Summer’s blooming, and the sewer is flowing….

Hey!  That’s important stuff.

A little  less than a month ago we had a disruption to civilized life late one Sunday night.  The upshot of all the excitement was a blocked (with tree roots) sewer line and that necessitated 84 feet of dig up.

4’x4’x84′.  Quite a moat.  Red Georgia Clay that doesn’t quit and makes a mockery of all the cleaning attempts possible.  For almost three weeks.

On top of that The Husband decided to do a remodel of many parts of the house: his idea of vacation.  Which was fine but it involved drywall, drywall mud, sanding, painting and a lot of shake shingles on the back of the house.  Plus that pink fluffy insulation and walls that hadn’t been removed since 1880’s.  I think I mentioned spiders…lots of BIG spiders.

Summer has arrived in the South, and the spiders are everywhere…especially indoors.  I don’t mind them at all, those lovely black and yellow Garden Spiders, who weave large webs but between rose bushes as  God intended.  It’s the spiders that creep out of the unfinished drywall above my bed and watch me, looking like “Kilroy”….the head and hands appearing over the wall.  Waiting for me to fall asleep and then they suck whatever they suck from me.

Juice, I presume.

Well, we went on a marathon of work on the inners of the house, and then in the middle of 90+ heat, the 30 foot outside wall in the back…which has a lot of windows, but still called for a lot of shakes or shingles, whatever they are.  But The Husband is cutting them as they go up, and damn if the primer isn’t the exact color of our finish paint.  Husband says, “No, you are going to get up on that scaffolding and PAINT, but I am as afraid of heights as I am of spiders, so I am dragging my feet here.

He has been merciful and I have turned my efforts to the garden.  It’s a sad lot because this was a garden of 20 years maturity, and 20 inches of composted soil, with mature blueberries, blackberries, grapes, roses (for hips) lavender, and the usual spring/summer/autumn plantings.

This year…hits the sewer disruption, leaving that moat. My tomato plants which were already in the earth and doing fine, had to be pulled up, along with the blueberry/blackberry plants, lavender, ginger, rose bushes, etc….and we only were able to salvage the berry plants.  The lavender died, along with everything else except the roses.

I’m attempting to post two pix.  Right before they closed the moat…and two weeks later to the day.  We also lost our driveway, and in the digging and pouring concrete for the nice new one?  I lost another 20 feet of garden space.  BUT! I have nice pad for garden furniture and for the last two nights we have had dinner out there.  Us and the flies, which are biting right now.

We worked hard, my son and I….rototilling red clay, hauling off old cement left over from what they didn’t clean up, and sifting wheelbarrels of compost that we make in the back of the property.  We replanted the concrete block walls, to be replaced with something else later, but we don’t know just what yet,  filling the three parterres with fresh soil, and then….planting a least a few tomatoes, eggplants, watermellon, crookneck squash, lavender, ginger, etc.

Oh! A blessing this year!  Our 5 year old grape vine is ‘heavy’ with clusters of grapes….little clusters that look like grapes and we have never had any such thing before, and we are now trying to learn something about grape cultivation.  We are removing the top leaves for the sun to get to the clusters.  Other than that, we know nuthin’.

I know that it’s not good to get sunburned, but hell, it’s about impossible to do sunscreen and mosquito repellent on the same surface, and the amount of sweat seems to negate anything, but I will be as brown as a berry if I keep this up much longer.  Or red as a fire poker.

It’s good to have water/sewer system back, it’s good to have a new paint on some of the walls, it’s good to have baseboards and trim, it’s good to have shakes on the back of the house, but it’s best to have a garden.  There is something ‘wrong’ with land that doesn’t have the fruit of the earth growing in it.  Even if you have to buy tomato plants already with tomatoes on them.

Pride goes just so far.

The earth and the sPICT0026PICT0043eason calls out to us to attend the  bounty and we are richer for obeying.

Lady Nyo


Tarnished moon,
Cottoned in dark, settled clouds
Striated against still wintry branches
A ghost of beggar’s light spills down
Upon a fallow ground.

This pale spring orb,
Cast on a placid lake,
Mirrored mysteries of countless years
Reflects an empty alone-ness,
Yet pulls at women’s courses
And opens the womb to need.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2009

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8 Responses to “Summer’s blooming, and the sewer is flowing….”

  1. Margie Says:

    Wow, quite the transformation – from “moat” to lovely little sitting area! Our yard is a mess. Roger’s been weeding and building a retaining wall (one more to go) and trying to keep the grass cut. It’s so hot, we only go out for 90 min. at a time and then come in to drink lemonade!

    Enjoy your new sitting area – it’s really nice!


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Ohhh…lemonade…the beverage of the Summer Gods!

    had a pitcher with sugar in it today…wonderful, regenerative stuff.

    Tell Roger to be careful. This heat is terrible…I can’t remember it this hot this early in the summer….just summer…What does it mean for July/August????

    More lemonade and sitting in the cellars….LOL!

    It took almost two weeks of constant work, but I wasn’t about to do the siding….that is next. Bless Fred!

    Messy yards transform themselves into beautiful garden areas, and they look sparse and new and full of potential. Then the weeds take over! LOL!

    You’ll get there, Coz. Retaining walls, with stone?? brick? what?? I need some ideas.
    Brick would be probable, but that’s a lot of work in the heat.

    I am just sad that nothing will be on schedule….it will be fall before I get tomatoes, and eggplants (ichiban) and other things…..but the wait will be worth it.

    Son wants a b-b gun for the squirrels already noticing the grapes, but they have to eat too…the little buggers are stuffed. Perhaps netting would work???

    Love you~


  3. Margie Says:

    I’m off to Home Depot tomorrow to get bird netting for our grapes! How funny you mentioned it. We actually aren’t growing much this year, because we need to restructure the garden area. The retaining walls will be made of landscaping ties – although not my favorite – they are cost effective. We used to have stone/slate in Pennsylvania, but alas, much younger hands built those walls! I’ve already made cucumber salad and harvested a few tomatoes, and lots and lots of herbs. Talk to you soon! Again, the pics are lovely!


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Oh! Margie…..I gotta use netting on the grapes?? Well, I will, because something is already eating them….besides me…checking these tiny grapes that are bitter as hell, but damn….it’s wonderful to have grapes…never thought this vine would produce…and damn if it isn’t!

    Well, landscaping ties look a lot better than concrete block…and I think we will go for that this next year. Stone/slate…and Pennsylvania slate at that !! Is beautiful. We have a hearth that Fred built…of a huge piece of lavender/gray Pennsylvania slate…it was 600 lbs. under the wood stove in the great room. I’ll take a pix and send it to you.
    He had to break it up into 4 random sized pieces and he mortared it like it was a river running between land masses….very beautiful. That was a rare piece he came upon at a salvage place and haggled for it. He does incredible stone work…so does our young son. We joke that Christopher comes from drunken Irish stone builders because he knows intrinsically just how to place stones upon each other to form a beautiful wall.

    You’ve already harvested cukes and tomatoes…? I hate you. I am envious. I am eating store brought tomatoes and cukes and they are like cardboard.

    Love you………


  5. Berowne Says:

    Oh, my. We had a Plumbing Event about five years ago with roots in the sewer pipe, but we were able to do a “trenchless” repair in which they pull a plastic liner inside the older pipe once they sever the roots. Glad to have that over with.


  6. ladynyo Says:

    Hah! That sounds like some version of new heart surgery.

    Believe me, I wish I could have had that option….Rotorooter never offered anything except very expensive stuff…including camera work to show us the horrible roots.

    Damn plum trees!

    LOL!….I like your option better, Berowne. Glad you didn’t have to suffer what we did.

    Wonder if the tapping into the sewer line made the plums….ah….riper?


  7. shia1 Says:

    Wow, what a trench. But all looks beautiful now. I hope you get your house done and get rid of all the indoor spiders. I couldn’t sleep having spiders above me and looking at, I would have to go sleep pn a couch somewhere until it was done.

    I know you have had your hands full. But you seem to be coming through it fine. Keep up the good work, work is all you can do. Isn’t that the truth? Who is going to do it for you?

    I love your backyard with the little table and plants all over. It really is cozy.



  8. ladynyo Says:

    Yep, shia….the flies, mosquitos and me. Cozy.

    Thank you for reading the blog and commenting. Work…do we have any other choice in life??



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