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A Very Little Yard Work

I took a short (very slow) run, thinking I might make a Running Commentary Post. Then I came up with something better. In lieu of my cool-down walk (I just love that expression “in lieu of”), I mowed the front lawn with my non-power mower and pulled up a few weeds and unwanted items.

In the course of doing this, I noticed I have a Johnny Jump-up! It is only one little bloom, but I was delighted to see it. I immediately decided to take a picture, although I finished my mowing and pulling first.

I hope I get more!

Naturally I took a few more pictures.

These are tulips, which is very exciting for me, because we have not had this many previously. We usually get one and feel happy with that, because we did not plant it.

Any guesses?

I was not sure if this was a flower or a weed, so I let it live. Does anybody know what it is?

I hope they are OK!

I spent a little time pulling up green stuff surrounding my peonies. I believe I sacrificed some daisies, but I also believe we have plenty of daisies. Last year something ate my peonies before they bloomed, or somebody came and took them all away. I hope for fragrant blossoms this year.

I did not do a whole lot, but I thought it was not too bad for after a run on a Tired Tuesday. No doubt I will share more pictures as the season progresses.


Lawn Order

I fought the lawn and the lawn won.

I would say we fought to a standstill, but of course the lawn is always growing.  Kind of like my stomach, but let us not dwell on THAT depressing subject.  I was actually pleased with my yard efforts today, and I have a few pictures to share.

Regular readers may remember that I use a non-power mower for my grass cutting needs.  The advantages are that it is quieter, easier to start, and does not run low on gas and oil.  Additionally, I get that frisson of virtue for being more environmentally friendly.  Oh, and it is excellent exercise.

The main downside is that I need to mow more often than I am usually inclined to do.  In this case, I had not mown since last Sunday.  Note to self: don’t wait that long again.

I got the front done first.  It is easier and and arguably more important, because people see it.  NO, I do not care what people think!  Well, maybe a little.  Why would I not want to give the world a pleasant view? I had been working on the back for a while before it occurred to me to take a “before” picture.

It looked more intimidating in real life.

When I looked at this, I could clearly see what I had done and how overgrown the rest of it looked.  This view seems less clear, but I hope it gives an idea.  Photo taken, I had at it again and ended up feeling fairly pleased with myself.  Later on, I took a few “after” shots to round out the blog post.

Did the lawn win? Or did I?

The shadows show that time had passed.  I took a shower, worked on my novel, and watched a little Snapped (what’s a Sunday without an episode or two of Snapped?

Our Rose of Sharon

The Rose of Sharon took a while to start getting green.  At least it is definitely too big to be accidentally mown over (although it was Steven who did that, not I).

The Red Thing from Diana’s house.

This is a better shot of the above plant than I got before, and it has even more green.

Can’t have too many forget-me-nots!

I did not mow over my forget-me-nots!  After taking these pictures, I went out front.


Our peonies were eaten or plucked away by something or someone last year.  I hope they survive this year!

Alligator from Knoeble’s in Pennsylvania.

I put our alligator out front this year.  I would like to get some more lawn ornaments.

I hope to get more lawn and garden work done in the coming weeks.  I have never gotten as much done as I would like.  With so many things cancelled or on hold, this just might be the year!


A Run Worthy of a Post

Rather than my usual Tired Tuesday post,  I thought I would attempt a Running Commentary.   For one reason, I ran up the hill to Herkimer College, an accomplishment which deserves a blog post, I think.

As usual these days, I woke up NOT wanting to run at all.  I always have all kinds of good reasons: I ran yesterday, I should recruit my energies for something else, I don’t NEED to run the Falling Leaves 14K in September… etc., etc.  I usually change my mind after a cup of coffee.  Let’s hear it for caffeine!   Also in favor of running was the weather: it was not raining,  which it is supposed to do soon and for the next several days.

I set off with high hopes.  I have been thinking that longer runs were in order, and a run up a challenging hill would be an excellent idea.  Additionally,  I could post to Facebook that I had run up to HCCC, and my Facebook friends would feel impressed.  Accordingly,  I crossed to the far sidewalk on German Street and turned left.

A young man was walking a block, maybe a block and a half ahead of me.  I wondered how long it would take me to catch up to him.  It seemed to take a while.  It was actually about three blocks.  Is that a lot?  I suppose some of you could have done it in one. I am all admiration, I assure you.  The young man heard me huffing and puffing behind him as I approached.

“Good morning,” I said.  He returned the greeting as he moved over to give me room.  “You know how long it took me to catch up with you?” I added as I ran past him. “That’s how slow I run!”

” Have a good day,”  he said, turning up the next street.

“You too!” I called, running on.

The run had felt pretty good up till then.  The temperature was nice, my body was not complaining.  Then I started up the hill.  It wasn’t long before I started to feel like I Could… Not… Make… It…  I knew this was not the case.  I knew I could and would make it.  But I only knew this intellectually and logically.   I sure wasn’t feeling it!

I reminded myself of the first time I had run the hill.  I had thought I would run up till I had been running for 15 minutes (starting from when I left my house), then I would turn around and go down.  I had the idea that eventually I would make it all the way up.  Well, by the time I got to 15 minutes,  I was too close to the top to quit. So there, keep going,  I told myself

At one point I tried the trick of looking back at how far I had come.  This works best if you do it after you are halfway up, which I knew I was.  Yes, I had come far, but looking back down gave me a little vertigo.  Yikes!  At last I was all the way up and ready to go back down.

As I ran toward the back road down, I realized I had run by a Do Not Enter sign, where there was one of those triangles at a wide T intersection.   I ran back and ran by it, entering where it said not to.  It added a little more distance to my run and solidified my rebel cred.  Yes, yes, I know, by the rule Left Side Facing Traffic I should have been running there. It amuses me to enter where the sign says not to and pretend I’m a rebel.  I have to get my laughs where I can.

After running down the hill, I backtracked to Lou Ambers Drive and got a quick drink at the spring.  Then I continued on home for a 42 minute run.  I did not immediately go on my cool-down walk but opened the garage and hauled out the non-power mower.  I spent a good 20 minutes huffing and puffing behind that, once again taking advantage of the time before the rain.

Eventually I got to my cool-down walk.  Phew!  I felt that I had gotten a work out.  I think I’ll be up for the Falling Leaves run in September!


Lots of Questions in This One

So there I was, a closed garage door, a sick husband,  and an overgrown lawn.   Did I mention my husband was ailing?  Do I need to mention that this is the second part of Thursday’s post?  Do I need to apologize that I am making it early Saturday morning instead of on Friday? Have I asked enough questions for one paragraph?

Where was I?  (Oops,  another question.)  Ah yes, in front of the garage door.   That’s right,  I decided to have a go at it all by myself.  And what do you know, I succeeded.  Oh, I guess you already knew that, since I talked about getting lawn work done.

So I started with the manual push mower and the front lawn.  For one reason, the front lawn is the one everybody sees.  Oh, don’t tell me not to care what other people think!  It is more pleasant for everyone to see a well-kept lawn instead of a weed jungle,  and I am all about making life just a little bit better in any way I can.

I found that by going over the same little patch six to ten times, I could make a difference.   Phew!  Am I ever glad our front lawn is tiny!  Additionally,  I could skip the patches where the daisies, lilies of the valley (Lilies of the Mohawk Valley?) (just had to throw that in), and — new this year — forget me nots had taken over.

Still, it took me over 40 minutes (I kept looking at my watch, because I promised myself I wouldn’t spend more than an hour on it; it was a holiday, after all). I was sweaty and tired!  I opened a beer, which I felt was the proper beverage for the situation,  and sat down on the back deck.

This gave me a nice view of our overgrown back lawn.  Damn.  I knew my work was not done.  There was no way I could duplicate my efforts out front on our backyard.   It is a normal-sized lawn for our house and neighborhood,  but in terms of labouring behind a manual mower over grass that length,  it seemed vast.  I hauled out the power mower, checked the oil, and added gas.

Then I proved to myself once again that I cannot start that motor by myself.  I just can’t pull that cord with enough force.  What to do?  Finally I knocked on our neighbors’ door.  We don’t really know them, but say hello when we see each other.  They are a nice young couple, with two kids and a dog (I would like to pet the dog, of course, but he does not seem interested in me).

The nice young man came out and started my mower with one pull.  Woo-hoo! This was much better!   Some places — actually many places — still required more than one pass.  Also, it took some effort from my middle-aged body of meager muscles to push the mower over our uneven ground.  But I did it!  I felt like much woman, as my sister Vicki would say.

OK, I set out three days ago to write about Thursday’s efforts.  I am now two posts in, and I am still on Monday.  On the brighter side,  it has been many, many words since I have whined about not being able to write a blog post. I think that calls for a “Yay, me!”

In the meantime,  I am over 550 words.  I generally don’t go in for long blog posts, so I will end this one here.  Will I ever tell about Thursday’s lawn efforts?   Or will I go back to whining about my inability to blog?  Will I post later today or remain two posts behind?  A little suspense adds interest to my Saturday.


You’d Be Tired Too!

In case anybody was wondering, I have not been running since last Tuesday.  Excuses are tiresome, so I offer none.  I finally ran again today.  Sort of.

I had planned to run, but as the day wore on, my bunions kept telling me it was going to rain.  My bunions are usually a day ahead of events, so I suspect it will rain tomorrow.  Why is that a problem?  You see, Steven (my husband) plans to mow the lawn tomorrow.  It totally needs it.  He can’t do it tonight; he works too late.  I really, really wanted the front lawn mowed.  It was beginning to look like we were some skanky rental property (please note: I am NOT saying that ALL rental properties are skanky; some are delightfully maintained.  I’m saying our front lawn was starting to look like one of the skanky ones).

To run or to mow?  I’ve done both at least once.  I was in much better shape at the time, running faithfully.  I ran then thought, “Why waste the sweat?”  I got Steven to start the power mower for me and I mowed that damn lawn.

Ah yes, that is a point I should mention.  I am unable to start the power mower.  For me to mow without Steve, I would have to use the non-power mower (I can’t call it a push mower, because we push the power mower), which I purchased for just such a situation.

This is getting to be a long story, and not very interesting.  In my defense, I did mow AND run.  Sadly, I only mowed the front lawn and I only ran for 16 minutes.  In my defense, non-power mowers take a lot of effort.  I mowed first so I did not have much oomph left for running.  Now I am just about as tired as I usually am when I make a Tired Tuesday post.

So I’m afraid this is it for today.  It’s too bad, because I thought of some pretty amusing stuff while I was mowing and running.  If I can remember them, maybe I’ll include them in tomorrow’s blog post.  As always, I hope you’ll stay tuned.


Power Lame Mower

Yes, it is another Lame Post Friday, my day of random observations and half-baked philosophy.  I seem to remember earlier this week threatening to philosophize (half-bakedly, of course) about how many of us hate to be reminded about things we ought to be doing (especially if we ought to be doing them without being reminded).  Well, I don’t feel like it.  If you would like to remind me that I ought to do what I say I am going to do, feel free.


I went for another run this afternoon after work.  I did not run as far.  I certainly did not run fast (I didn’t run fast yesterday either, but I believe I ran less slowly).  I composed a Running Commentary blog post in my head as I ran.  I’m not going to write it up now.  How many Running Commentaries do my readers want to read?  No, seriously, I’m asking, how many Running Commentary blog posts do you think are good?


After my short run, I attempted to mow the lawn.  I can’t get the power mower started so I used the non-power one I purchased for precisely that reason.  It does not work as well, but I did what I could with it. Then I did some stuff with a garden implement purchased by my husband.  It consists of a short double blade on a handle.  You can swing it back and forth and cut things down.  I attempted to do this with the tall dandelions which had eluded the mower.


I felt like I was doing battle.  The enemy was much smaller than me, but I was way outnumbered.  Swish, swipe, try that again.  Wait, there are some more.  Look behind me.  I’m surrounded!  At last many of them lay dead or wounded.  Oh dear, that is a terrible image.  I had no idea I was so blood-thirsty.  Oh, OK, I really did.


My beloved schnoodle, Tabby, is once again not feeling well.  I throw that in as a blatant bid for some sympathy.  Steven and I are worried about our sweet dog.  I hate to end on a down note, but that is really all I have today.  Hope you are having a non-lame Friday.


Working Hard in the Yard and Garden

How about a gardening post in lieu of my usual Wrist to Forehead Sunday. I was about to put a question mark, but since I intend to write it before receiving any possible replies, I decided against it.

Perhaps yard work is a better term than gardening. The reader may judge. Steven went to work at nine as usual. I went to the store and picked up a few items (not blogworthy, except for the nice conversation I had with a lady in the yarn aisle), then returned home determined to do something useful before Steven’s return.

I had my prescription sunglasses on, because it was quite a bright day (cue unkind remarks about how I’m not). I thought, why not add my crazy old lady hat to the ensemble (pronounced “ahn-sahm,” as the French do) and mow the lawn?

The lawn had been mowed nicely last Saturday by two neighborhood boys. It could go a few more days before it really needed it, but I find if I’m going to use the non-power mower, sooner is better. I have to use the non-power mower because I am quite incapable of getting the power mower started. I like it because it is quieter, and I get that little frisson of virtue because I am being “green.” Also it is good exercise, which I sorely need.

So there I was, pushing and pushing. The lawn didn’t look too bad. Maybe I would write a blog post about it (and I am!). I still need to do something about the edges of the lawn, but I had another notion for the rest of my outdoor activities for the day.

When we moved into our house, the front yard contained a whole lot of orange day lilies. Not the short, nice ones with spiky leaves on the stems that I see in other people’s yards. They were tall and, quite frankly, a little blowsy. Steven mowed them down, except for a big patch at the side of our porch. There they still grow, along with some ferns of jungle proportions. Not that I’ve ever been to the jungle, but with a plastic gorilla and a Barbie doll, I bet we could film a cool version of King Kong.

Last year I went and cut down all that I could. It was late in the season, so that was all I did. This time I had another idea. First I went and pulled up or cut down everything I could. Then I found an old shower curtain we had in the garage and put that down. That would keep any of that crap from growing back. I had to cut the shower curtain and arrange it. This was going to work.

Next I pulled out a bag of mulch we hadn’t used last year (or maybe even the year before. Oh dear). Three cubic feet, could I drag it out front without hurting my back. Yes I could! I am da woman! I spread it around as best I could. Then realized I should have smoothed out the shower curtain a little better. No matter. I pulled the ends and did the best I could.

The edges of the shower curtain still showed. I had put rocks down on the corners. Could I find some more rocks and cover the edges? That would look nice.

Something else I did when we first started working in the yard was collect rocks. When I would be digging up areas to plant stuff, if I dug up rocks I would save them for future use. There are some in a ring around our rhododendron now. Others reside in a heap under the deck awaiting my need.

Walking back and forth from the deck to the porch probably constituted good exercise, especially carrying rocks of varying sizes. I was careful every time I straightened up not to hit my stupid head (which I am unfortunately prone to do).

Oh dear, I think this made a better story in my head while I was doing it than it does now while I’m writing it. Never mind, I’m almost done. I still need a few more rocks (cue jokes about how I DON’T need more rocks in my head), and then I need to put something on the mulch to be decorative. Some potted flowers or perhaps a stone garden statue.

It’s too bad I don’t have the proper camera and know how to post a picture. Then again, maybe your mental picture looks better than what I actually did and would only disappoint you. At any rate, this is the longest Sunday post I have done in a long time. If you’re still with me, enjoy the rest of your weekend. If you stopped reading two or three paragraphs ago, I still wish you well.