Pulling Ivy

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Disclaimer: none of the photographs below were taken by me. I might go outside with a camera this weekend and replace them with some of my own.

Well since Monday's a holiday, I'm going to take a four-day weekend starting tomorrow. Next week I'll be putting in plenty of hours, since I'll be flying out to California early enough on Wednesday to attend meetings in the afternoon, and flying back on Friday late enough to attend meetings in the morning--bleh.

Soooo, what will I do with my four days off? Pull ivy--oh joy. I can't actually pull ivy all four days, since the first day will wipe out my back for the following one or two days. I'll probably pull ivy on Friday and then, if I can move at all, paint on Saturday, then try for a repeat. Large sections of my front yard are covered with ivy, under the big oak trees and trailing down to the driveway. The ivy spreads and climbs like wildfire. I'd like to rip it all out, but the task is way beyond me. Pulling ivy hurts my back so much that I can only do it for an hour or so at a time.

There are multiple varieties of ivy and a plethora of vines growing here and there on my half-acre lot. The predominant form is English Ivy, which is the only one that was planted intentionally as far as I can tell, and is what I'll be pulling this weekend:

Some previous owner decided to plant this all over the front and around the perimeter of the lot: the cryptic cry for help of a confused mind? This isn't a picture of one of my own oak trees, but it could be:

The second most prevalent is Virginia Creeper, which grows all over this area:

This stuff can give some people contact dermatitis, but I don't get a reaction from it, fortunately. It grows like wildfire too; it all does in this climate.

I may also have a considerable amount of poison ivy. It looks just like this:

but it's hard to distinguish from a couple of other, harmless, vines. I've never gotten a reaction from it, but I always wear gardening gloves, jeans, and tennis shoes when I go out to pull ivy.

I have what look like wild grape vines growing alongside the house, creeping up the bay window. I've never seen any flowers or clusters on them, but they're almost certainly wild grapes:

When I googled them, the first picture that came up was on a website maintained by the elementary school my son attended. Apparently there are three varieties that grow in this area.

I have wild morning glory vines, the kind that are aka "wild potato vines":

These things are incredibly tough; mountain climbers could use these vines for rappelling. It's almost impossible for me to tear them out, so I cut them off, which just means they come back thicker every year.

In the front, I'm letting some stuff grow that I hope will turn out to be wisteria:

I haven't seen any flowers on it, but I kept it cut back to the ground until a couple of years ago.

My next door neighbor's honeysuckle is spilling over the fence and spreading rapidly, but since I love the way it smells I leave it alone:

In addition to all that I have at least three types of vines that I can't identify. My efforts at landscaping consist primarily of beating back the wildness that wants to take over my house and yard. Wish me luck.

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May 2009

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