I spent the bulk of Memorial Day in my backyard. I alternated between reading in the shade and weeding and other yard work, also in the shade.
What the day taught me was that being a complete novice can be liberating. And having the mess of a backyard such as mine, whatever effort I expend can't hurt anything.
Since I mowed two days before, any work I did on my yard felt like a bonus. In the back and forth between leisure and work, I remembered how much fun I actually had playing outside as a little kid and that learning how to work on my dastardly hill can be a form of play in adulthood.
I googled how to divide ornamental grass. I tried it on my own and learned that it's a project I'm going to need help with. I don't have enough upper body strength. I was frustrated for only a couple minutes, then decided it wasn't worth getting upset over and moved on to the next thing.
I committed to starting a compost pile in my backyard. While I'll keep working on eating the fresh fruits and vegetables I buy, I won't feel as bad when something goes bad before I can get to it. Now, I'll add it to the compost.
I made a “Work in Progress” sign with two boards that needed to be thrown away. I am nourished and encouraged by words. These word signs provide a reminder that I am working toward a great goal and every effort puts me closer to that goal. They help me remember to keep my chin up.
Mostly I spent time enjoying different aspects of my backyard and accepting that with little money to work with, I'll need to continue to be creative, but to no longer feel ashamed by it. It is what it is and when I can make it better, I will.
It will also feel so good when I can see the progress and know that my efforts, creativity, and ingenuity, if not my own manual labor will have made a difference.