When we bought out house over 2 years ago, it was a fixer-upper. The tenants had lived here for 7 - 8 years and the walls were tobacco stained, carpet too nasty to describe, and the back yard was frightening. Beneath the carpet were wood floors and fresh coats of paint and a good cleaning brought back the original beauty of this 80 year old house. and we love it. The back yard, however, has been a long time coming.
The spring after we first moved in, my friend Jenny explored the small space. It had obviously not been mowed for 3 - 4 years and the tenants' dog had filled it with nastiness. The grass had grown long, fallen over, and killed everything beneath. It was filled with trash, dog poop, and snakes. (I know I shouldn't be afraid of snakes. They're wonderful creatures. But they scare the living daylights out of me.) We discovered two huge rolls of metal fencing buried under grass and weeds, garden beds with a beautiful brick border, and daffodils that were trying desperately to find the sun.
That day we got the yard cleaned out, mowed, and suitable for, well, our dog. The shade of the trees above prevented the grass from growing lush and thick and with all of the inside projects (and our laziness), the backyard was left to stew.
When I got pregnant with Sophie, I said enough was enough. Out little girl needed a backyard. Last weekend, the first weekend of Spring, it was 80 degrees. Roy, Riley (Roy's 9 year old son) and I put on our summer duds and got rid of rocks and bricks, trash and our own dogs' nastiness. Sophie sat in her stroller watching us and enjoying the warmth of the sun on her new little legs. We tilled the soil using Roy's grandparent's electric tiller, and sowed shade-loving grass seed. Only 5 days later, the yard is a beautiful mosaic of green and brown. The new seed has yet to germinate, but the old grass is growing through in places it never did before and yesterday it rained lightly all day.
I now daydream of sitting in the back yard, drinking a beer, while Sophie crawls, rolls, dances and plays around us, chasing butterflies and lightening bugs.
Another note of progress: Sophie rolled from her blanket on the floor, 5 feet to her play mat. Yes she did. And I think she has the first little bud of a tooth.