So when we moved into our house four years ago, the pine straw had to go. Quickly.
The alternative for us is brown mulch (wood chips, as Abby prefers to say). I like the look better, and think it does a superior job of keeping weeds from creeping through. It also doesn't require as much maintenance as the pine straw. Abby likes wood chips the way some kids like a sandbox. She comes home from her school playground every day with wood chip dust all in her scalp. I can only imagine this happens when she throws it up in the air and lets it rain down on her white-as-snow head. Have you ever tried scrubbing wood chip dust out of a blond head of hair? It's not easy.
The first time we mulched, Abby was a mere 6 months old. Ben was 3.5 and completely and totally pumped about having a big pile of wood chips to play in. How disappointed he was to find out that wasn't a permanent fixture in our yard.
Abby and Ben were mostly spectators, and while we parents worked our collective butts off, she and Ben played (under the supervision of a helpful Grammie). We took this picture, with me a nervous wreck, as Abby wasn't sitting on her own yet (the future would tell that she would master walking before unassisted sitting). It remains one of my favorites of her. Pure mischief...even at six months old.
A year later, we repeated the process. It was a far smaller job the second year, needing minor touch-ups here and there. We even got Abby to help.
The next springtime, when we ordinarily would have mulched, I looked like this (DANG):
So, we took the spring off.
In fact, we took the whole summer off from yard work too. We cut the grass, but that was kind of it. There was little time or motivation to go outside and work the fanny off with a newborn baby around to play with instead. (Any excuse to avoid going outside in Georgia summer is a good one.)
So after a hiatus from yard beautification, I went outside this spring to peruse our flowerbeds and almost had to avert my eyes. It made me sad. I was depressed and overwhelmed. I voiced this to my husband, who I think shared my sentiments. However, he is a man of action and fewer words than me, so his solution was to "do something about it".
You know what? I did.
A few weekends ago, Sam had called a few places about mulch, but they weren't able to deliver it in time for us to work on it. Time passed, playground projects materialized and then monopolized, and the mulch took a backseat.
Then Sam left for Oklahoma for a week on a business trip. (When you're smart and good at your job and all that stuff, they apparently send you places.) That's when I got wild and crazy. I decided to do it myself. I thought it would be a nice surprise for Sam to come home to a well manicured yard. Sure I had anxiety because of my all-or-nothing mentality (which I assure you I will blog about soon). If I couldn't get it finished before he got home, I might as well not start.
Last weekend, we de-grassed the bricks that line our flowerbeds. On Monday, after a trip to Lowes for a new wheelbarrow (which, by the way is no small task for one mom and three small children), I mowed the lawn and weeded the flowerbeds. On Tuesday, we got the mulch, waited for the rain storm to pass, and got to work! It's been tricky trying to coordinate the work around Sarah's sleep time. We tried to get some things done with her in the yard, but she's gotten pretty fast and has an affinity for heading downhill (towards the road), so that wasn't too productive. But we worked it out!
Our eight-year old neighbor (Ben's friend) has been an amazing little helper. He volunteered to spread the mulch around, surpassing my expectations. I didn't even have to sacrifice any plants to careless feet. The best part was his wage; he worked for a popsicle. I love child labor. Wait. Am I allowed to say that?
It isn't finished, but it's dang near close enough. So, Sam, if you're reading, it's done (or will be before you arrive tomorrow). One less thing for both of us to think about! Love you! (Now come home so I can take a nap!)
Happy Friday, y'all!