I'm very proud of the time and hard work that DW has put into our back yard. Every day, after dinner, and all afternoon, on weekends, she has put on some work clothes, donned her garden gloves, and torn up her flower beds.
She has pulled up bag-loads of weeds and bushes that have creeped in from neighbouring gardens. She has turned soil, planted new flowers and vegetables, and covered the beds with sheep manure and cedar mulch.
Even I have lent a modest hand, cutting out the weeds that have crept through the interlocking brick on our patio. It keeps creeping back, so it's not a perfect job, and the edges always seem to need another go.
With the gazebo that we built over the Victoria Day long weekend, we have set out our patio furniture and made the back yard a hospitable place. We've even strung lights under the roof to illuminate this mini retreat at night.
DW isn't quite finished, but it's clear that the end of her work is in sight. It is a completely refreshing transformation of this part of our home.
Last year, we all but neglected the space behind our house. I went in the back yard only a few times: to cook on the barbecue (we would eat indoors) or to occasionally run the lawn mower, after the grass grew so high that our cat could hide in the growth.
Once, I went into the yard to replace a cedar two-by-four that had begun to rot on the top of our fence.
Last year, we didn't even go to the effort of putting out our patio furniture. The back yard was a wasteland.
Our back ward is welcoming. On Sunday night, even, we invited my folks for a barbecue dinner sat under the gazebo, which we screened in to keep the mosquitoes and wasps away.
But our back yard is not perfect. For years, we've neglected one part of our yard, between our neighbours, from where the patio ends at the side of the house to where our gate, which we almost never open, keeps the weeds and unruly vines in a rectangular confinement.
Every summer, I promise to control it. Every summer, I try to pretend that the space doesn't exist.
Yup, our back yard looks pretty good. But only if you stand in certain spots and don't look in others.