Backyard Muddin’

Here in Maine we have four seasons…kind of…summer is a little short.  These seasons include summer, fall, winter, and mud season.  Spring here is usually disgusting.  While the rest of the country is blooming we’re still fending off snow storms and watching the raging rivers of water flow through our yards.  Although this spring was mucho mild thanks to a weird, warm winter, meaning our yard wasn’t quite as swampy as normal.  However, due to warm temps and minimal snow cover our lawn took one serious beating this winter.

Gross.  So much mud yet so little grass.  Colby and I are bound and determined to grow a gorgeous lawn or die trying (not really…there are better things to die for…like cake!)  so we wasted no time and got to work this weekend.  We’ve got a couple of issues with the lawn.  First, we live in the middle of a hill so come spring time there is literally a river running across our yard.  Sometimes it gushes so hard and fast that Goose has a hard time fording it.  I’m slightly inclined to give him a life vest as he goes out to pee in the mornings.  Second, there’s quite the depression in the middle of the yard, meaning the water comes into our yard but doesn’t move along down the hill as it should, it kind of pools.  Not cool.  I love swimming pools and all but not of the mud bath variety.  You can kind of see the depression in the pic above if you look beyond the adorable obnoxious pup in the foreground.  Here’s a closeup of the “lawn”:

But anyway, we went ahead with our first attack round on Mission Grow A Lawn this past weekend, which included digging a few drainage ditches, filling them with drainage gravel, and covering them with top soil.  But more importantly, we wanted to first and foremost fill that gully in the yard in hopes that water will no longer pool in there.  So we armed up:

Our supplies included about $40 worth of top soil from Lowes, grass seed, and a couple bails of hay from the local feed supply store, Blue Seal.  It’s amazing how many bags of dirt $40 can buy but how small of a percentage of your yard it covers!  Ridonkulous!  The dirt moving started by moving the huge pile of “basement dirt” from the shed area to the gully area.  And what exactly is basement dirt?  Well, let me explain.  Basement dirt is all the dirt that Colby has removed from the old dirt floor, basement workshop that he’s slowly been digging out to make it roomier for his 6’5″ self, and replace the dirt floor with cement.  It’s a slow process.  Anyway, I ended up shoveling and moving about 12 wheelbarrow loads of dirt, which is 12 wheelbarrow fulls too many for this chica, and spreading it throughout the gully area.

I moved a lot of dirt, like a lot A LOT of dirt.  I filled some areas of the gully with as much as six inches worth of dirt, trying to level out the yard if not leave a slight slope for the water to run across our yard come spring time/rain storm time.  Normally moving dirt is a Colby type job but he was busy building me something special (hint hint…it may or may not be a potting bench…yippee). So after I shoveled enough dirt to get down to the frozen section of the dirt pile I gave it up and it was time to layer on the top soil.  I raked the top soil into the clay type dirt from the basement for a good, grass growing mix.  A garden rake really helped make this chore easier.

After all the top soil was mixed into the clay, Colby and I covered the area with grass seed and layered on some hay.

Goose helped.

There was definitely a moment of prancing around the yard with a mouthful of hay.  And yes, I’m talking about Goose…not the Colb-ster.  Using hay to cover our freshly seeded lawn is one thing I learned from my parents.  They always did this.  I’ve learned that layering hay over your grass seed not only keeps moisture in, helping the seeds start growing, but it also helps keep the seed from blowing away.  The hay shelters and protects the seed and young lawn.

Now that this phase of the project is done and we’re patiently awaiting our lawn to start growing, I have a confession.  I hate dirt.  More specifically, I hate mud.  It’s gross and nasty and probably my least favorite material to work with.  So I’m pretty proud of myself for lasting through this project so long.  Although I did ruin a pair of sneakers.

Yes, that’s about 3 inches of dirt caked onto the bottom of my sneaker.  I felt like I was wearing heels with 5 lb ankle weights attached to them.  I may have ruined an old pair of sneakers but it was just the excuse I needed to pick up that pair of pink rubber boots I’ve been visiting at Target on a weekly basis over the last month.

This was only the first phase of Mission Grow A Lawn and we have good intentions of repeating the dirt moving/lawn seeding process in several other areas of our yard.  We just didn’t think it would be terribly smart on our behalf to mud up our entire yard all at once.  For our sanity, and overactive dog’s sake, we thought moving in topsoil and seeding our yard in segments would be way smarter.  So I will definitely get my money’s worth out of those boots as our lawn work continues.  Stay tuned.

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