What a wild month it’s been! Feeling a little stir-crazy from having a cold, I finally found the energy and motivation to do some serious landscape renovations. Easter and my son’s birthday were right around the corner, so I wanted the backyard to be as safe as possible – not for his actual safety (he’s as nimble as a billygoat out there) – but because I didn’t want to hear any naysaying from visiting relatives. Besides, I was so tired of adding “It’s a work in progress” whenever anyone sees the backyard. Our big construction project started off well enough, at least, and I was sure that we could have it finished in a week.

It’s a work in progress! Next I have to mix concrete for the steps.

This bridge will look a lot nicer when it’s done!

The goal was to make the path as flat and sturdy as possible, with few opportunities for tripping or miscalculated steps, so I cut into the hillside so that the two steps down would be at the beginning of the path, right next to the patio. While I chipped away at the little hill against the patio with a shovel, my son used his toy construction trucks to help move all the dirt to the other side of the dry creek bed. He helped me stomp the paver base gravel down nice and flat, and after I put down leveling sand he gently spread it out with his toddler-sized garden rake. The path was widened into a patio with room for seating, just in case I want to sit down in the shade and watch my son play.

The tomatoes are coming along! So are the weeds, apparently.

“Strawberry Blonde’ Marigold brightens up a patch of weeds. Eventually they’ll prevent weeds from sprouting.

I even took on my first outdoor carpentry project! Sure, I had the guys at the hardware store cut the wood down to size so it could fit in my car, but I’ll have you know that I made two – count ‘em – TWO cuts with my previously unused circular saw to make some adjustments. I assembled the bridge’s base, carried it proudly to its new home, and temporarily laid the decking boards on top so that I could visualize the end result. They’d be stained dark brown to coordinate with the tree fern and Alocasia trunks, making it look like a scene straight out of my books about gardens in Southeast Asia. My son could appreciate this, because he had spent the last week poring over ‘Gardens of the Philippines’ with to help me plan our garden. “You can make muck in that garden, and you can make muck in THAT garden… We can do that.”

We didn’t get to harvest the lettuce, so it has bolted. I’m leaving it in place to shade the soil and prevent weeds.

These huge pumpkin plants sprouted in my compost heap. They’ll probably fruit before I can remove them!

We were right on course for completion in time for Easter… when I got the flu. And then I got bronchitis that got worse with antibiotics, blacked out at the ER (this a manly way of saying ‘I fainted.’) and went to the hospital with Pneumonia for a couple of days. Now it’s my son’s birthday, but the path and bridge are not complete and probably won’t be for another month, but you know what? I don’t mind. My son will be busy with a pool and games for his birthday anyways, and for once I can confidently say that “It’s a work in – COUGH COUGH COUGH! – progress.” After all the dire warnings from doctors and nurses this week, I think there’s something to be said for enjoying life at a slow pace and taking it all in with deep, easy breaths. I have a chair in the shade with my name on it, and I’m ready to sit still and watch the weeds grow until I feel better. I’ll let them win this battle.