Screen Door Chickens

It's Spring. We've been spending every non-work moment happily outside. I'm dying to post about our backyard progress, but must wait to finish a couple key elements before any big reveal.

However, I had to share this daily occurrence. As you can see, I'm not the only soul filled with enthusiasm about The Great Outdoors. Orange and Roosevelt, who are quite literally house cats, have the bug in a big way. This is them, being as patient as their small bodies will allow, every. single. day. The rule is no cats outside without flea control, which I have yet to purchase. Plus I want to make sure the yard is completely blocked in. I have a no-roaming-the-neighborhood-getting-into-fights-or-killing-birds policy around here. I know, no fun! Sorry chickadees.

I thank my lucky stars that it has never occurred to these guys to pick at my screen door.


Backyard beginnings

In between rain storms (we've been getting quite a few lately, today included) we've been trying to get started on the backyard. I am so grateful to have this space. As a past-life serial renter, all I ever wanted was a YARD. Wandering the aisles of the Home Depot longingly, I would think to myself "someday, when I have a yard I will (fill-in-the-blank unattainable yet fabulous thoughts and ideas)." And now, whoa, we have a great yard.

I am excited.

Of course, nothing comes without a price. In our case, some serious callous-inducing labor and trips to the dump. It started with the "pergola." Quotes are required here. Our "pergola" is a homemade gem. Some previous DIYers dream come true... now our safety hazard. It covers the width of the backyard and is perched precariously over the shed. It was also covered in those horrid plastic sheets. At minimum, they had to go.

Much better! Not only were those sheets collecting rainwater etc, but they blocked a lot of sun.

I realize while writing this that I haven't taken enough pictures of the backyard. Argh, and it's totally raining outside. I promise to add some later. Anyway, next step was to conquer some of that concrete. There is SO much concrete back here! We borrowed a sledgehammer from the tool library and began to destroy. This started off fun but ended up being super exhausting. Mike did the heavy lifting and hammering, then I went back with a shovel and dug out all the rocks and bad dirt. We ended up with this:

Now you see it.

Now you don't.

Certainly Mike and I could have removed this debris pile ourselves. But after all this, my back was broken. We did some self-reflecting and determined a little help was deserved. A quick craigslist listing later, we had a nice father-son duo shoveling and wheelbarrowing that mess right out of here.

Next up:
• remove pergola over the shed
• reinforce two support posts, add brackets and level out the top
• paint the whole thing black!
• choose something viney to grow over it
• establish location for vegetable garden and build out boxes
• introduce nutrients to the dirt
• plant stuff!