Backyard horror stories – Part 3

It is very hard to tear myself away from the engrossing (and emotional) debate on abortion and the Niketa Mehta case to more mundane issues. But given that I have already received all kinds of threats of bodily harm (and worse), I think it would be wiser to push on with the story πŸ˜›

If you have read Part 1 and Part 2 of this story, you would know that Twisted Ankle and Busted Back have set out to create a perennial bed in their backyard. They have had a few nasty surprises so far, and they think they have seen it all. Little do they know.

Armed with their design sketch for the perennial bed, TA and BB used a hose pipe to draw out an outline of the bed on the lawn. They spent the usual ten minutes arguing about the convexity of the curve and the length of the arc and the area of the segment. After everything was agreed to mutual satisfaction, TA and BB started cutting out a portion of the lawn.

In their minds, this was supposed to be the easiest part. In all the instructions and accounts you find on the Internet, this sounds incredibly easy. Just cut out around the outline, they say, and dig your shovel in, and the grass will automatically roll itself into neat bundles that look like large green swiss rolls.

But TA and BB were of the cautious type. So they budgeted a few hours to cut the lawn. It will be easy, they thought, but it might take some time. So they thought they would spend half of Saturday cutting the lawn, and then they would shovel powdered black dirt (a.k.a mud) to raise the height of the flower bed and plant flowers. Surely, cutting the lawn should only take a little more time than planting the perennials.

They were eagerly awaiting the weekend, when they could start planting. When TA and BB surveyed the garden one weekday evening and watering all the new plants, they looked at each other and said “Why wait until the weekend? Why not cut the lawn today?”

After all, cutting the lawn was only going to take half an hour.

So they started cutting. BB used a crowbar to dig out the outline of the bed. Then he dug under the lawn with a shovel. TA started to roll up the lawn.

They worked for an hour. They completed all of 3 feet.

At this point, TA realized that rolling up lawns was not a skill set she could list on her resume. So she regretfully gave up the attempt and started tearing out little patches of lawn. “Little” is a relative term, for these patches were one to two feet across, and seemed to weigh a few pounds each.

But progress was slow. TA and BB could see their weekday evenings getting booked with “cutting the lawn” listed prominently on their Outlook calendars.

After three days of work, they had managed to cut a somewhat rectangular patch that was 15 feet by 10 feet. Not even a third of their original grand design.

“We need a sod cutter”, BB said, trying to stay upright without clutching his back. “We should rent one from Big Box store.”

Unfortunately, the sod cutter also came with other requirements – a pickup truck to transport it, and two burly men to lift it into a truck. Neither of which were available.

So they decided to cut out the lawn in instalments. They decided to finish planting in the area that they had cut out.

When they had finished cutting out the lawn, they realized that there was a small hole in the middle of the cleared area.

“This must be a mole hill”, BB said. “Looks like we have moles too.”

“It doesn’t have any mud around it. More like a mole hole”, TA said as she too, shuddered at the prospect of sharing their garden with moles.

They doused the hole with water, but it seemed a shallow hole and no denizens came out. So they covered up the hole. Then TA and BB started raising the level of the entire bed by adding black dirt and compost. The black dirt supplier had thoughtfully delivered the entire truckload of mud on the front driveway, instead of the backyard as requested. He was very thoughtful; but he was thinking about his truck, and whether it would climb back up the steep slope to the backyard. So this dirt had to be ferried in a wheelbarrow, down the steep slope to the backyard.

TA and BB decided they might need 6 or 7 wheelbarrow loads of dirt. They started shoveling dirt into the wheelbarrow.

If you hear TA’s narrative, you would think she did most of the shoveling. She had developed a nice, clean and efficient technique for shoveling dirt into the wheelbarrow. BB, on the other hand, may insist that he did more shoveling because he used a much larger snow shovel. TA may counter that she shoveled in at least two shovel-loads of dirt for every shovel-load of BB.

The argument may never be satisfactorily resolved. But BB does not have a blog, so it’s TA’s views which we would hear πŸ™‚

They made eight or nine trips with the heavy wheelbarrow down the steep slope, BB carrying the wheelbarrow down. Somewhere between the shoveling and the even more difficult trips with the heavy wheelbarrow, BB officially became “Busted Back”, a title he maintains to this day. TA’s back held up gamely despite all the shoveling, but finally, while following Busted Back down the slope, she placed her foot in an uneven portion of the lawn and twisted her ankle.

“I think I stepped on another mole hole!”, Twisted Ankle said as she clutched her foot in pain.

“Well, at least it wasn’t a worm hole”, Busted Back said as he clutched his back. “Otherwise, where would you be? Ha ha”.

Twisted Ankle was not amused. She was hopping mad. Well, she was hopping, at any rate.

“Let’s stop here today”, she said, and Busted Back was only too happy to agree.

As the shadows deepened across the lawn, Twisted Ankle and Busted Back walked back, dragging their long shovels like weary batsmen at the end of a successful day at Lords.

(To be continued. The story concludes in the next part.)

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8 thoughts on “Backyard horror stories – Part 3

  1. Ok, my axe is poised somewhat uncomfortably, midway between lopping and not – so let’s have the last instalment without any more incendiary/inflammatory/emotional posts getting in the way of the conclusion… deal kya? πŸ˜€

    Deal πŸ™‚ Now will you put down that axe please? It’s making me (and your laptop) nervous.
    I want to finish this saga soon too, especially since I can hear that the groans from the audience are getting louder and louder! 😦 Why do people not like loong gardening stories?

  2. OMG, another post?

    I was refraining from commenting as i wanted to read the whole story in one go! been watching desi serials offlate? You could rename the post ‘Kahani garden ki’, or ‘Kissa perenial plants ka’. Ok I’ll stop, I’m trying to be as polite as possible you see!

    maxdavinci: That would be KKKahani Gardken kkki? πŸ˜‰ No serial watcher me, but it looks like I have a great future in writing them πŸ˜‰ The question is, will anybody watch? Purple coneflowers don’t cry incessantly, nor do they have any mothers-in-law that I know of..

  3. I’m definitely readin’ and learnin’ from this, Lekhni.
    Now to get my husband to agree to be dragged away from his laptop and cellphone to indulge in the joys of cutting out the lawn for my grandiose plans of replacing my haphazard flower beds in the front yard with proper planned beds. πŸ˜‰

    Lekhni: Be warned, once you start, it’s the perennial bed which will start dictating plans! I never realized those tiny plants could be such tyrants!

  4. Shyam definitely has support from other engrossed readers!

    Lekhni: I can see that πŸ™‚ But the end is near, never fear πŸ™‚ Well, the end of the blog series. The gardening itself, to misquote Churchill, is nowhere near the end. Or even the beginning of the end. It’s just nearing the end of the beginning. 😦

  5. A picture is worth a thousand words. πŸ˜‰

    Lekhni: You are right, but you shall have to settle for the thousand words (or four) for now 😦 The perennial bed is still nowhere near being photogenic at this stage, and I haven’t taken any pictures. (Though some of the plants are in bloom, all the thumbnails in the posts are from those). I am beginning to worry that the only time the perennial bed will look good is when it’s buried under a thick layer of snow πŸ˜‰

  6. I bet BB was holding the wheel barrow behind and TA was seemingly controlling it from the front. Right? πŸ˜‰

    Lekhni: Nope πŸ™‚ Busted Back would push the wheel barrow down the steep slope. Twisted Ankle would follow lazily, admiring the view and counting the neighbor’s tomatoes. The wheelbarrow, meanwhile, would try to make a mad dash down the slope, like a dog that has seen a rabbit.

  7. I’ve always maintained that apartment nothing beats apartment living. This only confirms my belief!!
    But I’m sure all this effort will be worth it one day – and look how happy you’re making your readers!!
    Kamini.

    Lekhni: I can see that you are not a big fan of roof deck gardens, then πŸ™‚
    On the fruit of these efforts, I can see, one day in the future, someone reading a book, listening to birdsong and the “plop” of fish in the pond, sitting under a shady tree, in a bench surrounded by flowers, all in this very same garden. The only issue is, I strongly suspect that someone would not be me 😦

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