Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It Makes Me So Happy

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! :-)


  1. We have that exact same playground! The kids love it. Sadly, the two older ones seem to have grown out of it. I think I was more sad when they grew out of the playground than when they got taller than me. (That's not a high wall to climb, if you know what I mean.)

    Your tomatoes look great! Mine are doing OK but Jon keeps picking the green ones and bringing them to me. If he wasn't so cute and proud of himself, this would be annoying.

  2. I can grow pretty weeds, but anything else and it dies a tragic death.

  3. ETW; You hit my 'soft spot'....I have always loved the backyard, especially the one I have now. It's large enough you really can't see any neighbors so I can sit out there in my own private seclusion. Tried the 'tomato thing' myself a few times.....f'n squirrels makes it damn near impossible though. They take a bite out, then they're done. I just don't have enough ammo to cure the problem ;)

  4. I haven't done any veggies - just flowers, but I do like to get my gardening groove on :) Next year I may try growing from seeds, but I don't know. It looks so difficult!

    Congrats on your tomatoes - I can see them there, they look delicious!

  5. That's the exact same jungle gym we have for Bonkers, Bananas, and Rampage in our backyard.

    Good luck with the gardening! I even kill houseplants, so I won't be giving it a try.

  6. Next year you might want to try more than one tomato plant. They will help polinate each other and you will get more fruit!

  7. You HAVE a life, and it's tomato-red. :)

  8. Rebecca - so far, Sissy has kept clear of my one lone plant. Very unlike her. LOL.

    Ron -that's usually me I'm testing the waters here.

    Efen - squirrels are a menace! Cute, but evil.

    vinomom - I'm keeping my fingers crossed these finish ripening before critters or bugs get them!

    Lauren - that swingset was also a great investment!

    jr - thanks. I think I will. This year was a test run. :-)

    Tiff - it's a little sad when I run outside 20 times a day to see if the ripe ones are any riper! LOL.

  9. I am suffering from "hammock-envy".

  10. I have hammock envy, too! I love my backyard - which consists mostly of deck, pool and a little bit of grass (or should I say weeds). But I need a hammock or two!!

    Don't you know that if you watch those tomatoes they will never turn red!!??

  11. David & I considered selling our house and downsizing, but for now we'll stay put given the market. There's so much we need to do but can't afford right now, but it's a nice place on a pretty piece of property, and I would love to get the yard and landscaping pretty! I'll get on the 4-wheeler myself and winch that god-awful rose of sharon out myself! Bleh!

    I didn't get a good veggie garden going this year because my tiller had broken tines. My container garden blows.

    I'm thinking about trying to grow maters indoors this winter though -- just need the grow lights and a space!

    You yard looks well-lived-in and well-loved!

  12. Gigi - check out and look at package deals. Sometimes they also run free shipping.

    Kenju - this particular hammock is large (like parking a small boat in the yard) - but this one holds up to 450 pounds...that's room for you, mr. kenju and a grandkid or two!

    Janis, The Evil Twin took out all but one of our rose bushes this year. We love the solitude of the yard... We have a double lot, so it's maintenance heavy, but really worth it. I know you all have MORE than we do, but I am all about space, space and more space. :-)

  13. Fruits, vegetables or flowers are ALL subject to impending death around me. I admire those that have the knack - you go!!

  14. It looks fantastic! I know how much you love your hammock and now I can see why. Your tomatoes look great too. Our new herb garden is going so strong that its almost overtaking us! The basil reminds me of something out of a humorous plant eating horror film second only to the mint.