Mike and I have been hard at work on the yard at Ruston. Mike has made a huge amount of progress clearing out the area at the back of the house, and it looks great! Blackberries and laurel bushes are disappearing and we can finally get a real sense of the size of our yard (and we no longer have to navigate a tangle of brambles in the back - now if only the neighbor whose dog has been pooping up and down our freshly cleared yard could, I don't know, rein it in a bit) but getting such encouraging results is really satisfying. I have been busy tackling a Japanese knotweed problem on the West side of the house. It is very slow work. Imagine morning glory, but larger and roots that snap off just as easily (To regrow! Exciting!). Not exciting. I am now resigned to my fate, which resembles something of an archeologist excavating ancient knotweed ruins. If anyone has any miracle cures, tips for knotweed (flamethrower?), or morale-boosting success stories about its eradication, please share (or better yet, come help out!). Especially since on Tuesday I noticed two smaller patches around the front of the house. Boo.
We've been doing all this yard work instead of tackling the house directly in part because it's straightforward - no permits, just cutting and digging. But it's also a big prerequisite for other important jobs: up next on the list is fencing the front and the back (finally no more stray poops), replacing the crumbling railroad tie retaining wall with a new concrete retaining wall, getting a new electrical service put in (the main breaker panel right now is some ancient, incredibly unreliable type) as well as shoring up the precariously slumping front porch.
And here are some more pictures!
Ann and Mike