Spring does wonderful things to my outlook on home improvement. Watching everything start to recover from months of being frozen wasteland reminds me that even stalling a bit when working on the house doesn't have to mean I've completely fallen off the renovation wagon.
Saturday of each week I try to go for a walk along Lake Michigan with some girlfriends. It's my only set "grownups only" time so I really try not to miss it. Lance likes it because he gets daddy-daughter time before Rowan takes a nap. Today my plan was to go for my walk and then go home and resume painting on the office. But as I have posted before...plans change. It was so glorious outside that I couldn't bring myself to work indoors. So instead I opted for yard cleanup. Boy will I be sore tomorrow!
I managed to get up all the little tiny leaves that had fallen off the trees late in the year that we didn't get up before it snowed. I also cleaned out some flower beds along the foundation. Last fall there were orange flowers that I have no idea what they were but they had an over-abundance of pollen that turned anything that walked past them orange. They were about the same color as marigolds...but I do know what a marigold looks like so I know that's not what they were. Anyway, the previous owners didn't keep the beds in very good shape and they were covered in dead leaves when we moved in. I was so preoccupied with trying to get the inside livable that I didn't even notice the beds (except of course, to notice they turned my shoes orange )
Today I cleaned out all the leaves and noticed 7 plants coming up in the beds. I am an idiot when it comes to plants so had to ask the neighbors what they were. She informed me that they are Hostas. I actually know what Hostas look like once they've come in so I am very excited. At least this year I won't have to worry about flower beds with nothing in them. I don't know that we will always leave them there, but for now it just means there are plants I don't have to give much thought to.
I was also able to over-seed the front yard. The grass is really patchy. I think it is probably because the large tree in the front yard is shading the yard too much and so grass isn't growing. I also think the roots of the tree are taking most of the water so the grass is getting none. Either way, I used a good shade hardy seed and with any luck will notice some new green in my lawn soon.
We did get a bit of bad news today. The very large, very lovely tree in our front yard that is robbing our grass of water appears to be sick. I believe it is a paper birch and has probably been in the yard as long as the house has been there judging from the size. When I was cleaning out the planting bed around the base of the tree I bumped the trunk and was very startled to discover a red fluid come gushing out. At first I thought some kind of animal had died inside the trunk but then realized that it was probably just rainwater mixing with tree sap in a hollow spot under the bark. I pulled away a piece of bark only to discover large areas of decay under the bark. After closer inspection I realized that one of the two large trunks on the tree looks like it has been in bad shape for a long time. I don't know if anything can be done to save the tree but hopefully I can get someone out to take a look at it this week. If it can't be saved we will have the added expense of having this HUGE tree removed from the front yard.
If anyone is familiar with tree diseases or has suggestions on good places to contact to save a sick tree, please feel free to post a comment or e-mail me. I would love to save this beautiful tree if I can.