Anyone else ready to throw in the towel sometimes?
In a lot of ways, I adore our yard. We live on a large acreage up on a hill. From our house we have a beautiful view of rolling hills and farmland. It is a really exceptional view. We didn't pay much for the yard because the house is old, small, and not in very good shape. The yard, besides the shelterbelt, was basically a blank canvas. So we've spent the past 5 years putting in a big wrap-around flowerbed by the house, my husband built a huge 8 ft deer fence(metal game fence) around our veggie garden and orchard area, I've planted countless trees and fruit trees, and we've dug by hand a number of raised vegetable beds(with more in the works)
So the idea of moving makes me absolutely CRINGE. I can't imagine doing all this work all over again in a different yard.
But in some ways, the yard gets worse every year, and is getting harder to "deal with" every year. A few of the issues:
- for some reason, we have a MAJOR rodent problem. I've never encountered so many rodents. We have oodles of Franklin, 13-lined, and Richardson ground squirrels. I've tried shooting them and trapping them. They are difficult to trap, and shooting them just doesn't seem to stay ahead of how fast they reproduce. Basically we have more every year. Which means our lawn gets rougher every year. And I mean rough! We also have tons of voles and mice. I had to learn what pocket gophers are, and I have to trap them every spring and fall when more move into our yard.
- Some sort of rodent(likely a mouse or vole?) has been causing me so much frustration in the vegetable garden. I've planted my peas 5 times. Yes, you read that right. Something keeps digging each seed up, overnight, even when I tried putting shade cloth over it to keep birds out. This last time I tried pouring diatomaceous earth over top of the line of seeds, hoping to discourage pests. We'll see if it works. I just checked on my kale which was nicely coming up a few days ago. It looks like it has been mowed. Guess I'll have to reseed that too. How much time have I wasted reseeding, rewatering, etc.? How futile is it?
- Our awful, heavy clay soil. It is so heavy that if the rodents don't get the plants, rot will. I've lost many perennials that are definitely hardy here, because they can't handle the soggy soil, even though I have tried to amend it and everything is in raised beds. I don't even want to think of how much money I've wasted trying to replace dead perennials.
- Every time something DOES do really well in my garden, it is only a matter of time before something comes along and ruins it. For example: I had a terrible vole problem in my flower bed last year. They dug up and ate about 2/3 of the lily bulbs in my garden. In a couple of cases, they wiped out entire patches of lilies that were 6 years old. Starting from square one again...
- The first couple of years we lived here, we lost a number of newly planted, $120-180 shade trees to deer. They girdled them..sometimes they actually stripped the bark and ate it, other times I think they just rubbed their horns on them. Since then, we've replaced everything, and every tree we plant now has to have a little fence constructed of chicken wire and rebar around them. I don't know how many years that'll have to stay up. Until the trees are mature, maybe. They look bad, shaggy grass grows up in them, and it is something else to mow around. But what else can I do? We had a couple of mule deer come into our yard last winter for ONE DAY, and they chose to pick on my prize weeping norway spruce, which I planted the first year we were married. They didn't eat it, but they bit off basically the entire skirt of the tree. All that is left is the top half, and the naked bottom half. Then they ate out the center of one of my nest spruces nearby, which definitely won't ever recover. I'll have to dig it out. I put up a deer fence after that for the rest of the winter, but they never came back.
Honestly, sometimes I wonder if this is worth it. I spend so many hours trying to make things healthy and look nice, and in one evening or one day, so much is ruined. And this happens over and over again! I love our view, I love our privacy, I love our church congregation...but I'm seriously wondering if I should just move away from this hell hole. :(