A couple of weeks ago, my dad presented me with a lovely little lemon tree. He has two out at the farm, which produced so many lemons this past year that he was giving them away left and right. I, the ever hopeful gardener, expressed an interest in growing some fruit. We'd planned to make the trek to the gulf together, but fate pulled us in different directions and he went alone, leaving my lemon tree on the front lawn.
They do best in full sun and that's where I have a little problem. Most of my backyard is shaded most of the time. There are periods during the day when it blasts us from above, but they are too brief to sustain a lemon tree. My attention turned to the front yard. There's a dying but not-yet-dead dogwood occupying the perfect spot, but even if we took it down now, there would be stumpage to deal with. So I looked around my front yard and after consulting with Darling Man, we decided on a spot right in front of the front door. Not blocking the door, but on the other side of the flowerbed, out in the lawn.
Having finally decided on a spot, I returned from church today, changed into grubbies and gathered my tools. They consisted of a wheelbarrow and an apparently very dull shovel. Who knew you had to sharpen a shovel? I made a few dents in the grass, even after jumping up and down on the shovel to no avail. I am not tiny but could not seem to generate the force needed to break through the grass.
I got a glass of water, sat on the front step and pondered this unexpected obstacle. It seemed that getting through the grass would be the first step... a lightbulb went off and I dashed back inside the house, re-emerging with a large chef's knife.
A man tooling down the street on his scooter slowed considerably as he passed me house, no doubt wondering what I was killing as I as on all fours and vigorously stabbing the ground in front of me. He sped up as I looked up and saw him. I did manage to remove a sizeable chunk of grass, which I piled up next to my work area, then I got the shovel and tried again.
Another dent. Damn.
So it was back to stabbing. Stab a while, then scoop it out with the shovel and into the wheel barrow. I must have looked demented to the neighbors - none of whom were brave enough to ask what I was doing. The going was still slow, so I sat down on teh grass with the hole between my legs and stabbed that way for a bit until I stumbled on the secret. From this lower vantage point, not all my stabs were straight in... some were at an angle so that when I lifted the knife to pull it out, it loosened even MORE soil!
Now I was on a roll! I continued my manical stabbing only now with the new and improved stab-and-lift motion and finished the rest of my hole in fairly short order, taking a short break during which I discovered that my stabbing hand had swollen up a bit, making the glove difficult to put back on. My wheelbarrow was full of dirt, my hair was full of dirt (a fair amount flies with my new hole-digging method), and my knees were downright grubby. Leaving the hole for the time being, I got cleaned up and went to see "The Hunger Games" with my son and our friend Ute. I needed the break from all that stabbing....
On my return home, Darling Man and I began mixing sand and pine bark in with the dirt to create an acidic soil for my lemon tree, finally planting it, watering it in and hoping for the best. The grass I'd removed was placed up by the mailbox with extra dirt thrown on top and the rest of the dirt distributed along the driveway in a hopeful bid to fill the trench hidden under the grass that causes visitors to nearly break their ankles if they step off the concrete. That may take a few more applications though.
Now, if only I can keep the leaf curlers from taking up residence....