I’ve been on a mission to give my backyard a makeover this summer, but the weather has not cooperated. I now have a new water garden filled with lily pads and surrounded with a rock garden, but for a good six weeks I had a nice big muddy hole.

This is the time of year I look forward to all winter: real summer.


I am not a winter person. As I slog through snowdrifts and try not to fall on icy sidewalks, I count how many months it is until spring, and then how many months it is until summer.


I spend the winter babying the lime and banana trees in the kitchen and the dormant elephant ears in the basement, just waiting for the day when it’s warm enough to bring everything back outside.


The lime tree seems not to mind being moved in and out, and it produces more limes than I need. The banana tree is not quite so happy with the arrangement, and it likes winter no more than I do. It hasn’t rewarded me with a single piece of fruit.


Now we’re in the middle of the summer I looked forward to all winter (especially when walking through thigh-deep snow after that blizzard we had), and it’s great, other than the fact that it won’t stop raining.


I’ve been on a mission to give my backyard a makeover this summer, but the weather has not cooperated. I now have a new water garden filled with lily pads and surrounded with a rock garden, but for a good six weeks I had a nice big muddy hole.


Where a goldfish pond was previously located long before we ever lived here, I now have a shade garden that is about half finished. (By the way, in case you’re wondering, a hole in the ground really is the hardest thing in the world to move.)


So far, the half-done shade garden has a curved pea-gravel path lined with ferns that leads to a little bench in the back. I have more plans for it if it ever stops raining.


But since dry days haven’t often coincided with the days I’m off work, that means when the opportunity does come along, I have to cram as much work into one day as is physically possible. A day spent digging in the dirt, installing landscape fabric on one’s hands and knees, pushing wheelbarrows of pea gravel around and arranging good-sized rocks to line the path really leads to screaming muscles the next day.


Considering that work for me normally consists mostly of parking my behind in front of a computer all day, my body is bewildered when I very suddenly demand it spend 10 hours doing hard physical labor. But you have to do things between rainstorms, so there you go.


It’s not an issue in winter, when I can attack my lengthy to-do list regardless of the weather, but much of the indoor work needed for our fixer-upper old house calls for more skill than I have. I can do more good (and less damage) if I concentrate on yard work.


There are still plenty of things to do back there, but if we can just manage a little dry weather now and then, I might actually be able to declare the backyard done by fall. And with just a touch more luck, we might actually have a few clear days to sit back there and enjoy it all.


And then it’ll be winter again.


Editor Michelle Teheux may be reached at 217-346-1111, ext. 661, or at mteheux@pekintimes.com.