Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sunny Days & Salsa Gardens

This past Saturday I found myself sitting on the back porch of my boyfriends house taking a break from weeding the salsa garden. My knees, feet and hands were covered in dirt and I was sipping a diet coke, enjoying the fact that I didn't have anywhere else I had to be the rest of the day. I looked down and saw this big potato bug (or roly poly) making his way across the porch and had a warmth of happy childhood feelings tug at my heart. For some reason Suzy Zoo stickers flashed in my mind and I was grateful for a peaceful happy life.

I love the summer days where it feels like you've finally given ole' Father Time the slip, where it feels like you have ducked out of his gaze into a shady spot and he forgets about you for a while. I felt like I had one of those rare enchanting days on Saturday.
My boyfriend bought an older home in Cottonwood Heights a couple months ago, and finally moved into it over the 4th of July weekend. The few months leading up to the move have been busy... we had to pack up his OLD place, clean it for his new tenants, remodel some of the bathrooms, and build new outdoor decks for the kitchen. And before he could move into the NEW place we had to pull carpet, sand floors, demo a bathroom, clean a TON of grime, and paint. All while working our full-time jobs.

I love his new place, it's amazing, the backyard is HUGE, and completely overgrown with scrub oak and shrubs. It's like a little forest back there. We have been spending a lot of time sitting on his back porch staring into the little forest. The bird watching is prime. And because Mike felt bad he was just having me help him do all this grunt work, and because we are spending so much time at this new (old) house, and he's going to be busy remodeling the insides... he has consented in letting me have free reign in the backyard.

So over Memorial Day weekend I completed a long-time dream of planting a SALSA GARDEN! 

The previous home owner of this home, which was built in 1971, had been there for 32 years... and I don't think they were into gardening. Or maybe they had been at one point and then gave up. The part of the backyard next to the house, the part that isn't scrub oak, had the hugest strangest shaped flower beds growing some pretty ratty ground cover, a scattering of weird perennials, and four old lilac trees. I love lilac trees, but because these were in the middle of the sunny part of the yard, and also because everything just needed a face lift... those trees had to go. It all had to go.

You can see some of the weird ground covering, or weeds here below:

 And for a pretty good idea of the backyard you can see the bottom two pictures here:

With the lilac trees gone, I weeded out two giant beds of plants that ran through the middle of the "lawn". Pulled out the bricks lining one of them and made a new flower bed with them against the house, and decided to temporarily keep the rocks lining the other bed in the sunnier part of the yard.

Mike bought me a wheel barrow, and I got busy digging out roots, filling in holes, carting off piles of old plants, and moving dirt to level the yard... the whole time I was loving every minute of it. I kept thinking "oh my gosh, I love this, maybe gardening is my new thing!" When everything was cleaned out... I had this awesome jelly-bean shaped garden: (you can see all the lawn trimmings behind the jelly bean)

We decided to plant tomatoes, peppers, onions and cilantro. So I planted the seeds, watered them, sang them "Let it Grow" by Eric Clapton, and prayed for the best.

After a few weeks of watering nothing was growing, and I mean NOTHING. I saw a few weeds starting to grow back and thought for sure the garden was doomed. Mike and I took turns being depressed and hopeful.... which I think really helped the garden, because every day at least one of us was giving it positive thoughts and water.

Then, wa la! all of a sudden stuff started growing... then they really started growing. 

I spent all day Saturday weeding, spacing, sipping diet coke, and helping my little plants out... I stood back in the late afternoon and was so happy with the success of the garden I decided to go buy some petunias to add some celebratory flare!

I love it.

Now my new favorite hobby is watching the tomatoes grow.

I hope you are also having some chill summer moments where time forgets about you, or that you get to try your hand at a new hobby or skill... it's been good for my mountain woman soul.

Peace and pine trees,

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