I received a truckload of wood chips three years ago. These are always available for free, in case you didn't know. You can call your local electricity provider or larger landscaping services, and they'll be delighted to drop off a load of wood chips rather than have to pay to dump it elsewhere. Great idea, right?
I was going to landscape our front yard. As lawns go, our dandelions were looking pretty strong, and there are a few struggling old rose bushes, but that was it. I was going to plant shrubs, get some decorative rocks, use wood chips as the ground cover for a while and eventually plant a native mix of creeping myrtle, clover, etc. First step -- free wood chips.
If you've never seen 15 cubic yards of wood chips, just imagine Mt. Hood, except bigger. Well, close up it looked bigger. The oh-so-helpful landscaper decided it was too hard to dump in our driveway, so he kindly placed the small mountain in the street. Granted it did block the lane, but not the stop sign (there was at least a car length behind the stop sign before the three-car-length pile began), but the neighbors weren't exactly thrilled, and they figured I should move the mountain in exactly three days, if not sooner. They didn't mention this to my face, but politely left clever little notes stuck in the pile like, "Really?!"
Shoveling is good exercise, right? This is what I wanted, right? I shoveled my heart out for about a week, and got some help from the rest of the family, and we moved a mountain. Surprisingly, it wasn't enough to cover the whole yard! Well, I might have to wait a month or two to get a second load, because my muscles were really sore.
My muscles didn't get better. My right shoulder was particularly bad, but I attributed it to referred pain from my liver disease, which was a lot of my motivation for giving up my wonderful church office manager job. Turns out I had blown out my rotator cuffs in both shoulders. Only the right one hurt, so I got the surgery done, healed, and found another job.
Whoops, that new job was waaaay too much for me physically, although I did lose about 30 pounds there, so that was nice. My knees never stopped aching in six months. Shortly after starting there, Social Security approved my disability claim (based on the liver issues, I think, but thank God, because my joints were not happy). Gratefully, I quit the bakery job, got my first knee replacement, and looked forward to doing something charitable, since we were going to be fine financially. "Going to" being the operative words.
I finally got the second shoulder surgery last month, and here it is almost Spring again (don't forget to turn your clocks ahead!), and boy, it sure would be nice to get the rest of that front yard barked over.
No. Not gonna happen. No way, no how. I know it looks funny half done. I know there's potential for curb appeal. I know I put hours and hours and sweat and pain into getting it this far. But my wood chip shoveling days are over. Maybe down the road we'll have a little leeway in the budget and I can hire someone to do something smarter with the yard, but I'm not dwelling on it. I'm going to be grateful that the shoulder repairs were covered by insurance, which landscaping wouldn't be, but it was still a terrible deal.
Cost sunk. Good riddance. Step away. Don't look back. Wisdom learns and moves on.