The weather this weekend was mild and lovely, and we took advantage of the weather to do some typical midwinter Colorado things. We went and sat in traffic in the mountains for four hours, a.k.a. "skiing"--which actually was really wonderful, and our oldest is starting to LIKE doing this, which gives me rosy visions of a future in which we can all go slide down the slopes, or down remote mountain trails, together, instead of one of us snowplowing incessantly behind Silas and the other hanging out with Helen at the beer tables sans beer. Then, on Sunday, I got out the pruning sheers and did some winter pruning. This started out being very Martha-Stuart-better-homes-and-garden-ish: I trimmed the apple tree, and put the branches in the bird cage, and then I pruned the thorny flower bush, and put the already-starting-to-bud branches in some water in the house, so in theory we'll have some early spring flowers here in a week or so. Very pleasant and productive; all good.
Then I started in on the juniper bushes crowding the front of the house. These are almost forty years old and very, um, VIGOROUS, so it took me a while to get through the outer branches. I piled these up behind me, whistling a little Martha-Stuart-ish tune. Then I got into the middle of the first juniper, and whoa, different channel. One with a frat-house theme: I started pulling out beer bottles, and beer cans, and cigarette packages, and soda bottles. Out of one (1) bush, I pulled seven (7) beer bottles and one extra-large beer can. And these were just the ones I could reach. Four more would have involved diving into the heart of the juniper bush, preferably wearing a hazmat suit.
One (1) bush. Eleven (12) beer bottles/cans.
Other things we've found buried in the yard/ walls/ insulation of our house:
Yard: Approximately 48 little toy cars, car parts, and little plastic toy pieces. The kids love this, of course.
Garage wall insulation: half a hot dog, with bun. McDonald's receipt for an Oreo Slushy (I found this on a hot day and could only salivate helplessly--"Mmmm. Oreo SLUSHEEEE...") Three mouse nests.
Between the drywall of the bathroom and one of the kid's rooms: two toy cars, a Toys R Us gift card, a calling card, two packs of playing cards, one unopened, and an Etch-a-Sketch that works better than any of our other Etch-a-Sketches.
Hmm. I remember the nice old couple at the closing table, the ones who'd lived in the house for fifteen years--and think man. I know more about them than I ever really wanted to know.