done, except for the mound, which was more densely grown over. I'm going to post this and get out there with the weed whacker for one last pass.

And then it should be done. The weather is cooling, and the lawn – such as it is – is ready to go dormant. If we're still renting here in the spring, we'll take another look at it. Maybe we'll even think of something we want to do back there. In the meantime, the backyard is out of sight, out of mind.

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