Monday, May 26, 2008

"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt." -- Margaret Atwood

We intended to plant our garden on Mother's Day, but the weather was cold and nasty and we had to wait. Yesterday, MB spent the day with his parents to celebrate his dad's birthday. Meanwhile, my dad and my sister--newly returned from a semester abroad in Ireland--helped me get the garden started.

Armed with rakes and a hoe and a lovely short handled spade, we put in four tomato plants (two Big Boy and two hilariously-named Beefmaster); bell peppers in red, green, and yellow; a cucumber plant; and a zucchini plant. It's not much, but I figure it's best to start small since we're not exactly sure we know what we're doing.

Although he wasn't allowed inside the garden itself, Indy provided supervision from his cave behind the bushes:

He definitely looked like he was up to something back there.

Lowe's was sold out of rabbit fencing and even though all three employees we talked to claimed they had it, Rural King only sold "poultry netting," which I guess is what they call chicken wire now, to avoid offending the turkeys. They can call it whatever they want, as long as it keep the rabbits from snarfing down all my baby vegetable plants.



bell peppers

Both You Grow Girl and Lasagna Gardening recommended using cut-off jugs to provide a more continuous water source to thirsty plants like peppers and tomatoes:

baby tomato plant

Sunday, May 4, 2008

holly jolly

We have a beautiful holly tree in the backyard, which the utility company has told us they'll have to trim out of the reach of the power lines. We tried getting a quote from a reputable tree trimming company, since the crews the power company uses are notorious for hacking the tops off with little regard for the health or stability of the tree. I had a guy come look at the tree, and he gave me a quote for trimming it back, but then said that in his professional opinion, we'd be better off just letting the power company top the tree and then getting the rest removed, because we'd just end up paying to have it pruned year after year. We decided to just let things be and see what would happen, and just enjoy the tree in the meantime.

There are, of course, holly leaves ALL OVER the ground around the tree. I wasn't too worried about it until the day that I noticed Indy doing a hot coals dance any time he had to go over there to fetch his ball. He'd sprint over to the tree, stop a few feet short, and hesitate for a few seconds before carefully picking his way over to the ball and then high-stepping his way back to the safety of the grass. I promised him I'd rake up the sharp pointy leaves so he could frolic safely, so I picked up a rake at Walhell one night. Last Thursday, I had a day off so I kept my promise.

These two huge piles are in addition to what I'd scooped up Wednesday evening:

I was almost done raking them all together when the rake fell apart.

And the cat laughed, a lot:

I guess that's what I get for buying a $4 rake at Walmart. I think I can fix it, but at the time I didn't realize that so I was a bit pissy.

After I finished scraping the leaves into smaller and smaller piles and stuffing them into the trashcan and a big moving box we had in the shed, it was time to plant some of the hostas that I got from one of Evilducky's coworkers. With the help of my faithful gardening assistant, of course:

You know, it might've been a good idea to plant these the same day I cleaned up the beds and before I put the newspapers down.

The soil in the beds is pretty much all clay, so after the first plant, it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to give the rest of them a little help.

Ooh, yummy.

Much better!

"What, this mat? You weren't using it, were you?"

Now what am I supposed to do with a giant bucket of clay?

I guess I could make little animals and sell them on Etsy.

"Do whatever you want. I'm tired from all that work."

Nice job, Indy. Nice job.