Too bad that I didn’t move to Utah back in the Wild West days! Because if I had done that, I would have taken my gun, and made one or two laws of the land of my own! One of them would definitely be: no builder should ever turn a house to a buyer without cleaning the junk in the yard first.
And I am not saying plant some trees, or some grass, or landscape before they sell it, I am just simply saying: CLEAN UP after yourself! My late English teacher back home used to ask himself why in the world do human beings feel the need , when they go out into the world, to leave their human “scarnavia” (impossible to translate correctly, something like “foulness” but much, much, much stronger!) behind themselves, like they would want to mark their territory or something.
That’s what I have been asking myself for the past two days while removing hard materials from our yard.
As I have said before, our yard is sort of challenging. The little grass that’s growing is overwhelmed by weeds. I like them, though, just the same – at least they’re green! There are many bald spots in the grass and a huge one right outside the back door. The little bit of greenery is also littered with rocks. Lots of little and big boulders and pebbles, like the house was set in a former river bed or something. We already, only after three mowings, lost a (brand new) mower to this yard, because the blade kept hitting the rocks (and other hard stuff), and the engine burned out from overworking, since the whole area is very uneven, too.
And when we waste money like that is when I lose it. So, that’s when I went out there with a hoe, a shovel, rakes, a mini rake, a mini scoop-like shovel, my bare hands, my gloved hands, my strong will and mushy muscles, determined to un-earth whatever hard materials are out there, and try to leave the soil unlittered and soft. Or as soft as the desert Utah soil can be.
For weeks I have heard Aa. telling me about the junk in the yard, and the impossibility of unburying it, because the soil is so hard and stuff is just stuck in it, but I never knew how bad it was out there. Till the mower broke and I actually got close to the ground to see what bothers it!
I picked up stuff you cannot even imagine. Sure, there were rocks! There were stones, too, and some of them even pretty. But most of the overflowing wheelbarrow I have parked out back is full of much more human yielding materials than just those “natural” ones.
You can practically tell, in our yard, where the contractor dumped the gravel pile, and the flat stone pile, and where the wood was cut for the cabinets, perhaps. You can tell where they mixed the concrete, from the huge slabs of concrete mixture buried in the yellow soil, and where they had their lunch, from all the flattened coke and water bottles and cans. You can tell where they had their smoke break. Along with concrete, gravel, plastic, half pipes, cigarette butts, you can find pieces of paper (made me wonder if those were someone’s toilet paper before they had a Porta John handy?! – sorry for the image), pieces of cloth, mesh, duct tape, lots of nails, electrical wire and rubber.
I cannot feel my knees from bending them for a day and a half, picking up all this litter. I hope, with a clean, breathing yard, and a smooth surface, and with “fluffed up” bald spots, my grass seed will take root and soon this yard will at least have green in it.
And let me tell you: after all this work to just have grass out there, I will never take a yard with nothing but grass in it for granted! Never!
I also hope that our new (again!) mower will not have any of this junk to hit anymore and it will at least last us a season. The soil is still uneven, but hopefully, with new growth, the mower will not try to cut rock and rubber, but actual grass. Now, I pray for rain, as the junk is gone and the seed is waiting to sprout. I hope.
If you ever wonder where those bottles that take a million years (or something) to decompose were dumped, come to my yard and find them. And I betcha, the yard of any new construction out there, for that matter … Just unbelievable how careless (and ignorant) humans can be!
And since there is no law to punish a builder for leaving a yard so junky, and since there is so much physical work involved in cleaning after a builder, I think the time one takes to make a yard clean and at least livable should build right up into the equity of the house! So, our house, when ready to be sold, should read like this in the MLS: “house built in 2007. Junk removed from yard in 2010”. That would make the yard three years younger than the house! And I think it should matter.