I started digging it out on Friday (24 June 2011), and am only kinda-sorta along on it. My main issues are:
- When I started this, my friend Chris and I initially estimated that, an average-sized man, in good physical condition (like, between “decent condition” and “prime athlete condition”) might be able to dig out this pond in a day or two, and that I might be able to do it in about a week. I now realise this is a complete fantasy, on both counts.
- It’s become apparent to me that this entire residential property has been built on a claybed. Which is good for the integrity of the pond, but a real pain to dig out, and it really puts a damper on my plans for the dug-out soil.
The wide abundance of clay around here had pretty much given me another expense to worry about — on the good side, we live right near Michigan State University, once-upon-a-time known as Michigan Agricultural College (and still home of the state’s best Agri programs), and despite living in what is undoubtedly an urban area, the city limits are literally surrounded by farmland — manure is cheap and easy-enough to acquire (to fertilise the clay), so while an unexpected expense, it really could’ve been worse.
I also don’t think that Chris and I really *grasped* how deep thirty inches is — nor do I think he and I realised that the outline of the old wading pool that I’m using as a guide for the perimeter of the pond is at least as wide as I am tall — maybe even a full six feet (so over ten inches wider). While it’s clear that digging this out is definitely going to take me the better part of two weeks (at the very least), I now seriously doubt whether or not an average-sized man in much better physical condition than the short fat man writing this would be able to get this done in a day or two. On the good side, at this point, I’d decided that if I could at least dig out the pond hole, I could easily budget for putting it all together next year.
There’s also a LOT of wild brush now grown out in the farthest part of the back garden, just before the alley. This pisses me off, and I have half a mind to just go out there with Roundup or something before the end of summer, and then just start new, next year. On the other hand, I’d still have to cut down most of it before putting herbicide to it all, and at that point, is it really that much more inconvenient to just take the tiller to it all? Either way, I’m really wishing there were more Hellenists out this way — or at least that my friend Colleen would hold up to her promise of free child labour, cos there’s only so much that I can do on my own. And yes, I have a house-mate, but I’m essentially doing this all myself, cos he’s working third shift and is basically asleep during the prime daylight hours there are to do this.
The worst part? I’m not sure if I’m feeling overwhelmed by all this or not. On one hand, when I come in, I’m kind of energised by all the work, in spite of being already incredibly sore after maybe only two hours of digging, and that’s good. On the other hand, when it hits me how much more money is still needed, I can’t help but feel like maybe I should call it quits. When I think of the big, beautiful gesture this will be for Eros, I’m energised and motivated again — indeed, I can’t help but see little omens in everything out in back, from the butterfly that sat watching my from the tiller to birds that will be silent until flying directly over the back garden. Then I remember the lacking of local community, and start second-guessing whether or not this was that great of an idea, after all — like, if I’m not doing this for a definite community, but only a potential one, isn’t all just really for my own ego? And no matter what I’m actually thinking, I always find myself wondering if I really believe those thoughts, or if it’s just the humidity getting to me.
I’m really trying not to let the low amount of money bother me, cos if I do, I tend to remember that the sorry state of the wildflowers out in the front garden bothers me even more. This soon after those idiot groundskeepers cut them all down, it’s clear that a significant amount of them are not going to come back. See, that’s because the morons cut them down before seed pods could form. It’s also pretty clear, at this point, that their machinery pretty deeply gouged up parts of that half of the front garden, which literally tore plants up and out of their roots. I’ve told property management about this, and I’ve told them that I want groundskeeping to buy me new seeds for next year.
It’s also seriously bothering me that, pretty much since that part of the front garden was torn up, my house-mate has stopped paying attention to where he walks out in front to get to his door on his car. I mean, it’s not like anything might still be alive on that quadrant — obviously, if you ask him, I’m being unreasonable and I, the one who has been gardening since he was eight years old, took horticultural classes in high school, am the one who can’t tell the difference between clover and juvenile Nasturtium (hint: they’re pretty easy to tell apart even if you’re a novice who is willing to pay attention to where you’re stamping your size 14 work-boots). At this point, I’ve kind of given up reminding him not to cut corners on the path I marked out MONTHS AGO, an which he was perfectly fine on keeping to until about two weeks ago. At this point, it’s clear to me that he’s just going to keep killing things on that quadrant of the front garden until next year, when I get my new seeds and tear it all up again.