What Was Already Here: Back Yard

musical dandelion light green

I hope that one day I’ll be able to sing Joe Diffie’s lyric

You’d never know it now but I used to have it all. 

Once I had everything…in my own backyard.

and have it stand for all the stacks and piles of wood, bricks, plant pots, and a variety of useless items that will have been organized, donated and replaced. There has been a little progress there, but more has been added to the piles and this is the year for substantive change.

The very first thing I did was have a friend of my sister’s come with a couple of helpers to tear down the crumbling carport. It was an ugly safety hazard. The friend did it all — tore it down, saved a piece of redwood for me, and hauled off the rest — for the 12-foot long 2×10 true-measure planks.

Here is what it looked like:


I don’t have a picture of the tar roof. It rolled like the High Seas and leaked. While it would be nice to have a structure for parking, that was not a safe or salvageable one. All that is left is the cracked concrete floor and a short wall of concrete blocks.

short wall

The back yard is barely wider than the house and about 2-1/2 times as deep. Almost half of it is taken up by the concrete floor and a patch of gravel that my sister and a friend spread for me:

gravel dump  spreading gravel

In the background of the shot of them spreading the gravel you can see a stack of old bricks. The stack is several feet deep and comprises the bricks from the second chimney, which I had torn down in order to utilize the interior space it was taking up on the two main living floors of the house. Some of those bricks have already been used for small projects. More will be drafted for the front walkway. My nephew has plans for the rest, including a proposed outdoor oven.

Beyond the bricks is a leaning stack of privacy fencing, bought at a real bargain from a rehabber last summer. Eventually, the fence will span the curve in the public alley that looks like my driveway, around to the edge of the back yard. There may or may not be enough to wrap around to become a tool shed (roof to be imagined later).

In springtime, the top of the concrete wall sports flats of starter plants.

sping plants on wall

A pile of old lumber lies past the wall, waiting to be sorted. Any pieces that can be used will go into the basement. Whatever is unusable goes to a friend’s burn pile, and the rest will take a trip to the dump. Eventually, the space will be filled with calla lilies, irises and other plants donated by friends. My nephew’s 1975 Jeep needs just a bit more attention before it runs well and reliably. Either that or it will become a giant herb garden.

lumber pile

My next-door neighbor has donated the stones outlining an old flower bed, and the bulbs within it, to me. I will provide the grunt work of transferring it all to my own property. The bulbs will grace my front yard. The stones may become a base for a tool shed. There are so many bulbs and weeds in the picture that the stones are hard to see.

stones and bulbs

The front yard comes first, but the two are intertwined in some ways. I will post as changes are made. Today, it is raining, so I get to consume massive quantities of my favorite tea and try to get this blog into better shape.


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