Putting the Labor in Labor Day

The stay-at-home-mom job involves a lot of waiting and killing time. Sitting with a sick kid who can’t quite stay asleep, like I am right now. Waiting in doctor’s offices. Waiting for baby girl to wake up from her nap. Pushing kids on swings, waiting for them to get tired of it. It allows for plenty of daydreaming, mini-naps, and Facebooking on my phone. But, as I’m sure I’ve bitched before, I can’t throw myself headlong into big projects that take a lot of physical work and higher brain functions.

So when a holiday weekend rolls around, while most people are relaxing, I am taking the chance to do stuff. Friday, Saturday and Sunday (today), I was out in the yard doing some hard-core gardening. Down and dirty, all day long on Friday and much of the past two mornings. Out of nowhere I decided I couldn’t take the way the garden area in front of the front porch looked (all weeds), so I ripped up the black mat that was supposed to be keeping the weeds out (which we installed a couple years ago), weeded whatever weeds didn’t come out with the mat, and planted some mums and two bushes called “beauty bush.” I think. Or maybe “beauty berry.” They have pretty purple berries. I also have a hydrangea in there that I bought for cheap at Produce Junction a while back. (I had never gotten around to planting it, and was pretty sure it was dead, but then one day it had all these green leaves, so I popped it in there.) In the process I extracted this giant hunk of concrete:

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Then I mulched it. It’s mostly done, except I need my husband to get the concrete block to the curb, and I might move one of the bushes away from the wall a little. I also dug out one of the beds in the backyard garden because I’m thinking about doing some fall vegetables. I might do some lettuce in that bed, and some carrots in containers.

I was a sweaty, nasty, dirt-encrusted mess, and it felt great. Weeding, especially, is so gratifying. I let the kids play with the hose — their new favorite thing is to see how far down the block they can make a flood of water go. They were as engrossed in that as I was in the dirt. Friday was a particularly great day. The weather was fall-like — the weekend was much more humid.

I also spent some time reading my all-about-gardening book, and I found some helpful websites with calendars specific to my zone. I took a long hard look at my backyard garden and admitted a painful truth, which has been in the back of my mind since we first carved it out: it doesn’t get enough sun for the full-sun veggies. We might be better off having some beds in the middle of the yard.

So there’s a lot of work to be done, and I am up for it! Hopefully I won’t have to wait til Columbus Day Weekend to get it done.

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On a frugal note, I borrowed a spade from my dad when I couldn’t find ours. I did spend money on mulch, plants, and containers, at the local hardware store, ShopRite, and the farmer’s market. I have seeds for the carrots and lettuce already.

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