My birthday is next Saturday. It's such a special day to me, because it is not only my birthday, but a sign that Spring has kept its promise.
Daffodils and hyacinths are pushing their way up through the mud in our yard this week. I was beyond delighted to see this. I gasped. I sighed. I smiled. I showed the kids and Ian. I took pictures of little green shoots with my cellphone. And then I busted out the rake and cleaned out a few flower beds.
Our yard is a mess. It needs repair. I'm more than willing to help it out. I love getting dirty in the yard and encouraging things to grow. But I'm starting to feel a little like Sisyphus when it comes this yard of ours. This yard...that I share...
with Pee Pee Joey.
Pee Pee Joey (a/k/a Lopez, a/k/a Fruit Bat, a/k/a "NO!") joined our family in July, after living with Ian's brother for close to a year. She was always Ian's dog, but since his other dog Sparkplug (a misnomer if ever there was one) and my dog Cee Cee got along so well without Lopez as part of the equation, we waited to bring her into the mix. We wanted the other two dogs to be firmly established in the house, with the kids, before bringing in little miss alpha bossy-boots with the weak urethra and perpetually full bladder.
But before Lopez moved in, and after our wedding last March, I got to work on our yard. Raking and seeding and raking and seeding and... you get the idea. I was determined to grow grass. And did I ever!!! The yard looked great. Even with two active boys, their friends, and our two dogs at the time, the yard remained in pretty good shape, all things considered.
It was truly a labor of love. I spent most of my free time--and a fair amount of money--last spring and summer making our yard the best it can be, given what we inherited from the previous owners. It's not a totally level yard, and we have some swampy woods behind us where a little stream once ran (until the city filled in many, many years ago). Those two factors, plus the tall tulip trees toward the back fence, mean a simple fact: grass does not grow easily in about one-third of the yard.
I also planted tons of perennials from April through September, and I'm looking forward to seeing what comes back. Theoretically, I should have blooms scattered throughout the front and back gardens throughout Spring, Summer and Fall. That is, if everything made it through the winter okay. I have faith that it did.
But as for the grass, part of me is ready to install a lawn of astro-turf and call it a day. It is an uphill battle with Lopez at the center of it. Literally. She is a professional pisser of amazing proportions, and she has shown that lawn who is boss. I cannot believe that the other two dogs combined have done almost none of the damage that this one dog has done to our lawn. To make things worse, Lopez is a hard runner. She's hard on everything, actually. And considering the fragility of the new lawn, it stood no chance against her and her beloved tennis ball. Not only is the back third of the yard wrecked again, but the rest of the grass has been ripped up and burned out, too.
So now we must begin again. After raking yesterday, I found more things growing in every corner of the yard. Green buds are on the Montauk daisy. New hosta are poking up like little green porcupines sleeping in the dirt. Ian and I plan to rake out all the leaves that blew into our yard throughout the winter, scatter the first of many bags of seed, say a prayer and see what happens. Ultimately, I'm really just looking forward to a day in the sun with temps forecast to be around 50, churning up the leaves and smelling the moist earth. No doubt we'll toss the ball at least a little bit with Lopez, too.