Thursday, May 19, 2022

Work Day

 Dad had a rough night, which translates to Michael and I having a rough night.  He has picked up some bug.  I am usually up at 0500 but as we were up at 0230 I slept in...and I needed to be up so that I could get Dad ready and the girls and I could leave the house by 0840. We picked up the pace and made it...Stacia needed to be across town at her nany gig by 0900. Allie and I went out for our Bible Study. We are beginning a study titled Faith over Perfection. We enjoyed our first week. 

Allie and I ran to Freddie's and did some shopping in the hour after we were done and before Stacia needed picked up.  While we were checking out I remembered we are having a houseful again this Sunday and I  am going to be busy Friday and Saturday. I should have given more mental energy to a menu before snatching the hour to shop. LOL

We had agreed with Michael to spend the afternoon doing yard work.  The weather has turned nice and we need to continue making progress on garden projects NOW.  I knew I had a lot of seedlings to up- plant. I asked Michael to drill a hole in the bottom of all these cups....some day I'll have pretty pots from a garden supply store. I do like being able to take a sharpie and mark what is planted, and not worrying if they break when I'm transplanting....maybe I'll stay with the cups.  LOL 

Michael and I got out into the garden and surveyed the spot. We have plans - BUT we are NOT going to get it all done this year and need to prioritize. Now that I've discovered how well the monitor will work and Grandpa is routinely taking long afternoon naps, I will be able to spend more time outside than I could in the past 2 years.  This is the garden plot.....PLEASE keep in mind if there is not a garden bed over the spot, there is black plastic or old carpet...and still the weeds! 

You can really see the winder damage here. But look at the greenhouse in the back which we've Michael replaced. It's working great. The two beds in the foreground are twisted beyond help. Arielle removed the frames. We'll use the wire for vertical growing. The pvc is done for.  About mid-photo is our second home-built frame...also smashed beyond easy useability. The hoop house in the back can be utilized this year. You can see a bit of the slope of the garden here. It slops East to West and North to South. We plan to terrace or level it out - but we may end up dealing with it another year if we need to get the pumpkins and squash in before we can finish the job. 

There is CARPET under all that grass! 

The tires you see in the photos are strategically placed to hold down plastic in the garden. The past two years I planted flowers in them. I am not ready to plant potatoes until we decide if we are terracing or leveling the open areas.  Michael suggested I grow as many potatoes as I can in the tires. I could start them now and then plant the rest once we figure out which spot to put them in this year. We weeded the tires...and were surprised to find cottonwood trees in the tires. We had used new soil and compost in them, they are on top of black plastic.  As we traced the roots we found big roots under the plastic. 

Tracing from one tree in a tire, under the black plastic, outside of the fence to a bit cottonwood and Michael finally just cut it off. I feel like I should take that and make it into some sort of garden art. 

While we began bringing the garden back to life the girls raked leaves. Arielle and the boys showed up and joined in the work. We sure appreciated the girls' and the young gents help today. 

Helpfully posing for the blog. LOL 

Allie quipped, "Guitar rake..."
Putting some heart into her work.  Notice how green the yard is getting. 

LOOK AT THIS! We have new asparagus! It's back. I'm excited. I have no idea how to grow it...but it came back. I guess we can just cut and eat this. Last year I let it all go to seed, hoping to get a more robust batch of asparagus. I'd really like to eat some though. Thoughts? 

Benny is simply not excited about my asparagus! 

The girls got busy up-planting pumpkins (2 kinds), yellow squash, and Chinese beans. There may have been other things. I still have melons, squash and sprouts that will need up-planted.

Arielle and I went ahead and moved some cold weather starts from the greenhouse to the garden. We are not predicted to have frost between now and the end of May. I'm hoping. We moved lettuce, cabbage, Bok choy, Brussel sprouts and some green onions. I direct seeded spinach and lettuce. 
This green square is one of my late-night shopping surprises. I love it. The sheet that came with it tells me which color circle to use depending on what I'm planning. I'm hoping this helps with spacing...I want to maximize space, but I don't want to crowd plants. The orange stick/spoon has inches marked on it and works well.  There's a funnel for seeds but it seems more trouble than it's worth. 

My notebook and stash of seeds show I still have plenty of things to direct sow. MIchael decided the quickest way to get me some space for transplanting tomatoes, cucumbers and beans would be to divide the hoop house where it broke and move it over to cover the beds which were inside the greenhouse that it smashed to smithereens.  Those first four arches will form the house over the warm beds.  He thinks he can also fix the other half but it will take a bit more time.  I will make sure I have starts to go into the warm house when it's ready. I think decided if we are going to level or terrace anything this year will be next. If we are doing to do that, we need it done before I plant in the spaces or we put more beds in. 

The garden is a MESS! BUT this one bed has been amended and planted. I put the clear plastic sides from our first greenhouse (we've had 4 destroyed now) over the seeds. The hope is it keeps birds out, warms the soil, keeps the soils in place and helps them germinate quickly. 

Look at all these seedlings the girls up-planted!

These are the ones that will need to soon be up-planted as well...unless I have a bed for them to go into. There are also another 7 trays of seeds started this week. Many of them are flowers and I may not up plant but go from the plug to various places around the property. We'll see.  

The girls are champs! They don't love outside work and were happy to go inside and make Chicken Divan for dinner. I had planned on salmon but was too entrenched in dirt to break free when it was time to prep dinner. 

I transplanted some spearmint. I plan to make tea with them - and smell them because - spearmint. 

I also transplanted basil into this planter. I think I'll try to establish these and either another herb or some lettuce in planters that come inside under grow lights during the winter. 

As we worked, I pondered Allie's question. What DO I like about gardening? When I had moved all the tools from the broken hoop house, moved all the plants back into the greenhouse, planted the bd, transplanted the herbs, I sat.  It was quite warm and humid in the greenhouse...about 85-90*.  It felt like a sauna. I liked that moment of gardening today. 

I liked having us all outside working on a common goal. I liked dreaming with Michael of what I'd like the garden to eventually look like...a gazebo for tea parties, flowers, trellis', arches and pathways with wood chips to help keep the weeds down between the beds....and a chalk board, wind chimes.... I Loved knowing that soon I would be able to go out to the garden and harvest a few potatoes, or snip some onions, or greens for dinner. I do love watching things grow and the orderly rows when things are first planted.  I like having an excuse to be outside all spring/summer...and I like having a ready way for meaningful movement every day. 

There are a lot of things I like about gardening....weeds are not one of them. All the WORK is daunting...but it's a good feeling to try once again to wrest civilization from the jungle. 

And, even though it's nearly 10 p.m. I am going to love running a HOT bath and sinking into some epsom salts. 

It's been a productive day, a good day, even a bit of fun. 

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