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Saturday Tally: The Week We Cheat!

If you’re a long-time reader, you know that 20MinuteJan and I set out several years ago to reclaim our yard 20 minutes at a time after a construction project had some unexpectedly destructive side effects. We’ve continued that process for the most part in maintaining the yard. 20 minute a day is actually a LOT of time if you stay focused… and honest. I’ll be the first to admit that some days, I find it hard to stop after 20 minutes. So I let myself store up time to use on those “easy” days. My Gramma always said “You make hay while the sun shines” which I take to mean, I work more on days when it’s possible and don’t sweat it overly on days that it’s not (rain, commitments, etc.)

Except for the one week every year when we flat out cheat!

Next week is the Ann Arbor Art Fair and friends from far and wide will be stopping by to see the garden… and park in our drive. The yard has to be on its best behavior and so we traditionally spent extra time – sometimes LOTS of extra time – getting things in shape. This year though, I thought I’d keep a rough tally of what we did.

– Cut the Lawn: (40 minutes) We cut ours as well as our next door neighbor’s in exchange because she lets us use her back yard as a garden annex. It’s not that much of an imposition because her entire back yard is garden (“More hoe, less mow”) and because we generally view grass clippings as a crop. This harvest became mulch around the tomatoes and the nearer part of the squash.

– Harvest the Lovage: Lovage is a wonderfully weird plant. It smells just like celery but it grows to a good six feet tall– before it flops over around this time of the year. Propping it up helps a bit but as soon as the hollow stalks bend, they snap and it’s all over. In this case, “harvest” means the seeds which are used as “celery seed.” Hack it down, hang it upside down in the garage to dry.

Yank up more of that blasted Bindweed: It sounds like a magical ingredient from Harry Potter… and if there are any budding wizards out there who’d like to try, I know where there seems to be a perpetual stand of the stuff.

– Tidy up the backyard projects: At least that’s what Janice suggests I do. But the wood burning stove is still in the middle of the drive because I’ve almost gathered enough scrap wood to brew another batch of beer. And that section of fence that I’ve trimmed down and set on its end is almost ready to be painted into a “road side sign.” And those saw horses of 2×4’s are really just… OK, I’ll tidy ’em up.

– General weeding: the all-over-mulch strategy works extremely well, and then planting extremely closely also discourages weeds but still a few weeds peek up as a testament to persistence if nothing else.

– Stake up at least the most obvious lollygaggers.

Wow! I’m exhausted just TYPING up all those tasks. I’d best get busy!

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