Here instead of there

The dog seems to be having some health issues, so our trip to Utah is off. No worries, there are plenty of things to do around here.

Yesterday we went and bought a few desert plants for the backyard. Brittlebush, heavenly cloud sage, and my all time favorite desert plant, creosote bush. I will include some pictures of the project below.

It is going to take a LONG time for the backyard to grow in. The Cop did the work, and I sat on a rock and watched. At the end, I said, “Lots of people would think we are crazy.” He agreed.

When we moved in, the back yard had grass, a pool, a big white pool fence, hibiscus bushes, rose bushes, and fruit trees. We are slowly transforming it into a self-sustaining desert yard. At this point, it is a dirt lot with a couple of palms (which we’ll keep) and two fruit trees (we’re going to remove the one in the back yard and keep the one in the side yard). So yes, we are really starting from scratch.

When I am around desert plants, though, I am always happy. Reminded of camping trips and hikes in the desert. I think the meditative state that comes after (surviving) a day of climbing makes one particularly attuned to one’s surroundings. I would always sit in camp, looking out over the desert, and think about the fact that no matter how the day had gone — whether I had survived or not — the desert itself would have continued on: the life of the planet and all of its creatures, plant and animal forms, would carry on. Night would fall and everything would go about its business. And there is something really soothing and powerful in that.

So I am happy to think of an (eventual) desert landscape out back. Found some extreme-weather yard furniture that is made of recycled materials, which seems pretty cool. I want to sit out there in the evenings and smell the creosote and sage.

I kept crunching the creosote leaves and breathing onto them (adds some humidity, which makes them exude their fragrance) and sniffing them. I am happy that they will enjoy the rain and the wind and the sun. And the plants we are choosing have seeds and fruit and flowers that attract and feed creatures that live around here — the desert birds and lizards and butterflies.

We’ll just slowly keep planting away. Large shrubs first, then we’ll move on to flowers, and then trailing vines and groundcover. A long project, but a really satisfying one. Something we can just work through, slowly and methodically.

***

And in practice news, I am writing practice notes in my notebook. In pencil, in longhand. Right alongside my dreams. Somehow appropriate to the current practice, which is a change-up from what I’ve been doing and needs some longhanded attention and privacy.

***

Creosote and wheelbarrow:

The Cop plants brittlebush:

Waiting to be planted:

Where the pool was:

Maxine helps:

Creosote seed:

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7 Responses

  1. Maxine looks like a great helper.

  2. I love creosote! So much culture and folkway around it too… and if I remember right it’s the original source of charcoal. And the neighbors have prickly-pear! Maybe you can trick it to grow right over the wall.

    And hi, Cop. The last pic (spaghetti monster) was more tough-guy-ish, but you still look pretty tough.

  3. That’s cool. We’ve been talking about ditching our tiny patch of lawn in favor of an English garden (desert scape wouldn’t work here!) The kids still want the grass, but it seems so unneccessary (the mowing, the watering, the fretting, the comparing green quality versus cheating neighbors (chem lawn – blecch!)

  4. I would totally want an English garden if I lived out your way, Cody. I used to work in a bookstore, and I LOVED the mags that showed English gardens. So beautiful.

    I already have been kind of laughing to myself about how, someday in the distant future, we might decide to sell the house. And I imagine the prospective buyers going out back and saying, “Dude! This is just an undeveloped lot!” Definitely a different aesthetic than the usual Scottsdale yard. I wonder, though, if people might appreciate the self-sustaining thing by then…

    And just to make the back yard full of things I love, I’d like to get ahold of some huge chunks of basalt. Wonder if The Cop’d mind toting some basalt around. And maybe some sandstone… 😉

  5. Cute puppy! Cute Cop!

  6. Your garden will be lovely!!!

  7. Even undeveloped, this backyard is wonderful! I can easily picture all the grenery that will spring out there. My God that cactus behind the wall is impressive!

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