Monday, April 7, 2014


This is what the back lawn at Oliver looked like at the end of March last year.


And below is what it looked like at the end of March this year (insert very sad droopy face here).
Last year we weren't quite sure how to deal with things.  Since we were only there about once a month, did we water the heck out of it while we were there, and then hope it didn't grow too much in between visits, or not water it at all and see what happened?  We knew it would die back, and then come back in the Fall when the weather got cooler and there was more rain.  Didn't happen, the coming back part that is.  Obviously some of the grass was more resistant than the rest, but the green patches towards the back are much more sparse than they appear from this angle.

(That white thing in the foreground is the back door, and one of 'my' projects)


The first day we were there, we took the dogs for a walk and then stopped at a garden center and asked for advice.  The garden center had just been put up for sale.  There seemed to be no-one around, but then I noticed a lady waving me over to the house.  I was invited into the kitchen, and her husband told me how to go about reviving our lawn.  I also heard all about his medical issues, a heart operation he went to Victoria for, that didn't work, how he was 80 years old and couldn't do much now.  Obviously the reason for the For Sale sign.

The first thing he told us to do was to rent an aerator.  So Larry did that.  When he brought it back he said that he didn't even know if we could get it out of the truck, it was that heavy.  I sort of laughed at that, was sure that between the two of us, it would be no problem.  It was unbelievable how heavy that thing was.  We pulled it out and tried to slow it's decent to the ground a bit, but I knew there was no way to lift it back in.  Larry plodded back and forth, heaving the beast around on our tiny front lawn, and then did the back 'lawn'.  Advil was his friend for the next few days.


In the meantime, I knocked the hinge pins out of the back door, maneuvered it back and forth until I could tip it enough to get it through the doorway, and then wiggled it over to a small table and a saw horse that I had set up.  It didn't weigh as much as the aerator, but enough that I couldn't carry it on my own.

I have often thought that I wished the back door had a window.  All of our exterior doors here in Abbotsford have windows.  I like being able to see out before opening the door.  Last time we were in Oliver, I verbalized it to Larry.  We hung a mirror on the back of the door.  I might not have been able to see out, but at least I could make sure I was presentable before I went out there.

When we came back home I looked on Craigslist.  There was a window for $20, about 20 minutes away.  I didn't do anything about it, but did check once or twice to see if the ad was still posted.   Then one day I saw that it had been updated and reduced to $10, so that was enough to make me take action.  We drove to Mission, bought the window, and took the dogs for a nice walk at Heritage Park while we were there.

The job went fairly well.  I got the hole cut, checked that the window fit, made some adjustments to the hole on one side of the door, and put it back on the hinges.  That made it easy to put the window in, and the project was completed without breaking the window, cutting a finger tip off, or dropping anything heavy on my foot.  Success!


So now we can look out and see this.


And Luna can look in to see why we are taking so long.


The lawn dirt patch got aerated, we brought three truck loads of some soil mix back to rake into the holes, and grass seed was spread.  We kept it damp and hoped it would germinate before we had to leave, but no such luck.  I was on my knees with a magnifying glass, hoping to see a little root coming out of the seed, but unfortunately there was nothing.  We were hoping the forecast would be for a few showers after we left, but again we were out of luck.  The weather has been warm and dry there since, so the seed will probably dry out before it germinates.  We decided it would cost more to drive back than it would to reseed.  I think the weather just wasn't warm enough yet.  Well the daytime temperatures were, but the night time ones were around the freezing mark.  Maybe we'll get a pleasant surprise when we go back in a few weeks, fingers crossed.

Our last morning there, I rescued this little tree that had been dumped, next to where we had parked the truck for our walk on the dyke.  It had been there a while, but still showed green when you scratched the bark on the little branches.  I put it in a pot, and in a sheltered spot, watered the heck out of it....and time will tell.  
It's my frugal gene working overtime again.



  1. I enjoyed this post so much! You did a great job putting the window in the door! Hope the grass takes off and is lush and green soon. Also enjoyed your last post...The pictures are beautiful! Oh, and that little tree you rescued...touched my heart. My husband and I were picking up old bricks at the county dump once and someone had thrown out a pot that had a wilted, dying Hosta and a small tree that had taken root in the pot. I brought the pot home. Both are now growing in our yard (like we needed another tree)!

  2. I love that little tree, hope it does well. Luna and Jake say you should have lowered that window a couple inches!
    You might want to invest in a water timer for that grass, it worked really well for me.

    1. Yes, a timer is something we have thought about, well after we get some irrigation put in. The thing is, since we are there only part of the time, we like to turn the water right off in case a leak develops somewhere when we are not there.

  3. I love reading about all of your fixer uppers. Your door with the window looks like ours in Green Valley and you know whose nose we see when we drive up….Kilt, of course. Luna put a big smile on my face.

  4. I bet the grass will come was a hard winter. I hope your tree didn't have dried out roots...I hope it survives. You did great on your window in the door!! That door needs a doggie door:)

    1. The grass hadn't come around in the Fall, and there was is evidence of any green shoots coming up in the bald spots. In fact all the dead grass had crumbled up and disappeared, so it was just dirt left.
      The root ball on the tree had a dried up clump of dirt in the middle, so hopefully that saved some of the roots. It might look like it is going to live, send up a bit of growth, and then suddenly die. I think it is an Alberta Spruce, and from what I read they don't do well with a lot of heat and not much water, so if it survives we might have to bring it back to Abbotsford.

    2. Oops, that should have read 'there was no evidence'...


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