Last May I was ecstatic to be in my backyard. After a winter of being cooped up in my little house with three pets and three dudes, I was ready to be outside! With the strength of a plow horse, I tilled the earth and planted seeds. With the energy of a sugared up child, I weeded, raked and watered. With the work ethic of an Amish farmer, I cleaned dead leaves out of the rocks, swept cobwebs from the house and trimmed branches from trees and shrubs.
I grew things. Yes, I live in Colorado. No, I did not grow that.
All summer, I warmed my skin in the Western sun while I watered, clipped, weeded and mulched. Then that warm sun turned to hot sun. Then hot turned to motherfargin' scorching. Then we had a week straight of temperatures in the 90's.
My grass died along with my enthusiasm. The dogs dug a giant hole in my front yard and shat all over the rest of it. My children graciously removed rocks from the garden beds and presented some to me as "gifts", while others they spread on the patio, on the picnic table, through the grass and into the playground mulch. Weeds sprouted up from the nutrient deficient soil and choked out once beautiful flowers and healthy grass. Our sprinkler system (me dragging hoses) was lacking consistency and enthusiasm. Flowers turned brown and went to seed while my attention turned to staying cool and drinking Sangrias. I found multiple dead things in my driveway, courtesy of Smelly Cat. The magic of spring was lost.
School is now in session and September is almost here. Helpful lists are springing up all around us in preparation for fall, so I decided to make one that is a little less Better Homes and Gardens and a little more It's Hot, Mom's Tired, and The Laundry Refuses to Wash Itself.
Corn Fed Girl's 14 Important Things to Do In Your Yard and Garden Before Fall
1. Harvest your garden treasures and spell your name with them. Put them onto a stained dishtowel that your husband used to clean his muddy bootprints from the floor and photograph them while your dogs, cat and child all lay on the living room rug and watch Brother Bear for the 345 millionth time.
2. Mumble under your breath about how the children refuse to pick up their toys and complain about the canine lawn destruction. This will make you feel better about the fact that you simply did not water the sad grass enough.
3. Feed the damn cat before he trips you. You don't want to break a hip. Never mind that you caught him eating a full sized rabbit this morning. He's hungry and needs his dry, limited ingredient food that cost $40 per bag and is formulated especially for pathetic people who have sensitive, high maintenance pets that chew the hair from their tails. He will thank you later by drooling on your arm, or better yet, your pillow.
4. Feel useful in the 95 degree heat by collecting seeds from your cosmos and marigolds. Sure, it is hot and you would rather be drinking that one PBR that always seems to be in the back of your fridge, but you will thank yourself next year when they are the only thing besides rouge sunflowers blooming in your yard in late August. Stash those puppies in a envelope, seal them up and label them. Then store them someplace dry and cool- like the filing cabinet or your husbands sock drawer.
5. Lament the fact that you never got that camper project completed. But it was fun planning! And there is always next year... now grab a wheelbarrow and scoop some more manure.
6. Admire the pumpkin patch from afar, because the snakes moved in a few weeks ago and there is no way you're walking through a snake patch wearing flip flops.
7. FORCE yourself to go into the pumpkin patch because you planted zucchini in there. Discover a previously unnoticed zucchini. Pick it and practice batting.
8. Apologize to the flowers that received too much sun and not enough water. Remind them, "It's not you, it's me." Tell them that you still love them, even if they are mostly brown and really quite ugly.
9. Check out your children's latest yardscaping. Pat yourself on the back for spawning such creative little people. Then yell at your husband for leaving his construction crap lying around.
10. Collect all of the veggies that are ready to eat and bring them inside, where they can be either eaten immediately or forgotten about in that dark corner of the fridge where halved lemons and hunks of cheese go to die.
11. Congratulate yourself on your twelve-year-old boy humor when you pick the cucumbers.
12. Find new veggies still growing and give them a little pep talk. Throw some water on there while you're at it.
13. Pull that weed that is taller than you already. It's time.
14. Go inside, open the fridge and stick your head in there to cool off. While your in there, dig out a beer and crack that bastard open. Enjoy. You worked hard today.
Follow these tips closely and you too can have an overgrown weed patch, just like me!
Peace, Love and Beer,