Operation: Kickass

We have implemented “Operation: Kick the Yard’s Ass.”

A couple weeks ago, we interviewed some landscapers, one of which we’re planning to hire in October to helps us rebuild all the extensive stonework in our yard and tackle some other taxing manual labor that we just really don’t want to do. Maybe re-sod all of our raised lawn, yada yada…

But in order to justify spending money on that, we’ve decided that we need to suck it up and clean up ALL the rest of the crap the previous ASSHOLE owners of the house left us. And believe us, though we’ve been out there working pretty much every weekend since we moved in, there’s still a lot of crap.

So, Step 1 in Operation: Kickass? Buy a suite of brand-new kickass yard tools:

  1. Weedwhacker
  2. Blower
  3. Electric trimmers
  4. Giant lops
  5. Mini lops

Step 2? Devote 1 – 2 hours every day (yes, every day: and so far, for the first week of the operation, we’ve been successful at this) to attacking the things we don’t want in the yard. This is where Jenny, the landscaper we liked, was helpful — she suggested what should stay and what should go, and what we might do until October when she and her team can fit us into their schedule to tackle the stonework.

Last night, as a finale before departing on our Labor Day adventure up at Lake Almanor, Trent successfully completed murdering half of the creeping monster growing by the side of our raised lawn. We actually thought it was a bush, but nope — it was actually just a vine that the previous assholes had merely allowed to grow into a giant tangle that looked like a bush, but tortured us constantly with its resistance to taming of any kind.

And I completed my first stab at saving our iris gardens. They were so overgrown with weeds when we moved in that I assumed they were just dead and would need to be cleared for the compost bin. Jenny taught me that they just needed to be cut down properly and the weeds combed out, so I gave it a shot…

A stand of our irises, clipped down.

The first stand of irises trimmed by me. I also had to free them from that dastardly bush to the left, but supposedly it will grow back and produce some lovely pink flowers… We’ll see?

Thank god for Youtube, is all I have to say on that one. I think I did this 100% correctly, except for the fact that it’s a little early in the year for an iris haircut. BUT — there was a lot of weedy debris in there choking the plants and it needed to be cleared. This was the only way it could be done, so please, irises — stay strong and come back next year.

Next week, while Trent murders the other half of the vine monster (which I’ll document in all its glory, don’t worry), I’ll go on to the ten other iris beds in our yard:

Irises in our yard, NOT clipped.


Then we’ll get ready to…

  • Mulch
  • Mulch
  • Mulch
  • Mulch


  • Mulch

All of the planting and the fun stuff will come next year, in spring, when the ground is soft and we have rain. Right now, it’s about battening this baby down, weed-free, before winter. We’ve learned that to be good, organic gardeners, we have to work on nature’s clock, and be patient (I know; this is a LOT of learning for me). Oh, and we have to work hard, too (luckily, I’m already good at that).

And, we really hate…

  • Morning Glory
  • Crab grass
  • Milk weed
  • People who let their yards go (extra hate)

Btw, if anyone is looking for a good, free workout that comes with a tan and beer at the end of it, come on by and join Operation: Kickass!

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7 thoughts on “Operation: Kickass

  1. Carla Daniels says:

    Workout, tan, and beer. I have never found the prospect of yard work so appealing until now.

  2. You pruned the irises correctly, however, they still may not bloom….depends on how long they’ve been planted there…they may need divided…see what happens in spring.

    • lisatemp says:

      I know. That’s a small bed, too. We have one about five times the size of that, and I’m thinking it needs to be divided. This first year, though, I’m just going to give it a shot and see what happens!

    • Margaret Wisniewski says:

      Spoken like the wonderful gardener that you are. I have seen and enjoyed your work! Love, Marge

  3. Lauren says:

    can you hook us up with the name of the landscaper? Does she go beyond just garden shiz? Like could we get some advice on breaking up concrete, decking, etc?

    • lisatemp says:

      Sure — Jenny Rieger at Columbine Landscaping. She’s a little on the gentle side, though. If you want to tear shit out and build new shit in its place, I got different peeps for ya. The guys who built our deck were AMAZEBALLS (they did all our concrete, too, and they’ll be at our housewarming).

  4. Margaret Wisniewski says:

    Funny language you west coasters speak! You have turned gardening into a whole new experience for me. Never did it, never liked it, but after reading this, I think I would give it a try. Leave the “dumb stuff” for me, like pulling weeds and digging dirt. That I can handle. And I could use a workout, a tan, and a beer. Geez, gardening may be the best option I have to get in shape and stay in shape. I always liked pulling weeds.

    And I have never seen gardening approached so “analytically” before. It figures that you would combine art and science to make this project work. Geez, you are your father’s daughter, Lisa. Combined with Trent’s weed pulling ability and his research skills, and the input of a serious gardener like Cathy, I suspect you will have a beautiful iris garden next year.

    Patience is a virtue that can be learned in gardening. I never had much of it, which is probably why I have never successfully gardened. At least you are learning what you need to know to keep balance in your lives.

    BTW, have you thought about writing a book about your experience? Two artists take on home ownership and entertain us all in the process. A sense of humor also runs in the family. To this day, I can’t turn on the garbage disposal without reflecting back on your argument for why garbage disposals are bad for the universe, let alone the plumbing. As a result, I am very cautious about what I put down there now. If I had a garden like you, I would throw it in the garden.

    Enjoy using your new lawn tools. Just remember to watch for phone and electrical lines when you are pruning. Made that mistake once. Or twice.



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