Backyard Before & After

It’s a long weekend here in Oh Canada.  What that usually means is a trip to the cottage.  Today, I’d normally be hopping in my car to run to the grocery store to stock up on cottage food.  Things I only buy when we’re going to the cottage, like those miniature boxes of cereal and packages of bologny (I refuse to spell it bologna).  The cottage is the only time I eat a bologny sandwich.  On white bread no less.  I crave it other times, but I only ever eat it at the cottage.

After making sure we had enough food, I’d pack our clothes.  Tee shirts and shorts mainly.  Maybe my “good” sweat pants in case we decided to have Leslie and Dale over for dinner.

After getting the food and packing the clothes I’d get our toiletries together.  Toothpaste, floss, moisturizer, bug repellant … that sort of thing.

After getting the food, packing the clothes, and organizing the toiletries I’d try to find someone to watch the animals here on Green Fakers.  There’s the chickens, the fish, the cats and the frog.  The frog mainly takes care of himself, but still … I like to know he’s O.K.

After getting the food, packing the clothes, organizing the toiletries and finding someone to look after the animals I need to tidy the house.  Vacuum, put things away, generally make things presentable so that when we come home it isn’t a mess.  Nobody likes to come home to a mess.

So, after getting the food, packing the clothes, organizing the toiletries, finding someone to look after the animals and tidying the house I need to write lists.  What not to forget, what books need to be returned to the cottage, notes for whoever is feeding the animals on what to feed them and when to clean their poop.  That sort of thing.

After getting the food, packing the clothes, organizing the toiletries, finding someone to look after the animals, tidying the house and writing the lists I no longer want to go to the cottage.

It’s a hell of a lot of work going to the cottage.  And there isn’t even room service or a swim up bar.

So I’m not going.  We’re not going.  I refused.  I crossed my little arms over my chest, stamped my foot and said no.

Why you ask?  Well other than the aforementioned several sentances … I’m not going to the cottage this weekend because of my backyard. It’s making my eye twitch.   I have been building a chicken coop for 2 months.  Because of that, things have gotten a little out of hand.

Behold … my backyard …


Last Year

Backyard Mess 4

This Year

Backyard Mess 9

Last Year

DSC 0296

This Year

DSC 0692

Last Year

Backyard Mess 5

This Year

Backyard Mess

Last Year

DSC 0321

This Year

DSC 0701

Last Year

DSC 0319

This Year

DSC 0694

Last Year

Backyard Mess 6

This Year

Backyard Mess 2


And as little as I’ve done to clean up the backyard, I’ve done even less in the house.  The thought of leaving this mess and then having to come home to it makes me vomit.  Not just feel like I’m going to vomit, but actually vomit.  O.K., I don’t actually vomit but if I were writing a script for a movie about this, the character of “me” would vomit.  All over the place.

I’m one coat of paint away from completing the chicken coop.  One coat of paint.  I simply cannot, will not leave, when I am so close to being done.  We haven’t had a single dinner outside because of the mess.  We haven’t smoked a single rack of ribs, because of the mess.  We haven’t had a Friday night disco dance party outside in our p’jamas because we never do that and never will.  But even if we wanted to, we couldn’t … because of the mess.

So we’re staying  home to turn this junkpile into a place to live again.


This Year

Backyard Mess 3


Hopefully the weekend won’t be a complete bust just because we’re staying home and cleaning up.  The good news is I have a plan.  If things start to get grim, I’m gonna break out the bologny.


  1. Karen J says:

    Very sweet that The Fella reads your blog!
    Lol, is he commenting from another room in the house???

    • Karen says:

      Karen J – The fella reads the blog every day at 9:30 from work. He’s my biggest support next to my mother who thinks you’re in a wheelchair. ~ karen

  2. Susan says:

    Some helpful suggestions:

    1. If you or the fella own the cottage, stock it with clothes and toiletries at the beginning of the summer and leave them there. That takes two items off the list for every trip after the first one.

    2. The lists of animal To-dos for the animal sitters should only need to be written once on a computer, and then just amended, in the event one of the animals needs special attention for some reason, or there have been additions/removals to the menagerie. That takes a third item from the list.

    3. Place a box somewhere centralized where any item that needs to be returned to the cottage can be placed. Then you just have to pick up the box and put it into the vehicle. That’s a fourth item removed from list.

    Now you’re left with food, and if, as you think of them, you put non-perishable items into the Return to Cottage box, then you only have to deal with perishables.

    So, clean the house, arrange for animal sitters, print out animal To-do lists, put one box in the vehicle, stop for perishables, and you’re off to the cottage.

    I’d have stayed home to finish the coop and clean up, also. Completing it will lift so much tension off, that it will seem like you’re on a permanent vacation for awhile! Thanks, once again, for brightening our day.

  3. Emily says:

    I always thought the alternate spelling was baloney.

    If this was my weekend I think I would feel as good about finishing the coop and cleaning the yard as if I had gone to the cottage. But my boyfriend probably would not agree.

    • Karen says:

      Emily – You could be right! About the bologny boloney. But I thought boloney spelt that was was the alternative for hooey. I’m so confused. ~ karen

  4. Kristin says:

    I’m pretty sure you could not possibly be more fabulous. I am in awe of your writing ability (and your ability to tie together a post with a big freakin’ bow at the very end). Loved it.

    Good luck with your working weekend!

  5. Catherine says:

    LOL – I remember making the list, thinking, oh it’s too much trouble/hassle to go, going anyway (after all it’s unCanadian not to go) the weather being perfect, having a great time.

    BUT I’m not one coat of paint away from being done a chicken coop and I don’t have a beautiful backyard to enjoy so really it’s a no brainer for me.

    Have a great long weekend!

  6. Renee says:

    I was talking to my husband the other day about people with lake houses. We live where a lot of people have second homes at the lake, and they go up there like every weekend or so. I was telling him that it just seemed like a ton of work. Two houses to clean, maintain and shop for. It exhausts me just thinking about it, especially when I can’t keep one house in working order

  7. Brandi says:

    Those chicks better appreciate you for all your efforts!

  8. Shauna says:

    I think bologny sandwiches and white bread are definitely in order this weekend.

    We finished our coop a few weeks ago and I can’t tell you how relieved I was! Here’s my page on backyardchickens if you’re remotely interested;)

  9. Lou Cinda says:

    Karen, look at me! Two comments in a row! The back yard last year was stunning! Truly! This year is just a little cluttered…BUT…that is what happens when we “create”! I feel quite certain that by Monday the back yard will be returned to its former splendor….the coop will be painted…the chickens will be thrilled….AND you will have some crazy funny story to tell us about the process!

    Can’t wait!

    Lou Cinda

  10. paula says:

    karen, your backyard is gorgeous mess or no mess, it’s just hiding under all of your building stuff right now.
    you also left out – in addition to the work to prepare to go to the cottage – the stop and go drive up the 400 or some other highway, which cannot be fun (i live in barrie and bear witness to this insanity every weekend).
    enjoy your weekend at your lovely home and here’s to getting it all done.

  11. Antonia says:

    I LOVE your backyard! Wanna come come to Milton and do mine?!!! LOL! Enjoy your long weekend!

  12. Cheryl in Wisconsin says:

    I hear ya on this. I’m planning a weekend away for Labor Day, which gives me the month of August to get my stuff done first. By “stuff” I mean making my backyard look remotely like yours. Spectacular. Love your use of hastas, I need to bring some in to my space. My advice to anyone: Do NOT plant Japanese lanterns, they will stage a coup. Huh, too bad they can’t stage a coop. That would be more useful.

    • Antonia says:

      To Cheryl in Wisconsin!
      I couldn’t agree with you more re. the Japanese Lanterns. My dad gave me some as a “gift”, and I planted them in my front garden. Well, they turned out to be the ‘gift that kept giving’. They turned up absolutely EVERYWHERE-including in the back yard, in the middle of the lawn, etc… We had to dig everything up to get rid of the roots. And then they still came back! Fortunately we moved last year!!! Never again for Japanese Lanterns!!!

  13. The Fella says:


    Does this mean that if I go to the cottage you won’t pack everything for me? What will I eat?

    • Karen says:

      Fella – Ahem. Suck it. ~ karen

      • Anj says:

        Hi Karen
        I fully agree on the “Suck it” If he is tripping off to the cottage and leaving you home to do the work, he can fend for himself. Unless there are children involved then you run around acting like he is fending for himself and adding things like lifejackets, bandaids, and warm clothes to the pile. This is what I did for the last 2 days and now hubby and kids are off camping for a week without me. This is not sadness inducing, having to go camping would be sadness inducing.
        The only depressing part is that I have not planned fantastic dinners out in restaurants since I don’t have kids this weekend. If the fella goes to the cottage wanna clean yourself up and go out for a tasty steak with frites? The company gave me a gift certificate for Spencer’s and I will look very sad if I go there alone.

  14. Claire says:

    Your building site…erm…backyard is actually very tidy. You should see my house when I start into “reno mania”, it’s an organized war zone. Yes, still organized because that’s me. Your yard looks fantastic even witht he decorative tools scattered about. Excellent work on the coop. I hope you manage to get it finished this weekend so you can relax again!

  15. Nancy says:

    You are right Karen…getting ready to go somewhere IS a lot of work…hope you get the coop done.. waiting to see the final results…Good luck girl…

  16. magali says:

    You just had me very confused and checking my agenda with this long holiday business. I figured us Québecers weren’t cool enough to have this long weekend as well. After googling it, I see that it is indeed the case. Oh well, at least I don’t have a yard to clean but rather a wedding and Osheaga to look forward to.

    very happy for you that you are finishing the coop! can’t wait to see pics! it definitely deserves a toast… but seeing as you don’t drink, perhaps just a bologna sandwich will do!

  17. Leslie says:

    So sorry we won’t be seeing you and your ‘good’ sweats this weekend – flattered that you save the best for us! Stay home, finish the coop and then we can celebrate your return to sanity on your next visit!

  18. Marti says:

    I really dig that new (as in “not in last year’s picture”) Buddha head! That is uber-cool!

    One question. Does the Buddha head have to come in out of the elements in the Canookian winter? Or is it good to stay outside. Great addition… really.

    • Karen says:

      Marti – The Buddha head ( lady version ) was in the older pictures, it was just in a different place. I got it at … Walmart. Yup. And it can withstand just about anything. I *do* bring it in for the winter but I probably don’t need to. ~ karen!

      • Marti says:

        Ok, Miss Smarty-Stuff-Doer, how do you know the gender of that “Buddha head” since it’s has no apparent “junk”?

        Congrats on staying home. If I were hours from finishing a big long project, I’d stay home and paint, too. The whole “FINISHED” thing does more for my soul than any number of days at a cottage.

        Um, unless it was more than 3.

      • Karen says:

        Marti – I don’t know the entire story, but basically back in the day, Buddhism didn’t want to exclude the women so they created the female Buddha. That is an *incredibly* abridged version. The Buddha you see in my backyard is the female version. The round bellied fellow is the male. ~ karen

  19. Jamieson says:

    No cottagIng for me either; just home chillin. But the idea of never having a pyjama disco dance party makes me sad! Brad and I once took turns counting down our personal top tens on the kitchen whiteboard. Wine helps.
    Can’t wait to see your coop!

  20. bex says:

    “spot the difference” :) hehe

  21. jenny says:

    Throughout the post all I noticed about your yard was that under the big ol tree with the split in the bark there are two Silver Orbs on sticks. Do tell – did I miss a crafty post?. I must be part crow, because shiney stuff really catches my eye!

  22. Norell says:

    Once again, your blog was the highlight of my reading!!! I agree with you 100%. I would rather clean my backyard than go through that entire list and spend my time at the cottage thinking about the mess I was going to be coming home to. You make me laugh out loud (for real) every single time I read your blog. I hope your lip is feeling better. Let us know when you do eventually plan the disco party in your pjs. I know I’d love to attend.

  23. Theresa Clarkson-Farrell says:

    look you spend one insane weekend getting it all back in order ( the yard at least) and you can celebrate with an out door diiner serenaded by the chickens the next weekend it the cottage or bust!
    cause you’ve really really really earned a holiday!
    good luck

  24. Jenn says:

    Oh dear. Really?
    That’s kind of sad, I think.

    Getaways are nice, for reasons other than worrying about a yard that needs a sweep or a carpet that needs vacuuming.

    But, everyone’s different, and that could just be me.

    • Karen says:

      Jenn – Really? I don’t think it’s sad at all! I think it’s great to finally finish up a project that’s taken 2 months. Oh! And … did you see the yard? Clearly it needs a little more than a sweep, LOL. Besides, like I pointed out … getting ready to go to the cottage is as much work as cleaning up the backyard and house is going to be. ~ karen

      • Rebecca says:

        I’m with you on this one! Have a productive and fun weekened which goes hand-in-hand in my book: productivity=fun. Should I get out more?

      • Jillian says:

        I totally get what you are saying, Karen. It needs to “feel right and complete” before moving on to the next project. And getting ready for a trip is a project! I just hate to pack for traveling and dread the trip but after I’m there it’s all good. However, I have to force myself not to think of everything I could be working on if I was at home. Right now, I have too many projects going on and feel as if I have ADD and don’t even think of going far from the house or I would need medication!
        Have you ever tried fried bologny sandwiches? Or fried bologny with mixed with scrambled eggs? Comfort foods in my family. Enjoy your cleaning up weekend!

  25. Eye See Pretty says:

    I tend to feel the same way about long weekends. I actually prefer to stay in the city and get things done.

    If it makes you feel better, I’ll be painting this weekend, at least you will be outside!


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