Sunday I spent about nine hours in the yard, tearing out the front flower bed we put in last year, moving all the rock somewhere else, straightening the stone border, putting in new dirt and planting flowers. I removed the ghosts of last year's hostas and dug down into the clay soil to put in some flowers that Piper had picked out. Things much more sun-loving than my pretty but doomed hostas - violas, pansies, some pink thing that starts with a d.
I used all the huge chunks of clay soil I dug out to make room for the flowers to fill in some low spots in the front yard, which involved lots of hacking at damp chunks of brick-red (and brick-like) clay with a broken shovel in order to break them up. I put some garden soil over the fills, and grass-patch stuff over that. Between the orangey-red clay and the bright-green grass patch, my yard looks like a faded vintage Christmas card.
Now I am watering the ever-loving crap out of everything, hoping that the 80-degree-plus weather and super-dry winds we've been having don't kill everything before it gets started. In order not to bust our budget (plus, we live in drought country), I've become the Water Marshall of the house, collecting every spare drop and dumping it on the yard. I put buckets in all the bathrooms to catch the water that we inevitably run before it gets hot enough to shower in; I dip out dishwater that's not too grimy and truck it out to the yard. It's pretty labor-intensive, but I desperately want a nice yard this year. If we were staying in this house, I'd love to install some fancy Dwell-approved graywater system, but something like that would cost more than our entire house is currently worth.
I am also nursing full-body muscle aches from my afternoon of toil. Ye Gods, I ache. And it's worse today than yesterday. My legs, my back, my arms - everything I could possibly pull or strain or max out, I did. I could go soak in a nice, hot bath, but I'd probably guilt myself into dumping the water on the yard after.