Weeds and grass roots

The front yard

The House Back East™ gets a front-yard makeover.

The rain has abated for the moment and the home-improvement projects have resumed with a vengeance.

The deluge reminded us of just how badly the garage roof leaks — it had become less of a garage and more of a free car wash — and so the roof got replaced yesterday.

The back yard

The back yard looked like a scene from “Platoon” before Herself and I spent an afternoon defoliating it by hand.

Also ongoing is landscaping at The House Back East™, which had developed a bumper crop of noxious weeds during our extended monsoon season. The front yard has gotten a colorful layer of mulch, and the much larger back yard is awaiting similar treatment.

You want a reminder of how feeble you have become in your dotage, spend an afternoon doing squats while pulling a metric shit-ton of weeds. The next morning, assess the plummeting property value of your crumbling temple of the soul. Comparables from the immediate vicinity probably won’t help much, if your wife is seven years younger than you, lifts weights and does yoga.

Speaking of things getting fixed up, a group of local investors has transformed the old Ivywild School, shuttered due to declining enrollment, into a mixed-use development that houses Bristol Brewing, Old School Bakery, the Meat Locker deli and any number of other worthwhile operations.

“This is a celebration that says, hey, if people work together, this is what can happen,” partner Mike Bristol told The Gazette. “We can do this again. Not me personally, but as a community. We can do other things like this.”

Yes, please. And thank you.

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26 Responses to “Weeds and grass roots”

  1. Sharon Says:

    I like to garden and work in the yard…it’s fun and just enough of a reminder that true farming is really a hard life.

    • Patrick O'Brien Says:

      Sharon, that is the absolute truth. I married a farmer’s daughter, and the first few visits back to the dairy farm were my trial by fire. I finally learned to say no after heat exhaustion hit when chasing the hay wagon. They finally learned they were stuck with me.

      Patrick, the yard looks good. Congrats on the new roof. I wiish Tucson would follow the lead in using empty schools like that.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Oh, man, I hate yard work. Severe allergies since childhood, the worst of them involving work, period. Makes me break out in sloth every time.

      My one experience with actual agriculture, detasseling corn in Iowa, ended after a half day. Got fired for smoking another (ahem) agricultural product on my lunch break, thank God.

  2. Steve O Says:

    If you replaced every failing school with a brewery and deli, all of our sidewalks would have face plant imprints and the postal workers would have hernias from hauling mail order Lipitor.

  3. Debby Says:

    The Weeds. Ugh. We’ve got ’em here in Crestone too. Billions of them. We’ve been getting a lot of rain here too and the weeds have gone crazy while I’ve been away. I’ve been pulling them for the last two days and I have half of my driveway clear now. A columnist in our local paper likes to write “there is no such thing as a weed”. I beg to differ.

  4. Larry T. Says:

    Brewery, bakery….sounds pretty good. If they plant the old playground with some vegetables, they’re golden! In the west, the lawns (unless they’re irrigated only with what falls from the sky) should be replaced with whatever grows locally, be it rocks, cactus, etc. I pulled some noxious weeds out of our front yard when I came back from Italy a few weeks ago, only to see ’em 3 feet high at present. Ahh, the joys of owning your own home.

  5. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    You have to get them when they are young. Never give them a chance. Fight dirty and don’t stop. Shoot them when they are down. Roundup.

    • Larry T. Says:

      Sounds like the game plan of Pat McQuaid vs his rivals for UCI prez! I just snipped the weed off at the base, I’m too lazy to get in the bushes and dig the thing out by the roots. Yardwork – AGGHHHH!

  6. khal spencer Says:

    My wife loves yardwork. I can’t really understand that attitude. Its never done, never good enough, and takes time and money out of more respectable interests like bicycling.

    • Debby Says:

      It always seemed like slave labor to me. Gardening always seems to come down to pulling weeds. I hate pulling weeds. Producing tasty veggies sounds great but it’s too many hours bent over in the dirt, pulling endless weeds. After spending a few hours of gardening/weeding I’m too tired to do anything else. Entire day ruined…

      • Larry T. Says:

        That’s what Farmer’s Markets are for! I’ll happily pay someone else to grovel around in the dirt. I don’t even mow my own lawn…since we’re not around during most of the lawn-growing season I have a good excuse – but even if we were….forget it!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Herself loathes yard work as much as I do, which is one reason our lawn looks like a Japanese soldier from WWII could still be hiding somewhere in it.

      Which reminds me of one of my favorite fake letters from The National Lampoon, shortly after one such refugee was discovered on an island in the Pacific:

      “You won the war but we won the hide-and-seek. Stick your head up your ass and count to 1941, Joe.”

  7. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    We grow a small garden in stock tanks. Right now we have Japanese egg plant, tomatoes, both cherry and early girl, sweet peppers, and mint we dry for tea. No weeding or bending over. We paint the outside to make them look a little nicer and stay cooler.

  8. Sharon Says:

    Love the stock tank idea. We have used raised beds for many years with great success. No weeds and wonderful home-grown tomatoes. Nothing like ’em.

  9. Libby Says:

    Lookin’ good.

  10. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    Changing subjects for a second, what about SRAM Apex? They offer a compact crank (34/48) and a 12/32 cassette. Just what my knees ordered. I think I might prefer that to a 105 triple setup. I have no experience with SRAM road components.

    Hey MD, you out there? How is/was the tour?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Patrick, I’ve ridden Apex and like it. Nick Legan, Velo’s former tech editor, was a big fan.

      I’ve gone to triples on a couple-three bikes now, a blend of Ultegra, Dura-Ace and XT, mostly. I notice I almost never use the granny ring, but then I haven’t climbed Hardscrabble Cañon with full bags front and rear lately, either.

      John Schubert had a line in one of his touring bike guides that I like to crib: “You need a gear between 20 and 25 inches for that moment on tour when the hill is two miles long and you’re already tired.” The 28.7-inch low gear in that Apex group might be a tad stout in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        Thanks Patrick. I am still thinking about building up an Soma ES road bike. It would never see a rack or pannier; I have the Saga for that. Looked high and low for one in the deep red, but there are none to be had. So, I will settle for the nickel color. But I am leaning towards the 105 triple group for it, and I will have to buy a new one since I have no parts stash to draw on. Might even put a LX or XT trekking crank on the front. I need to do some gear inch calculations.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        No trouble atall atall, Paddy me boyo. If you have a loose buck or two lying around take a squint at the Sugino XD2 triple at Rivendell. Herself uses this on her ‘cross bike, and I have it on the Saga and Nobilette — it’s not only functional, it looks good, too.

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