I tore at it for several hours today and managed to progress a little bit. The grass and other weeds are incredibly thick, and all I can do is clear a square foot at a time.
I am glad we didn't try to just roto till it all under-- it's a thick mat of weeds and vines, and there are some blackberries in there, as well. What's more, it seems like the previous owners may have deliberately placed sod in there at one time, because in places the grass roots seem extremely "organized," and laid on a layer of plastic.
At the current rate, it will be touch-and-go whether or not I will be able to finish the weeding before Sarah returns. I have till Thursday-- her flight arrives fairly late in the day, and since James is going to pick her up at the airport, I have a full work day I can apply to this.
I am feeling fairly determined... it would be nice if I didn't "let this slide" for another year. It has already become too late to try to "convert" the lawn area on the end of the house by the chicken coop, but at least we might be able to "re-capture" this piece of the property... which was already used as a vegetable garden at one time.
We have both mint (not sure what type it is) and marjoram growing there.
Tori is also doing some work at Avis' house, but she seems to have a lot of enthusiasm for gardening at the moment.