Hooray, we have wasps! :(
Over Labor Day weekend, Anthony and I decided to transplant one of our rose bushes from the back yard to the front. Doesn't that sound like a nice, easy weekend project? Our back yard is tiny, and there isn't much room for Katie to play. The previous owner stuffed every square inch with rose bushes and tanbark. We have neither the time nor the expertise to tend roses, which is why they're all scraggly and overgrown and nearly bending over with the weight of all the rose hips we haven't pruned. I love roses, but really, twenty-one rose bushes is more than enough.
We also happen to have a big gap in the foliage in front of our house, which the HOA has left mysteriously unplanted since we moved in nearly three years ago. We thought, hey, let's stick one of the roses out there and see if they notice! Technically, we aren't allowed to make any changes to the landscaping out there, but I've adopted a "don't ask, just go ahead and do it" policy when it comes to dealing with the HOA. I called them once to ask if we could replace our chimney cap, and they told me it was $250 just to file the paperwork to ask that question. Needless to say, we said "Never mind!" but went ahead and did it anyway. Oooh, we are such rebels!!!!
So as soon as Katie went down for her nap on Sunday, we headed out to the front yard with shovels in hand. The big bare spot faces the street, so I was careful to act casual every time a car drove by. Anthony laughed at me for being ridiculous, but he's the one who suggested Labor Day weekend so that everyone would be out of town! I suppose for secrecy's sake, we should have dug the hole in the dead of night, but that would have looked a lot more suspicious!
We got the hole dug fairly quickly. Our instructions said to dig it twice as big as you think it needs to be. I told Anthony this when it was about a foot in diameter, and he said, "It's already twice as big as I think it needs to be!" But we persevered, and widened it to about 2 feet. That was the easy part. Then we went into the back yard, into the hot September sun, to dig up the rose.
The soil in the front yard was sandy and damp. The rose, on the other hand, seemed like it must have been planted in concrete. We tried a hoe, a spade, and finally a pickaxe. We'd been given instructions to preserve as many of the roots as possible, to keep everything damp while working, to wrap all the roots and dirt in burlap and to plant the whole thing immediately. We threw those instructions out the window, one by one, as we struggled and sweated to get this stupid rose out of the ground. I went and got the lopper and started lopping through roots so Anthony could get his pickaxe through the soil. It was a nightmare. Finally, the only way to get that rose dug up was to break up all the soil around the roots and yank it out of the ground. I'm sure stripping it down to its bare roots is not the best thing for a rose bush...but oh well, at least it's out of the back yard. As soon as we'd placed it in its new hole with some special plant food and lots of water, I started to hear Katie on the baby monitor. Anthony quickly filled both holes and we were done! Yay.
We were so sore the next day! (We still are today, actually.) But we both had a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. Unfortunately, as we stood in our back yard, admiring the new space, we noticed a new wasp nest! Hoo-freakin-ray. Normally, I would leave them be, as they're supposed to be natural predators of other yucky things, but they're just too close to Katie's play area for my comfort. Sorry, wasps! Tomorrow we're getting an estimate from an exterminator, so your days are numbered.
Oh - and the other 9,999 rose bushes? We're going to hire someone to remove those suckers!