Once again we have here a series of photos which might give you, dear reader, the impression that I spend most of the designated home improvement time wandering around in my kitten heels, camera at hand, perhaps daintily mopping the brows of those who do "the real work." Guess what? Photos lie.
That photo there depicts hour three in the great Labour Day Sod Removal experiment that I foolishly undertook alone last Monday afternoon. By Wednesday evening a muscle in my back had seized up so tight that Martin actually had to help me in and out of bed. Not a pretty picture.
You see with summer coming to a rapid close I'm starting to get a bit antsy about getting the garden in shape for the coming down time. There are plants to be transplanted that were gifts from Grandma's garden (rhubarb, lavitera and a hearty hydrangea) some of which need new beds to be dug, there are weeds to get under control, roses to trim and there was this bed along the one side of the front yard to reclaim.
When we bought the house a mere 2 months and a few weeks ago now this bed, which houses two beautiful old rose bushes and some shrubs, was teetering on the grass/dirt edge. And what with the floors to be sanded, walls to be painted and so on and so forth, the bed fell to the bottom of the list. On the day of the great dirt distribution, this bed also fell to the wayside as I packed it in sore and stiff at the end of the day, as it had unfortunately gone too far into grassland to just have dirt dumped on top, the sod had to be broken up. Well 2 months of glorious summer later and the bed was all but totally solid lawn, with only a faint outline of its former dirty self.
So, while Martin and his daughter did some post-birthday spending of her gift-certificates etc downtown, I took out the shovel and got to work. Shortly thereafter I began to curse. And sweat. And no more than 10 minutes into it one of the many passing Italian ladies in the neighbourhood stopped to supervise my activities. Our conversation followed a typical format:
- How am I liking the neighbourhood?
- How old is that charming little girl that comes to stay everyweek? And is she my daughter? No? Pity.
- There are no other children in the house? A baby maybe? No? Pity.
- That's hard work. Yes? That is not women's work. Your husband should do that.
I typically don't argue with these gals about the fact that Martin and I aren't married. And given that I know these gals are typically tough as nails, I try not to take offense and the implication that I don't have what it takes to get things done, for I know theirs is a rule of convention not ability. But as I dug through that sod, continually hitting large rocks, and wrestling with the tenacity of the grass I started to think they had a point.
By the time the second one came along, I agreed with her. Yes, this was man's work. And darn it, where was my husband anyway...?
And so, when Martin and his daughter returned from downtown I happily passed over the shovel so that he could finish off the job. He finished the edges and brought some more dirt around from the back, and she did an excellent job of mixing the new dirt in with the hoe.
Later, Martin told me that when I was in the house making dinner (in the kitchen where a woman should be!) that the neighbourhood gals walking past all gave him the nod of approval. Order was restored.