Posts Tagged 'yard'

When it Rains, it Pours – or Not

Wasn’t I just complaining about how much rain we’ve been getting?

Yeah, that’s what I thought…

Well, the truth is that we were getting a lot of rain – which if one is prone to doing some gardening – can be a good thing.

About 5 years ago we purchased three 50-gallon rain barrels.  An environmental and financial good idea.  Water with the rainfall, save some cash and divert some of the water from the over-worked storm sewers.  And for 5 years it’s been a very win-win situation.

One of the lessons we have learned is that during a typical summer rain storm, the amount of roof run-off into the gutters then into the rain barrels is amazing.  50 gallons fills in virtually no time at all.  After about a 2 hour steady rain – 150 gallons of rain water is at our service.

Only on very rare occasions have we had to resort to dragging out the dreaded hose to water our flowers and vegetables.  When droughts happen, 150 gallons of rain water seems to get used almost as quickly as the barrels got filled up.

With all of the vegetable garden expansion we’ve done over the past two summers, along with sacrificing more and more lawn for additional bed space and berry bush plantings – we have a lot more green stuff to water, so the need for additional rain water collection became especially apparent.  We have been tearing through and draining the rain barrels faster than ever before.  Fortunately we did have a pretty wet Spring, but more rain barrels were needed – there was no doubt about that.

So we purchased and combined 3 more barrels into our system – doubling our capacity.


two behind our garage and


two more beside our deck.

We have a third set on the driveway side of the house as well – but I think you get the picture 🙂

Our now 300 gallon rain water capacity should serve us well as we move into the heat of summer 2011.

Should.

All we need now is some actual rain to fill them…

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Lettuce Give Thanks

Lotsa lettuce…

and other stuff…

What started as this (from my last post)…

Has turned into this…

Lettuce not forget the Tomatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Basil and Asparagus…

Lettuce eat many Salads!

Time Off….WOOT!!!!!!!!!

I am doing the the happy dance. I am on vacation, that’s right V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N!!!!!!!

I was asked if I would like to come in on Thursday for some training thing…..

NO!

NO! I am NOT coming in…..!

I have moved my vacation time twice already, I’m so done with the public, computer software issues, training, all of it. Homicidal thoughts have been crossing my mind way too often. Really, I need a break.

Back to the happy dance. It has been an interesting start we saved one pit bull from getting hit by a car on Sunday on our way to the store. I have never met such a dominate, ill mannered, no training, feet fixation, mouthing, growing, little girl(40 lbs) like this one. She is not what most responsible owners of this breed or any breed, would call a “good example.” Her owner, lets just say I had some very bad vibes about the whole deal, should not be allowed to own a dog.

This is the second time now that I have had regrets returning a dog to its owner. My gut tells me by her behavior and other observations that there is bad stuff going on. This was the 1st time that the husband has ever been concerned about the behavior of a dog that he has interacted with. In all honesty I kinda think she may have gotten mad because we were taking her back. Nope….she was pissed because she couldn’t mouth at his feet and had a temper tantrum like a child. For some strange reason I didn’t get nervous by her tantrum. I saw it as a type of acting out so to speak of and took the lead from the husband as he requested. I found the whole thing very strange and yet I understood this dog and her ill mannered ways. Btw, she got in our car, jumped in the front seat, in my lap and gave me sloppy bully kisses when we first picked her up. I believe due to her being in “her” environment, street, home set off the behavior. Interesting, I find all of it interesting.

“Can I rake your leaves and have them?” I really asked my neighbor this yesterday because when I see leaves I see compost. I know it’s a strange way of thinking but I can’t help it. All leaves to me, besides smelling good and crunching under your feet make me think of compost. This is a key element to a great garden. Since we have embraced this urban farming thang, I need leaves because I really hate paying for compost. I keep telling my one landscaper friend to dump all his leaves in my drive because I really need them. Really, 8 – 50 gallon garbage cans packed full of leaves is nothing which is what we raked yesterday. I need a huge truck load. I am coveting my other neighbor whose yard may yield about 15 garbage cans full.

So why are we so focused on leaves….well the husband and I have only been cleaning out the back 40 when time has allowed and getting it ready for spring. Let me put it this way, we are cleaning and looking at possible designs. Since we are moving away from a yard that “looks pretty” to a yard that is “pretty” and has purpose “food” the clean slate issue keeps coming up. We have decided that 80% of our landscaping will be finding a new home. We figure that we need about 10 yards of compost to amend the soil of the two zones that will be created next year. There will be a total of 4 zones when all is said and done. I still have much research to do because permaculture is somewhat different than having regular gardens and I’m okay with that.

Projects to finish while on vacation is the office old closet area and re-purpose a 50+ year old shipping crate for the bathroom. Small projects, low cost and large impact.

Rain, Weeds, & Maple Seeds

There has been days of this:

Due to much of this:

You have to admit it’s pretty darn awesome.

Gardens to plant:

Many pots and baskets to fill with flowers:

Major yard clean up of weeds, weeds and more weeds. Even more clean up of the seed dropping from the Maple Trees. This would be the neighbors Maple Trees that surround us and also the weeds because the rental next door just cut the lawn – for the first time this year in late May 2010 – this would be the back yard.

Now look how pretty it is. I know it still wasn’t done when I took this photo – As of yesterday the whole entire back 40 is weed free.

Which is why we went through 5 yards of black goodness – that would be pure compost.

Oh and how can I forget the Greek Spring Festival, which was the first festival of the year. I wish I had some of those honey buns now.

There have been many conversations from Ghetto said neighbors, which include endless hours of the following Ghetto-Speak.
“F*#k” – insert whatever comes to mind that makes no damn sense.
“She’s a Bitch” – use best ghetto slang you can muster up.
“She’s a Skank” – is that even a real word?

Now repeat for the next 7 hours.

That leads to the husband and myself beating a path to the nearest, quietest, restaurant and enjoying these.

I guess it would be fair to say that the husband and I have been a bit outdoorsy of late. We have literally been covered in some sort of dirt, mud, compost for the last 2 months when mother nature found it fitting. I need to have a talk with mother nature about 86 degree days and high, nasty humidity. Working in the back 40 feels like the damn Amazon Jungle complete with bugs. Ewww.

There are more photo’s here, and more to come.

The husband: I want to order 4 more yards of compost in.
Me: Okay, what are we going to do with the rest of it?
The husband: I want to re-seed the back 40 area, after I cook and kill the weeds that have taken over the grass.
Me: What about, cook it, kill it, no grass and we just landscape it? Bring in a River Birch and a couple White Pines, thin the triangles out and finally just redo it.
The husband: I like that Idea, I like that Idea a lot. Think about how we tie it all together.
Me: Okay.

What the hell was I thinking – OY! Yes, a new project for fall.

Ahhhh Vacation

So far vacation has been work and fun. The husband and I are trying to do both. All work no play make a vacationer very unhappy.

Here’s the list of work and play.

Friday – Greek festival with our friend George.

Saturday – Worked in the yard and went to see Ed Helms in one of my favorite little cities.

Sunday – Spread Sweet peat and then dinner at favorite place on the lake for steak

Monday – Rock shopping for the right color of stone. The color I want oh so bad I cannot get here which would be Mexican Blue Pebble Stone. Dinner at Taco Bell, Ice Cream at local place.

Tuesday – Cleaned up the shade garden and our friend Steve was up for a visit.

Wednesday – My Birthday. We did a little work, very little work and had dinner at another near by city on the lake. Gotta love Czech food.

Thursday – Started to clean out the garden – what a mess. Friend Steve back with his friend Jerry to talk about, dare I say cabinets. Kitchen bloody cabinets. Could this be our man? Oddly enough when Jerry asked us what we wanted we just looked at one another because we had been living so long – since 2005 – with an unusable kitchen we actually didn’t know how to answer him. Husband and I went to lunch and for my birthday I got a new camera since the other finally bit it from being in the rain. To wrap up the night a little wine with some sausage, fruit, bread cracker, and cheese. Perfect.

Friday – We started our day with the husband back in the garden and me researching on line for how shall I say – a little psychological warfare. Since you all know what has been going on around here – it had stopped – I am preparing for when it starts again, and I assure you it will.

By 11:15 we were at my in-laws moving 3 scoops of pea gravel. One would think that we would have had enough but no – we finished the garden clean up, covered the path with landscaping fabric and laid down some pea gravel. We are trading my father-in-law pea gravel for sweet peat. Today is the first day that I actually cooked at home. Steak on the grill, tomato, basil, mozzarella cheese and Sicilian bread to complete it. I forgot the red wine.

Saturday we have a function to attend to with our friends George and Don. Can someone say clam bake?!

Watching it Rain

There was a time when I would panic if I knew a storm was coming in. Our life was planned around heavy rain events. These days I only check the basement once or twice during a storm and monitor the street for about 10 minutes.

There is still some anxiety when I hear the pounding rain but when I look in the front yard I now smile and a sense of calmness takes over.

The calmness is not lasting – I am timing our sump. I think I need to have a glass of wine. Does wine go with chili?

Plants and Shrubs

Where did I leave off prior to the puppy smack down the other night?
Oh yes… SHOPPING!!!!!!

The plant list:

2 Red Twigged Dogwoods

2 St John’s Wort’s (native)

1 Spice Bush (native)

1 Hinoki

1 Turtlehead (native)

2 Prairie Fire (native)

1 Blue Lobelia native plant

1 Wild Geranium native plant

1 Gaura Lindheimeri native plant

1 Salvia X Superba native plant – Meadow Sage

1 Swamp Milkweed native plant –

1 Joe-Pye Weed Chocolate brown –

3 Yarrow native plants

Gifts from the neighbor:

2 Cone Flower native plant

1 Forsythia

Gift from Mother Nature:

1 Hawthorn Tree – We are crazy, we know. I call this security for free.

Put it all together and it looks like this:

And we’re still not done.


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