Monday, May 26, 2008

Tackling the "Way Back"

We have two back yards. The "back" yard and the "way back" yard. The back yard is for everyday stuff: hanging clothes, playing with toys, growing grass to cut so it can grow so you can cut it again. Normal stuff.

At the back of the "back" yard there's a fence. Hastily constructed to allow us to move in, the fence separates us from the wilderness that exists beyond. We had peeked through knotholes, even looked over the top standing precariously on old paint cans. All we saw was green. Tall, spiky green.

Recently we decided to brave the "way back" and open it up. One could hear my heart sinking when the slats of a small section were removed only to reveal that the green we previously witnessed was in fact 4-foot tall stinging nettle plants. The whole thing was nettles; a nettle farm so to say.

The boys and I entered the forbidden domain of the "way back" with weed whackers (strimmers in the UK), saws and intent to do harm. We began at 9am and for the UK it was a hot day, graced by a breeze ever-changing in direction. As we peeled back the layers of nettles we discovered an amazing array of, well... crap. The remains of multiple burn piles, a 55-gallon drum, what could have been a toaster and a large amount of glass and aluminum containers. Please note in the following photo the height of the nettles as they're cleared by our industrial strength trimmer. The fencing section behind the patch is 8-foot if that helps.

By 4pm the entirety of my face was stinging and I had lost most of the feeling on the left side of my tongue. Coated with the juice and remains of many a nettle plant we had beaten the "way back" into submission. We discovered a section of concrete pavers that made the perfect base for a burn pile, as well as some ruined remnants of a Japanese-style garden that once inhabited this place.

Next time we get a decent day we'll work on digging up nettle roots.

1 comment:

Vicky said...

You look like the UK's version of our (broadly the US's, narrowly Tulsa's)Garden Guy, Paul James who has a show on HGTV called 'Gardening by the Yard'.

Minus the smile. :)

Sheesh, what a job! Hope you get the feeling back in your tongue soon!