I know I've blathered on senselessly about how much I love our back yard. It may cause people to pause and think, "What are they, a bunch of mutants from Siberia who have never seen a back yard?"
Well, no. Growing up, my family always had a suitable back yard - plenty of room to run, etc. In Georgia, we were lucky enough to have a little creek down below our yard. There were tadpoles and smooth stones to investigate. The water was shallow and cool - and a few areas along the creek had babbling falls, which were always fascinating.
There was also a swing set and our rabbit hutch out back. My dad grew potatoes and corn in a large patch of the yard. In his smaller garden, he had tomatoes, radishes, onions, lettuce and cabbage, cucumbers, sweet peppers and sometimes strawberries.
In Kansas, we had a wonderful flat back yard. My brother and I were getting older, so there was no swing set, but we had plenty of games of soccer there and my BFF and I liked to work on our tans (this was back in the days before skin cancer was a concern).
When we finally settled into a house in WV, it didn't have a big back yard, but it had a nice patio area and my dad put his garden on the side of the house. He also put in rows of grapevines there. He and I would sit on the back patio and make homemade sauerkraut each year - then him and mom would can it and dole it out to the family over the years. That was the best sauerkraut.
Anyway, back to casa Evil Twin. When the Evil Twin and I first got together, just starting out, we had a few apartments. Then, we bought our first house - and even though it had a decent sized yard, it was very slope-y.
After Buddy was born, we would have liked to have put a swing set somewhere, but our neighbors behind us had a large rottweiler that was known to jump their fence and it would stand at the fence line and bare it's teeth at us.
Needless to say, we didn't spend any more time in the back yard than necessary (which was limited to the Evil Twin mowing the grass back there). The front yard was okay, but it was close to the street and we'd have to deal with nosy neighbors as we tried to enjoy the baby pool we'd set out for Buddy.
Ten years in that house was about 9 years too long. We found this house and found exactly what we needed.
We put in a swing for the kids:
(That's Sissy's new toddler swing in the middle).
My hammock resides back there (weather permitting):
It's amazing therapy! Best money I ever spent. The whole family clambers to get in it if it's available. It opens up opportunities for the kids and I to talk, the Evil Twin and I to talk, etc. When someone is in the hammock, they are not preoccupied with video games, laptops, bills, every day worries - you can let it all go when you relax like this. Best of all, it doesn't cost a cent, after the initial hammock investment, of course.
Then, we have the busy back patio:
There is a play tent and Sissy's Barbie trike. The chairs along the back wall are where the Evil Twin likes to unwind.
And, I'm gonna bring this baby right back to gardening.
This year, I decided I would try to plant tomatoes and see how I fared. First, I tried starting from seed.
That didn't go so well, as I killed all my budding little buddies by exposing them to too much sunlight.
Eff that.... I thought, "I'll just buy an already semi-mature plant and do that." So, I picked up a little dude from WalMart. I dubbed him, "My Next Victim" and transplanted him from his plastic container to this weird little planter area next to the porch:
There are actually a few ripening fruits! The bottle on the left is filled with red pepper spice mixed with water. I hose that plant down with this stuff to keep varmints off my plant. So far, it has worked!
I keep stalking my plant and wondering when the fruits will be fully ripe and ready for my dinner table. I must be out there every 20 minutes to see if there has been any change....Sheesh. I need a life! :-)