The annual battle with the yard

Our front yard -- or at least part of it.
Our front yard — or at least part of it. (Photo from 2015).

We went into the Spring season planning on reductions in the size of a three-and-a-half acre yard, nearly all of it on a hillside that slopes down closed to 500 feet from where our house sits to a stream at the bottom.

Looking down the long slope of the yard while I mow at the one flat area in front of the stream.
Looking down the long slope of the yard while I mow at the one flat area in front of the stream in 2005.
(Photo by Amy Thompson)

Previous owner John Paul Houston created the yard and removed a bunch of trees that shielded the house from Sandy Flats Road far down below.  It is a beautiful expanse of yard that takes most of a day to mow and edge even for those who have not been hobbled by breaks in both legs and too much hardware holding the old bones together.

A kind friend hired a mowing service to take care of the yard for the year after my motorcycle crash in 2012 and we continued using the service for another year before the cost became prohibitive, so I had our Troy-Built Pony riding mower serviced by T&E last year and returned to mowing it myself.

Three sinkholes began to appear in the yard in late 2014.  Those who know about such things say the large stumps from removal of trees were most-likely buried in the yard and deteriorating. They suggested regrading the yard and adding dirt.  A fourth sink hole appeared this year and water now seeps out of it from the lowest point.  It could be a spring.

We’ve considered replanting trees in the lower part of the yard, something that could return it to its original state and add some guard against the wind that sweeps up the hill and sometimes blasts the front of the house.

Maybe we can sometime.  Amy is still recovering from major back surgery last year and my three years of physical therapy ended just a little over a month ago. My current work schedule takes up many days and planting the lower yard may have to wait until next year.

T&E got our mower working again this Spring and I mowed the lower, flat area of the yard twice before a front tire went flat last week.  A new tube gave it more life. I picked it up late Monday morning, installed it back on the right front axle and started on the front yard, where the grass stood at nearly a foot from recent rains.

Took one pass at the mower’s highest height setting to get it down to reasonable length for trimming.  Then it took most of the afternoon to cut the entire thing.  The sun dipped below the mountains in the West as I pulled it into the shed after several hours, and three refills of gas, to finish.

Body aches began Monday night.  The roughness of the yard, combined with the steepness of the hill, bounced my 68-year-old body up and down and pulled it from side to side more than it used to when I first mowed the yard 11 years ago.

The first time I mowed the yard of our new home in April of 2005 (with a new John Deere mower that died five years later). Photo by Amy Thompson
The first time I mowed the yard of our new home in April of 2005 (with a new John Deere mower that died five years later). Photo by Amy Thompson

 

It took two 50 mg Tramadols, two 500mg Extra Strength Tylenols and two 500mg Bayer Back & Body tabs to get to sleep late Monday night and I woke up with massive aches and pains Tuesday,

Thankfully, what appeared to be a long docket of Circuit Court to cover for The Floyd Press ended up much shorter because of case continuances and I did not have to endure too long on the hard and unyielding bench in the courthouse.

Less pain Wednesday morning except for the arthritis that flares up when the weather is wet.  With rain most of this week, the yard will need mowing again by next Monday.

I may mow just the upper half of the front yard and the flat area between the stream and the road at the bottom and let Mother Nature doe whatever she wants with the rest.

Or I may be a masochist once again and mow the whole damn thing.

The jury is still out.

 

5 Responses to The annual battle with the yard

  1. Let Mother Nature take its course! Reduce the runoff, crest habitat and save your body!! 😎

  2. I too mow a large yard but have been working to reduce what needs mowing by planting areas in trees most small ones from the state forest people. I say plant more trees!