Andy has been taking a load of boxes to work each day and then dropping them off at the house after work. He's now pretty much single-handedly removed all or most of the boxes in the apartment, save for those which are too big for the car, those which need a large amount of TLC, and those which fall into both categories. It may finally be time to release the books from their exile in the outdoor closet.
The other day I had a very belated brainstorm. We had been planning to put a waterfall and pool in the courtyard and I was going to try to make it look foresty -- interesting look when one's tree plan for the courtyard consists of a single tree. The side yards I plan to do wildflowers with a little help; I'll sow the seeds, but then let them make it or not on their own. The back yard we were going to turf, since Andy absolutely wants at least some grass. Also, after checking out a local nursery, we decided that I can pull up one of the plants which I really think is ugly and replace it with a rose bush. The hard part was narrowing it down to just one rose bush, and something we planned to deal with later.
Two days ago I suddenly realized there was no reason to insist on the fountain in the courtyard, and that we can remove the gravel and turf there. It's about a third as large as the back yard, so we might even go for some of the nicer (read: more water hungry) turf than we would have to use for the backyard. It also means I don't have to try to figure out something to do to make sure our landscaping falls within ABQ legal limits, and may even make us eligible for ABQ xeriscape kickbacks. Also, I finally got some information which I simply could not find on the internet; thanks to echoweaver and her hubby. It has to do with the various virtues and vices of bluegrass and the alternative drought-tolerant grasses they tout so much.
Anyway, I sat down with a ruler and some paper and made a grid of our backyard, then a plan on what to do with it. It was generally a windbreak of blue spruces, nine deciduous trees, and plans to mulch with pine needles and to start planting shade and drought tolerant wildflowers next year. Luckily I showed it to Andy, because he figured out something I had missed -- on a scale of 1/2cm to 1 ft, 2cm equals four feet, not forty. Oopsie. I revised a bit and came up with a plan which used nine blue spruces, one red and one sugar maple and one sycamore. We have a sycamore just outside of our apartment which Andy has adored since day one, and which he's often joked about wanting to dig up and take with us. It's moderate to high water usage, but by the time that would be a problem I hope we will have long since installed plumbing to facilitate gray water use.
That evening, while flailing about trying to figure out how to get all of the trees, one of my searches turned up the Arbor Day Foundation page. Their trees have two prices, member and non-member. They also had a deal going for members wherein any tree purchase qualified the member for a free red maple, and their sugar maple was taller and cheaper than any I've found yet. So I went to check out membership. For $10.00 they give you ten free trees and, for new sign-ups, a free Sharon Rose. The ten tree choices were various fruits or various oaks... or Colorado blue spruces. No-brainer, anyone? So they won't be shipping to us until October and possibly as late a December. This leaves me time, in theory, to do some soil treatments to make the ground more hospitable for young trees. Plus, I had been wanting to join the Arbor Day Foundation for years.
Yesterday was D-Day; D for delivery. Andy dropped me off on his way to work. I had been planning on on spending most of the day putting more of my fanfic on paper or, to be more precise, on Andy's laptop. I was desperately hoping I wouldn't be bored out of my skull. Then at 9am or so I remembered that there was shelving where the freezer was supposed to go. I went to our across-the-street neighbor and asked to borrow a screwdriver. Andy and I had met her before and she mentioned being into landscaping. I asked her about my idea for our 750 sq ft forest paradise by way of sanity check, and she said it sounded both pretty and feasible, though she thought 6ft apart (the recommended distance quoted by everyone, even the Arbor Day group, as optimal for windbreak/privacy) might be a bit too close.
The shelf-removal was annoying but accomplished, and then I decided to try to measure the courtyard to get an estimate of how much ground cover we would need. The little 12" ruler I brought was not going to work for anything over about three yards, so I measured the boxes and found one whose width was a foot long. Then I became possessed. By the time I was done I had what I hope are accurate measures of the courtyard, a graph showing how much turf we need after eliminating the sidewalk and porch and such, and an estimate of which parts of the house overlook which parts of the back yard. Because I really had no way of sanity-checking my courtyard measurements I just used several different overlapping goals for measurement; several east-west and several north-south passes (due to the curves) and several plant/rock placement passes. I think I probably got pretty darned close, although we'll need a tape measure to make sure.
Between measuring; answering worker questions; putting all warranties and receipts in one place; putting all installation guides and spare materials in another; and filling out every warranty card I could find, I ended up not even opening the laptop case and certainly not being bored. I also revised the backyard plan to include six blue spruces instead of nine, placed eight feet apart instead of six. When I mentioned the blue spruces and maples to our neighbor she mentioned that those were two of her favorite trees. I think I'll give her first refusal on the four I'll be getting and not using. Any other ABQ folks who might be interested in one or more please comment or tell me next time you see me.
I probably won't be updating KC pages for a while, and I've been spending very little time there. Everyone in PACA understands, and I plan to start going regularly again as soon as possible. Seven was almost adopted; the woman fell for her hard but decided she wanted her for her birthday but never showed up on Saturday. Sigh. Poor Seven; she is the most affectionate cat ever and everyone who comes in falls in love with her, but no one ever adopts her. It's probably the kink in her tail (hence her name), but whatever the reason it's sad to see her passed up so frequently.
We may also have found a home close-to-home for Sasha. Mom said she wasn't in a position to get a new dog even though Sasha fit all of her requirements: mild-mannered, small, Aussie, and so on. Yesterday mom called and told me to call Uncle Doug and Julie. Uncle Doug's friends' Aussie, Jessie, was the sire of my first Aussie, Mandy. He adopted Mandy's brother and, after JJ (Jesse Junior) died, adopted Winnie (for Winnie the pooh since she is a bear-shaped Aussie) who is the calmest Aussie I've ever met. They also now have Jazper, a blue merle who is easily the most hyper Aussie I've ever met. Winnie is dying, though, and since they haven't replaced carpeting/furniture in years and since Julie works part-time so can be home to care for a puppy, they figure now might be a good time to get one. I hope it works out; I wouldn't get to see Sasha very often, but she would still be in the family. They're going to talk it over for the next few days and get back to me.
As noted in callicrates' journal, I'll be doing the stay-at-the-house thing again on Thursday. I hope they show up this time. I wonder if I'll actually get any writing done.