We have begun to work on Mom's yard. We went for a few hours each day on Wednesday and Thursday. There is a bulk trash pick-up on the 26th, and we want to have a lot of stuff out on the curb. We are sorting and organizing, filling trash bags and recycling bins that go out Monday. We assembled a lot of hubcaps that she thinks are valuable - we can take them to someone who trades in them, so she can hear what they are really (not) worth.
The kids have been working on raking leaves out of the bushes and flowerbeds, building a leaf composting pile outside the side fence. We have a good collection of stuff at the back of the driveway to put out for bulk pick-up. DD11 took charge of collecting all the artificial greenery and Christmas stuff that had been stuck into various crevices. We bagged it with a collection of 6 old rotted basketballs, and brought it home to put put out in our trash. She has an awkward by-the-bag trash arrangement.
It frustrates the kids sometimes, that we have to talk her into doing things that seem obvious, but she is more cooperative than I expected. No major blow-ups so far. I keep reminding her that she is at risk of enforcement action if her yard looks like she is collecting trash. We are making real progress. I think it helps to keep talking about gardening goals. We found a nice patch of Virginia Bluebells in the back corner. She has good boxwoods, dogwoods, and other plantings.
We are looking for a way to borrow or rent a chipper for a day, to make a pile of mulch with her yard trimmings. Kurt works in landscaping, and might be able to help us out. It looks like he did a good job of helping her trim the horribly overgrown pear tree.
There is room to do a lot of good vegetable gardening once we remove some of her stuff. She has some compost to get started with, although her dirt is horrible clay that needs a *lot* of amendment. She has been taking too much stuff down to the field to get rid of it - she needs to keep all the organics she can get to make more compost. I will get some more fish boxes for lettuce and greens for her - she has a real rabbit problem. But she also has a number of good places to put the boxes well off the ground.
We will go back this weekend for another few hours. I am buying a trash can to use for water collection, and a new clothesline. Need to clear a safe path under the clothesline for her.
If we go 2-3 times a week for an hour or two at a time, we will make progress, and keep her from back-sliding. Once the garden is established, she should feel good about it's usability. We can then move on to the back patio and get a table set up in there, so she can sit in the shady area when it is hot. The challenge will be to keep from re-filling the back yard with stuff when we start to work on the cellar and porch.