Tag Archives: landscaping

Form follows function

“Ugliness is in a way superior to beauty because it lasts.”

~ Serge Gainsbourg

As with all things, the steps along side our house have been in a state of decline for a while. I maintain the previous homeowner did a fantastic job on our home’s landscaping, but nothing lasts forever, and so it is with the railroad timber steps.

Here’s the backstory: Our house is the only house on the block with a walk-out basement. In order to have such an amenity, the elevation of the yard in the front of the house is one story higher than the yard in back. This means, one’s side yards are steep hills. Our side yards used to look like this:

For many years, these steps were as functional as they were attractive, but as you can see, the steps began disintegrating in the past year or two.

My Beloved recoiled at the quotes he received for having the steps replaced by pros so he decided to do it himself. Or, at least, he decided to put himself in charge.

With the help of a strong-backed young relative and a couple of his friends, our side yards have been transformed over the past couple of weeks. [To be perfectly clear, I am neither the gardener nor the landscaper nor the carpenter nor the manual labor when it comes to all things yard. I am only the lawnmower, and I refuse to whack weeds so I’ve been replaced by an eager-to-earn neighbor boy who also contributed to the steps project by planting seedlings and soon, painting.]

Here’s how our side yards look now:

The steps on the north side will be stained but you can see now exactly which steps were replaced. Infinitely better structure! As you can see, terraces have replaced the steps on the south side. My Beloved intends to install walking steps as some point.

My back hurts just looking at it, but it wouldn’t be so satisfying to admire if it wasn’t because of hard work.

“Life is too complicated not to be orderly.”

~ Martha Stewart

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Art or kitsch?

shoe 1

I discovered this sculpture while walking my dog yesterday. Let’s call it Das Boot, even though it is neither a boat or a large glass boot from which one drinks beer. It is a boot. Made of wood.

shoe 2

This is no clog! The artist, whom I could not identify, even drilled holes for the shoelaces. This is quite true to life: Boots have laces.

A little bit of green stuff was growing on this boot, proving it to be a still life (“a rolling stone gathers no moss”).

Do you consider chain saw sculpture to be art or craft?

I’m going with art.

Thinking pink for the berry patch

Pink blueberries are the hot trend in gardening, according to my mother’s garden club.

Bear in mind that woodchucks walking down main street of the town where I grew up also make the club’s meeting minutes but in any case, a quick Google search reveals dozens of entries for a variety called Pink Lemonade Blueberries.

There’s a lot going on in that name: “lemon,” “berries,” “pink” and “blue.” Why not simply pinkberries?

My Beloved cleared some space in the brush outside our back fence yesterday  with a goal of making space for berry plants of some sort. Sorry about the smoke, neighbors. The smouldering bonfire of twigs and leaves added even more confusion the seasonal schizophrenia around here.

Tyler is thinking of planting raspberries, not pink blueberries, which might be a nice complement to the mulberries already growing back there. I’m not casting a vote, but blueberries in any shade wouldn’t be my first choice.

And without all the brush, we shouldn’t have to worry about woodchucks either.