One of the things it did not occur to me to look at is what the ground underneath the mulch in our yard is like. Sure, I was prepared for it to not be the best soil. Our dirt at the old house was mostly clay and sand. I decided to take a much needed break from unpacking and preparing for the big, annual fundraiser at my work tomorrow (which I fear may kick my ass ...) by planting the Mountain Ash that I brought with me from our old house.
So, I go out with my gloves and shovel and tell my husband (who was home grappling with the clusterfuck that is Comcast Cable ... despite a perfectly competent technician who was crippled by the incompetency of the admin. portion of the business). Anyway, I announced I was going out to plant a tree to try and relax. I get out there, try to take out a shovel full of dirt so I can remove one of the generic/unflowering plants but in the builders five years ago and the shovel clanks and doesn't go more than an inch into the dirt. That is weird, I think. Must be a really shallow root. So I try again. Every where I try to dig the shovel clanks and won't go further than an inch. I start scraping away topsoil and mulch and see that my yard - underneath a find layer of topsoil/mulch is pure, solid gray clay pack. Or more accurately - concrete. This picture (from somebody else's blog) is what my yard would look like if you took away the inch layer of topsoil. I'm wondering how any plants are actually growing in it.
My husband came outside to heckle me for a little bit and I told him he shouldn't laugh because I am going to employ him to be the one to do the digging. I was going to plant a bunch of new plants in the yard (all flowering ones - like heathers, lavender, azaleas, maybe a rhododendron) but we'd have to dig a lot of holes and it and I never succeeded in digging a hole for my tree. I got about two inches down and my back was killing me and I was starting to get an RA flare-up in my shoulders and hands so I had to stop. That's when it occurred to me that we need a backho. Especially because over in a corner by our porch, there is place where the water runs off a weird section of gutter and creates a big puddle, and I think it'd be cool to put a little water garden there. It's also right next to an outdoor outlet so we could put in a pump and everything and make it look really nice. But I am not going to dig three feet down in that clay crap. I don't think I'm physically capable of doing that.
So, new gardening challenge! Luckily, we had already decided on doing raised beds for the vegetable garden this spring. And the area by the porch where I'm going to plant wildflower seeds (there are already daffodil bulbs so I'm going to plant some summer wildflowers to keep the color in that area longer) will work fine because wildflowers do well in rough soil. If I can get some holes dug, there are specific soil conditioners, like types of compost that I could fill in to put in my new plants. I just have to figure out some toil I can use other than a shovel (or my poor husband) that will enable me to get those holes dug. Must research. I do think a small backho would be awesome.
Meanwhile, I haven't gotten to spend more time with my horse like I am hoping to even though I live so close now. All of my time has been going to unpacking and working extra hours to get stuff ready for the big even we're having for my work tomorrow. I'm in charge of everything financial, collecting and tracking and processing donation and sales and making sure I get all that information from the guests at the event. I've never done run the financial end of something like this before so I've had to meet with a couple people who have done that to learn how to do it, then I have had to set up the entire protocol and procedure and find volunteers to help me and train them. Sigh. I've been making a lot of spreadsheets to track stuff. And writing out lists of procedures, then realizing that there is a stumbling block I need to figure out how to get around *before* the event starts. It's a lot of work. But it will be a great addition to my resume if I can actually pull it off! And it feels good to be trusted with this much responsibility and it's nice to try something new - usually I'm the back room girl crunching numbers by myself but there is a lot more managerial work in this task so that's new and challenging.
I've met some of the people in my new neighborhood now too so I don't feel quite so lonely like I was starting to feel here in our first week. After a couple days here I was feeling a little homesick for my neighbors in the city but I've met four families on our block and even hung out a bit with one mom who I've really hit it off with, and my daughter has already had a playdate with her daughter and has a new buddy literally one house away so that's really nice. I'm surprised how friendly and open the people I've met have been so far. It's just like the street we left in Seattle where I knew almost everyone and could hang out on the front porch in summer and people would stop as they were walking by and hang out and chat. I am so relieved to have found a similar, friendly community! And we love this new house. I don't think I can adequately express how much we love this new house. Other than the crappy clay soil it is the perfect house for us and already feels like home.