One of my longstanding "haven't gotten around to that yet" projects was finishing off the culvert in the back. The culvert handles run off from winter rains from the properties above us on the hill. Oh how lovely it would be to have that run off rain soak into my soil, but there is a little detail called "landslide" or "slope failure", that prevents me from pursuing that option. At the top of the property and slope, three drains and three series of 3" pipes ran down the hill to handle run off and prevent erosion. I installed those drains and pipes myself back about 2001. They worked--sort of. The problem was the drains would get clogged with eucalyptus leaves from the neighbor's trees, and the water would come rushing down, tearing out a couple of feet of soil every year--leaving debris and mud...it was a mess. At one point, near the bottom of our property, the water gouged the pipes out of the ground, they disconnected, and we had quite a mudslide. Water sat in the area and we had a plague of mosquitoes.
In 2006, from about the middle of the slope downwards, we had the pipe system removed and replaced with a concrete culvert. The culvert works wonderfully, easily handling the run off. No mud slides, no erosion, no slope failure. Safe. Good. The property below us has its own drain system to safely move the water along. Safe. Good. So the plan was to finish the culvert, but other projects, deaths in the family, the cost of it--those all intervened. The drains would get clogged every year, we'd get some minor erosion, but I would check the drains constantly in every rain storm to try to prevent that. Mostly, I did.
Last week I saw the concrete guy who did our driveway in the neighborhood. He stopped to chat, took a look at the area, got his demo guy out to look at the area, said he would call me, and this morning no phone call--there were guys ripping out plants instead. Which is fine.
It will be a messy week is all, and the puppies will be disgruntled not to have the run of the driveway during the day, but then the culvert will be done, and I won't be wide and anxiously awake on rainy winter nights anymore, worrying about whether or not drains are being clogged with eucalyptus leaves. In the meantime, the mess.
There will be a new privacy hedge to plant when the culvert is completed. I had Prunus caroliniana there. It wasn't quite satisfactory. I wanted it just a wee bit more dense than it was, and I never could tip prune it quite enough to get the desired density. And it was getting too tall as well. I think I'm going with, yes, cheap, tough, common, horribly boring, highly drought-tolerant, utterly reliable, dense, fast-growing Ligustrum japonicum.
While guys were running back and forth dragging shrubs to their dump truck, while the chainsaws roared, a hoverfly (maybe) stopped at the rose in front of my face and made a leisurely meal of pollen. undisturbed by tumult.
In the early light, rusty pollen swelled from dark anthers, and lily flesh sparkled.
Demolition okay. On rainy winter nights to come, I'll be soothed by the sound of rain.