EPU: Whoa. Like, spring, dude.

Ok all you garden-y types.  Time for a long overdue Eternal Project Update.

Yes yes, it’s been awhile since I’ve updated you on the goings-on in my never ending backyard improvement project.  I’ve been remiss.  Lax in my duties.  Being slackerific.  Seriously though, I’ve been busy.

Mind you, that isn’t to say I’ve been slacking off on the Eternal Project itself!  Oh  no no no my dear flora-nistas.  I’ve been a busy little beaver in my bustling backyard, I have!  I’ve been growing lots n lots of stuff of the green leafy chlorophyll-filled CO2-mitigating variety.  And I now have a lovely little patio set, so I can actually sit at a TABLE and, like, work and stuff.  Or read.  Or surf the interwebs.  At a TABLE.  OUT SIDE.  Amazing!  I’m still trying to decide which big project I’m going to tackle this year.  Last year was the fire pit (which got some great use this past weekend!).  The year before that was pouring the patio.  This  year, I’m toying with the idea of some planting, some wall building, and perhaps a stone-paved hammock nook, complete with hammock-level shelf for drink storage.  Ahh, the lazy days of summer. Bring it.

The Lilacs:

Lilacs smelled AMAZING.  I wanted to snort them like cocaine.

Lilacs smelled AMAZING. I wanted to snort them like cocaine.

The Salad Garden:

So I had this goal to 1. eat way more salad and 2. never buy salad from the store this summer.  Ergo, salad garden.





The First Salad!

The First Salad!


I think the picture speaks for itself.

I live in Portland.  Isn't there an ordinance that says all PDX residents must have at least one rose bush?  I'm just doing my civic duty.

I live in Portland. Isn't there an ordinance that says all PDX residents must have at least one rose bush? I'm just doing my civic duty.


is finally growing.  At an approximate velocity of 5.3 feet a day (roughly, compounded).  Help me.

Grow faster grow faster grow faster eeep!  grow slower grow slower grow slower...

Grow faster grow faster grow faster eeep! grow slower grow slower grow slower...

EPU: Lilacs.

I am the proud owner of lilacs, once again!

See, I love lilacs.  They’re the state flower of New Hampshire, so I spent quite a few years smelling them in the springtime growing up, and they served as a nice replacement to the summer mulberries in New York.  I’m especially fond of the dark purple ones.  Purple is full of awesome.  It’s not my favorite color, per se, but I do like it.

So about a week ago, I cruised by Seven Dees on Powell to see if they had any lilacs.  It was freakin cold, and I figured my chances were slim.  Surprise!  They had bunches, all shapes and sizes (and prices).  I picked out two Ludwig Spaeth lilacs, cuz they’re the darkest purple of the ones they had.  And so because they had tons of lilacs I’m so cool and awesome and stuff, they gave me a 20 dollar discount on the pair right on the spot!

Now, I had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to put them.  Lilacs like a lotta sun, and this is my sunniest corner, complete with fire pit of awesomeness:



I’m planning on putting some sort of tree (yes, I’m considering the state tree of NH, the white birch, and no, I’m not making some NH flora exhibit), or some clumping bamboo, right in the corner there.  Do the lilacs go one on each side?  Or both along the fence on the right, which would get the max sun?  Decisions, decisions.  I had Jessie, my trusty yard dog, help me decide…

First, we tried both lilacs to the right of the future tree/bamboo planting area.  Jessie says “Hmm, I dunno.  I’m not a feng shui master or anything, but I tend to prefer some balance, and this just feels all lopsided to me.”

Lilacs on the right side

Lilacs on the right side

Then we tried putting a lilac on either side of the future center planting.  Ideally, the tree or bamboo will be quite a bit taller than the lilacs.  Thanks Jessie, for standing in as the tree/bamboo.  Cute pup, right?  After perusing the two options for a bit, I decide that I’m liking the balanced layout better.  Decision made, time to plant!  And yeah, that’s a post hole digger near the fire pit.  FEAR ME, FUTURE LILAC HOLES!!!

Centered Lilacs

Centered Lilacs

So the hole digging begins.  And when I dig holes for plants I’m planting, I always look for WormSign.  Of course, a decent amount of wormsign means the soil is well aerated and stuff.  And also, because I’m a total nerd/geek/awesome person, every time I find a worm, I say “Shaaaaiiii-Hulluuuuuuuuudd……”  And THEN, I get the following phrase running through my head when I do find a decent amount of worms: “Usul, we have wormsign the likes of which even God has never seen!”

Yes, I’m a dork.  But here’s my WormSign: (There’s actually two worms there.  Look closely.  Or not.)

Worm Sign


So yay!  Lilacs are planted, and have oodles and oodles of buds.  The guy at the nursery told me (thanks nursery guy!) that lilacs love hard cold winters, because it gives them a chance to really go completely dormant and fully recharge, so I’m expecting lilac blooms of total awesomeness this spring.  Yay!!

Stay tuned for further Eternal Project updates!

Spring Implications

I’m giddy.

I don’t usually like to use that word to describe my mood, because it has such sophomoric (ha! props to @smithrockneil) connotations for me, but…there’s no better word to describe how I feel when I get that first hint of spring in the air.

After the giddiness, however, comes the speculative gaze over my backyard.  The time where I announce loudly, to no one in particular, while standing in my backyard, that I am the MASTER OF MY DOMAIN, dammit, and ALL VEGETABLE MATTER EXISTING THEREIN SHALL BOW BEFORE ME.  And that, my friends, is what happened last weekend.  Yes, interwebs, hold on to your hats: it’s time to resume my Eternal Project.

e·ter·nal audio (-tûrnl)


  1. Being without beginning or end; existing outside of time.
  2. Continuing without interruption; perpetual.
  3. Forever true or changeless: eternal truths.
  4. Seemingly endless; interminable.
  5. Of or relating to spiritual communion with God, especially in the afterlife.

Right.  My eternal project is my backyard.  I have a grand vision of a peaceful, secluded sanctuary, and I’m constantly trying to figure out how to balance my available funds against my vision.  Hard hard hard to do.  Especially now, when funds are so scarce these days, right?

So the plan for this year:

  • Figure out what to do with the slide in my backyard.  It’s just in the wrong place.  But I do love watching my dog run down it.  And, I must confess, I’ve been known to run down the thing myself, but don’t tell anybody, k?  Our secret.  Yeah.  So, a slide compromise is required.
  • Plant a tree in the back corner.  Birch, or maybe maple.  Or both?  Huh.  Or…maybe a paperbark cherry.  Love those.
  • Plant lilacs.  No, I’m not making my backyard an homage to the official New Hampshire state flora.  It’s a coincidence, seriously.  Yes, I did live in New Hampshire for 9 years.  So?
  • Do something with the grass on my little front planting strip.  I know, not part of my back yard per se, but there’s project leakage.  Scope creep. The backyard is the biggest piece, is all.
  • Pergola?  Maybe?  If I build it myself.  I can do that, right?  Right?  Sure.  I think?

And then of course there’s the bamboo maintenance, so it doesn’t turn into all Day of the Triffids on me (by the way, one of my favorite movies growing up!).  And figuring out possible seating around my fire pit of awesomeness.  And of course, building a shed.  Ugh.  So freakin much to do!  Oh, and I want to grow veggies this year too.  Mmm, backyard salad.  And disconnecting my downspouts into a nifty little bioswale.  And more lavendar, since it seems to withstand dog antics pretty well, unlike many of my other unfortunate planting attempts.

So.  I’ll be posting updates.  And pictures!  It will be GLORIOUS.  Perhaps, dare I say it?  as glorious as John Metta’s blog.  Stay tuned!

I am currently taking bids for any of the above-mentioned work.  Payment will be in the form of  beer, pizza and of course my undying gratitude.  Please submit your bid in the comment section below.  Extra points if you request good beer.  I reserve the right to determine what, exactly, is good beer.