It's December here at Fencebroke, and the grounds resemble nothing so much as a house-party the morning after. In the hour or so of rain-free daylight the Northwest typically portions out for the month, I can be found wandering around outside—the dazed and regretful host of said party— miffed that no one bothered to clean up after themselves.
A few storms must've crashed the party, at some point, like drunken frat boys, their blowdown scattered like broken furniture. And some jackass frost snuck in when I wasn't looking: just look at all those dead annuals. How hard is it to pull a few on your way out? Then there's—whoa! What happened out front? Who invited the deciduous gang? Jeez, OK, if everyone would just spend five minutes helping, we could have these leaves raked up in no time. No? No volunteers?
So I divide my precious window of time into equal parts cursing at missing plant tags (would guests really stoop to such petty theft?), tossing Christmas lights over everything to disguise the mess, and desultorily hacking at dormant perennials—once spirited members of the previous seasons' debauch, now rudely undressed and passed-out all over the yard.
And the veggie garden … ugh, I don't even know where to start. In the house-party scenario, it's like the kitchen. You all know what I mean. It was, like, party headquarters in there just a few short weeks ago. Now it's—oh god, the sink! Well, it just goes to say: you should always at least clean the kitchen before you stumble off to bed.
Don't anybody go in there until I say it's all clear.