Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Backyard update

After just witnessing a hawk try to pick off a chicken in my backyard (in the middle of one of the densest urban neighborhoods in L.A.), I figure its time to post some photo updates on the backyard. Since returning from Tucson in September, and inspired by those that make use of their space there, I set to liberating some of the garden from the masses of weeds, and building an access point from the back of the house in to the yard. We have also got a compost pile going, and I'm slowing reading up on the ins and outs of composting. After a few months of me dragging shit out of the yard and piling it up, we also borrowed the neighbors truck to remove the tons of crap that had accumulated over the past 50 years.

Some things found so far:
- 8 crack pipes, 3 syringes
- Rotten chicken eggs
- 1 wheelchair
- 1 bicycle
- 1 car door
- 3 car batteries
- 1 television
- 50+ playboy magazines, circa 1970
- 10 solar heating panels for a pool

BEFORE: Back in April the back of the house looked like this. No way to get out in to the backyard.


December: I built some sketchy stairs with bricks and no mortar, and the woodpile was removed, along with all the trash in between. The staircase is being dismantled next.




In case there was any doubt in your mind about the status of our yard/neighborhood, I recovered 8 crack pipes in the last few months from our yard. Gloves are always a good idea it turns out.

I also did a shitload of weed removal that we had started back in May. This strange weed I realized was enveloping whole trees, and a more garden-savvy friend noted at the potluck in November that there was an orange tree underneath some of it. This weed was over 90% of the mass, slowly killing all it covered.

After raking out some other weeds and mess, I noticed a puddle. That puddle got bigger, then I realized I was actually excavating a pond, which for the previous 14 months did not know existed...

During the excavation:

After completed excavation. The pond was so covered you could walk over it, and not know it was there

Two truck loads emptied from the yard, filled to the brim:

Next step: remove staircase, start garden, actually use massive amount of space that no one else has in L.A.


Joe said...

Looks like great space... maybe you've already got everything planned, but, in case, I recommend reading Brad Lancaster's water harvesting books (I can loan to you if you want) as you lay out your gardens at the site. Passively harvest rainwater! I'd like to look at the site with you and brainstorm ideas.

budge said...

I knew this would get your attention Joe! Would love to have you come round and check it out and hear some ideas, cos, well, im lost!

smallgoods said...

Interesting to note that crack is 2.67 times more prevalent than heroin in your yard. And that heroin is 3 times more prevalent than wheelchair-bound disabled people.

Luz said...

can we please turn it into a koi pond? it probably was at one point anyway.

Sasha said...

Almost all sadness of leaving Israstine to go back to LA is now gone. I have tons of ideas of how we can fix up our 'greywater system (aka the bucket) and use it for the garden; and some nifty compost tricks Ive picked up out here. Oh, I'm so excited you've been workin on it. We must find a duck for our pond!

Joe said...

Cool... Let's make plans for me to come by early in the new year. I am excited to spread the passive water harvesting gospel!