Dirt! The Project

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You know how when you clean a room, I mean, really clean it, organize it, etc, and it seems to get worse before it can get better?  Doing a big yard project is like that, but worse, because there’s dirt everywhere.

And so continues our outdoor projects.  I was a little disappointed on Saturday because Zach and his dad spent most of the day doing this:

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Stump removal.  It looks like a bomb went off in the corner of our yard right now.  And it took a lot longer than we all expected, and it was a lot harder than expected.  But, at least it got removed, mostly.  Zach was happy his dad was there to help, and I was happy I didn’t have to be there with the noisy chainsaw.  Apparently, the dogs didn’t mind though.  The Wii terrifies Penny, but not a chainsaw, so I have no idea what goes on in her head.

So by the time they finished that, there wasn’t a whole lot of time to work on moving the garden dirt.  Plus, Sunday, we were going to have to bathe the dogs and take them to get their nails clipped, so I was a little stressed, initially, that we weren’t able to do more.

To top it off, we woke up Sunday to a super windy day.  Moving dirt in the wind is not fun.  Not only that, but all the cardboard I had laid the evening before had blown all over the place.  And trying to lay newspaper down in high winds, even when you wet it, is one of the most irritating things ever.

All that said, Sunday was amazing.  Our awesome friends showed up to help move dirt, and that made all the difference.  We got more done than I had even planned!

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We were able to even cover most of the area we are using for a front flower garden.  Totally unexpected, but very welcomed.  My only regret is that I didn’t take a picture of the dirt, but we were so busy, I barely had my phone on me all day, so I forgot to take any pictures.  Most of these were taken by Zach.

We are almost ready to plant.  We are building removeable panels this week so we have something to keep the dogs and rabbits out of the garden, but are easy for me to remove when I tend to the garden.  I guess a lot of people will get short chicken wire and then bend over it to weed and harvest, but my back is way too bad/I’m too short for that.  We need something nicer and easier.

I already planted wheatgrass in a planter box because I was impatient, and it’s coming in already.  I need extra green for my smoothies!

Until next time.

Monster Raised Beds

IMG_5048We’re getting started!  This was our first day of major yard work/yard construction.  It was a ton of work, mainly because Zach is a bit of a perfectionist, but also because we built a huge garden bed with huge 6X6 lumber pieces.  We wanted a bed that would last, not bow out eventually from the weight of soil, and we used cedar because it’s safe for the food, and won’t rot nearly as fast as other woods (which are generally treated with cedar to prolong their lives).  Surprisingly, it wasn’t much more expensive than building a nice regular raised bed, because we called around to lumber yards and found one with great deals on shorter, 4 foot-long pieces.

The only things we have left to do with this particular bed is to build up a stone retaining wall around it, to keep the dirt from falling, to fill it with garden soil (and prep it for that), and to create a mulch path around the bed so we don’t have grass around it, and so it’s nice to walk around.  We will put in the irrigation system in May, along with a new sprinkler system in the backyard.

Anyway!  I’ll just post pictures and let them mostly speak for themselves.

My dad drilling holes for the rebar.  We used the rebar on the bottom level of the lumber to secure it to the ground.
My dad drilling holes for the rebar. We used the rebar on the bottom level of the lumber to secure it to the ground.
It took quite a while to level out the ground.  That was actually the most work.  Shoveling and tampering for hours...
It took quite a while to level out the ground. That was actually the most work. Shoveling and tampering for hours…
Zach and Layla finally agreed to the outline and dimensions.
Zach and Layla finally agreed to the outline and dimensions.
Zach putting in the rebar.
Zach putting in the rebar.
I was terrified that my dad's duct-taped axe was going to kill someone as we used it as a hammer...
I was terrified that my dad’s duct-taped axe was going to kill someone as we used it as a hammer…
The dogs used the wheelbarrows as shade, even though we have a covered deck and plenty of shade elsewhere.  They were committed to the project.
The dogs used the wheelbarrows as shade, even though we have a covered deck and plenty of shade elsewhere. They were committed to the project.
The "semi-final" product.  It was a long day, but it looks beautiful, and makes me want to create a garden labyrinth.
The “semi-final” product. It was a long day, but it looks beautiful, and makes me want to create a garden labyrinth.
We are mostly doing seeds, but we did get this strawberry plant for the back part of the garden.
We are mostly doing seeds, but we did get this strawberry plant for the back part of the garden.

There is still quite a lot to do, and I’ll try my best to document everything, at least via pictures.  Thank you for taking this journey with me!

Until next time.

 

 

“No Soliciting”

I seriously need to get a “no soliciting” sign for my house.  Although, to be honest, I doubt it’ll help.  Yesterday, about half a dozen Jehovah’s Witnesses FANNED OUT on my street distributing flyers and knocking on everyone’s door.  It looked like the scene in Lord of the Rings where the wraiths go after Frodo at the top of the watchtower.  I have never seen anything like it.  And as someone who has slight paranoia about most things, it kind of terrified me and I hid and let the dogs bark.

Not only that, but as I left my house, a man cornered me as I was getting into my truck to try and collect names for something that I couldn’t quite understand what for (a lot of fast double talking and ambiguous language is a red flag for me).  So yeah, unless I had a “no soliciting” sign on my truck, I was screwed there too.  And in the case of this last guy, it was highly suspicious and more than likely a scam of some sort.  Luckily, somehow my hair got frazzled before I went outside, and I had angry, crazy eyes on, so he took my “no” to heart.

Okay, enough of that.  How’s the backyard coming?

We’re taking a break for a couple days because the weather is yucky.  We’ve been moving dirt from one side of the yard to the other, to level out an area for the garden beds.  The dirt is from a former playground area from a previous owner.  It was covered with mulch, which we managed to dispose of last year.  Now, we’re dealing with the dirt.  We’re almost halfway through, so we will definitely get everything done in that area by the end of this weekend.

The former playground.
The former playground.

For those that might be worried about weeds or grass that grew in this area and us reusing it, don’t worry.  The dirt will be covered so it’ll all die, it won’t be used as the actual garden dirt.

The future garden site.  Penny is checking for quality control.
The future garden site. Penny is checking for quality control.

It looks like an even bigger mess right now, but after all this crappy work is done, it’ll change a lot faster and more dramatically.  Basically, after the tilling project.  Tilling will feel like a breeze after spending a month moving dirt and rock all over the place.

Until next time.

One Man’s Garbage…

Oh hi, allergy season.

I’m sitting here writing with a box of tissues next to me and blowing my nose outside.  We’ve been leaving the windows open lately because it’s been so nice, but now my allergies are going insane, and my current medication is doing nothing for me, except preventing me from taking something else (damn you, 24 hour Allegra).

Spring is weird.  It’s just the sight, sound, and smell of nature getting it on.  And I’m allergic to all of its sexy wonder.

But on the plus side, today I’ll be mixing in some new soil into my planters, because my Russian sage and echinacea are already sprouting.  Thankfully these are hardy plants, because we have snow coming in a couple of days.

Our projects are coming along nicely, and one of my personal ones is dealing with certain “garbage” left at our house by the previous owner.  The back yard was truly a mess.  There were 3 car batteries, a dangerous shed, car tires, rusty garden hangers and a scary looking dog kennel…

While we’ve managed to sell off or properly dispose of most of it, there are a few things we decided to keep and use.  The rusty hangers were one of them.

IMG_4955I mean, we’re going to have a lot of gardens, so why not keep these hangers?  I bought some red spray paint and used a sandpaper block to clean off the rust and any chipped paint that was left (although, there was hardly any paint left, mostly rust).  I wiped them clean and then started spraying.

IMG_4957I did two coats each side, and it took about a day to dry.  I picked the red color because of my desperate and constant hope that it’ll draw back the hummingbirds.

IMG_5003No more rusty hangers!

I’m glad I didn’t throw these away, because initially, I tried to get them into the big dumpster we rented last year, but we ended up keeping them.

Now, to turn the tires into something usable and pretty:

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Although Penny seems fine with their current dumpster quality.

Until next time.