…the forest for the trees

Sometimes, I get completely overwhelmed by the never ending to-do lists. It seems that, for every item crossed off that list, two more items get added to it.

I got the dirt raked around the storm shelter. I even created channels for rainwater to run off the slope of the shelter. Cross one off the list!

If only we could end the story there…

Poor Mollie has been coming inside with fleas. I don’t understand HOW, since she is on the Bravecto pills and wears a Seresto collar, but there it is. So we have to treat the yard for fleas now, and find a way to treat the half-feral cats for fleas as well.

I am constantly covered in mosquito bites, so now we need to start doing something about mosquitos. There is a plant that grows wild around here, a beautyberry bush, that is a natural mosquito repellent. Sunshine says he grabs a handful of these berries, smooshes them, and rubs the juice on his skin. I think we are going to go to the big property and dig up a bunch of these beautyberry bushes to transplant them to our yard here.

side note: a third thing added to the to-do list is transplanting blackberry bushes. Our friend that lives a few minutes from here has more blackberry bushes than anybody could ever figure out what to do with. They grow so thick that he can’t get to them to harvest them all, so he has invited us to come dig up as many as we want to transplant them to our front fence line.

I stand here in the yard and I look around and I feel like we are facing an impossible task. There is so much to do, and we are only two people (two people with medical issues that reduce our functionality some days), and I just want to go inside and binge watch something mindless on Netflix.

But then the neighbors make offhand comments about how much better the property looks and I am reminded that a fucking lot has been accomplished here.

I remember how abandoned this place looked when Mr. B bought it. The house wasn’t visible from the road because the giant tree in front of it had not been pruned in ages and ages, so the branches had almost reached back down to the ground. There was a hot ass mess of some kind of grape vines, some poison ivy type vines, and some other random vines growing out-of-control under the giant tree, and a cedar tree had sprung up in the middle of that tangle of vines. There was a busted ass gazebo sitting in the side yard, a fucking mailbox and a busted ass concrete puma statue and one half of a concrete birdbath in the tangle of vines, garage door panels half buried under the clothesline, piles of debris hither thither and yon, random clumps of bushes/weeds/grass/cactus strewn across the landscape, the house desperately needed leveling and siding, the roof was straining under the weight of leaves and dead branches, the fence was rickety and chunks of it were missing…..

As much as I like to poke at Mr B for starting a task and then jetting off to his next appointment (or watermelon, or whatever), I am glad he got out there with a saw attachment on his weedeater and pruned the tree in the front yard–even if he did leave all the bits right where they fell. It started to reveal the potential this property had, the potential we knew was there but could only imagine.

Since then, Sunshine has leveled the house and created a beautiful stone exterior for it. He got rid or the rickety, creepy, tiny carport. The busted ass gazebo is gone. Giant piles of useless metal have been given to the local scraper, others have been salvaged for reuse. Appliances have been yanked out of random places in the woods and given to that same scrapper. We have mostly beaten the grass into submission (just don’t look at the edges of the yards/fields–we’re afraid to get that overgrown mess thinned out because we know that there are more random piles of junk/garbage/crap hiding there and would like some help getting it cleaned up). We have fixed the fence (well, at least it was fixed until the fucking cows busted some of it up again). We have mostly cleaned up the random clumps of bushes/cacti/flowers(?)/weeds that were growing willy-nilly on the property. We have cleaned the hoard out of the barn and made it a semi-functional space to store equipment and shit. We have started a small garden. We have a chicken house, and there are chickens in it. We’ve driven the mice (and subsequently, the snakes) away from the house and back to the wilderness where they belong. We have a storm shelter. We have laundry machines and a clothes line…..

Some days, I can’t see the forest for the trees. Some days, I get overwhelmed by the list of shit to do and the lack of help in getting so much of it done. Then along comes a friendly neighbor to remind us that we have accomplished a lot.


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