Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Walls Fall

Built in 1891,  our cozy little house on Wyoming Street has been brimming with possibilities for years.  The previous owner probably hoped that there was a possibility that some rube would come along and buy it.  During my first week living there I was quickly presented with the possibility that without 100 plus years of wallpaper hold it up, the plaster could start falling off.  Among these possibilities my wife and I discovered a few potentially positive possibilities.

One of those potentials was curb appeal.  Surrounded by a high wall of hard to manage hedges, the home looked like a tiny boxer, mitt covered fists poised, up in front as if to protect its face.  A daunting task, I spent a few years asking everyone I knew what the best plan off attack might be.  It wasn't until Mary signed up for a class to learn how to cast fine metals that I got up the reckless nerve to do something about it.

My first thought was to cut part of it down with hedge clippers.  I thought it might be easier if I could concentrate on the roots alone.  Once a sheared the most out-of-the way plant, I discovered that with a mighty bit of digging and heaving and hoeing, I could actually dig the ball from the ground.  That evening, Mary walked up the front sidewalk and into the front door.  It was dark & she missed the whole pile.

Over the course of the next two days I worked in the sun and rain until the wall of hedges was in a massive pile between our house and the neighbor's house, a space approximately 2ft wide known around  our neighborhood as a gangway.  We worked all that Saturday bagging up the debris and hauling it off to the yard refuse bins provided by the city placed in the alley behind the house.  While pulling the hedges from the ground, Mary & I discovered 100 or more bricks, some partially unearthed, others buried below the roots, evidence of some early landscaping.  Later in the year we lined the edge of the sidewalk with our found bricks making for an inviting path to the house.

A year later, the grass had almost completely recovered.  In place of the wall of hedges, we planted a Redbud tree to accompany the Bradford pear the city had planted the year before.

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