Monday, April 1, 2013

Screening Soil

Today's project was to dig out where my initial vegetable bed will be, and then screen the soil dug out of the hole so that what was being placed back INTO the hole is less, well, rocky, than what was there initially. 

You may recall that initially the space I am using was home to that horrific sumac tree (yes, horrific) and a whole host of its off shoots. Last summer/fall I dug and dug and dug some more to get the runners and most of the initial stump dealt with and then in October Mum & Dad came up and helped me get the rest of the stump out.
Horrific Sumac with Pretty Clematis 
That was the project that involved my digging out (and then, yes, breaking) a perimeter drainage line and also making most of my back yard into what was a great a muddy mess for the fall and winter.

Sumac Stump with Punctured Perimeter Drain Pipe
Not content with just that, a few weeks ago I dug out most of the hump that was beside the pond (deepening which is another project for this summer) and flattened out that space so as to make the yard more inviting for lawn chairs and, once the grass grows back in, perhaps little nephew feet to play in the grass.
OK - back to the soil screening.  I had been looking to get my hands on something to screen the rocks out of my soil for quite some time - my brother came to my rescue (thanks Rob!) and loaned me the soil screen that he and his wife have.  It's pretty cool actually and some day I hope, very much, to be able to build something like this for myself - I am certain I will need it each year to screen out my compost AND screen more rocks out of my soil when I start working on the REST of my garden-related projects and space.  It is a pretty cool thing, with handles, and it rests on top of my wheelbarrow quite nicely to allow the needed stuff to sift through and the rocks to stay put.

"Tools" for today's project work included the screen (of course) my wheel barrow, a garden fork, a shovel and a damn skookum pair of work gloves.  Also in use was a hat and  LOTS of water to drink. Once I had breakfast and my coffee I was ready to get started...
I got right into it and, of course, forgot to take pictures while the project was "in progress" but the end result is a nice bed that measures 3'5" by 11'.  I have my lattice bamboo lengths stretched across it both to discourage pussy cats from considering it to be a bathroom and to discourage large black dogs who live in my house from using it as a motor-way for chasing the aforementioned pussy cats. I also outlined the bed edges with large rocks to keep my brain in mind of where I have screened soil and where I have not yet screened soil
Once blocked out with rocks, I direct-seeded some kale and spinach (likely too early for the spinach, but I will know in about a week if any of it sprouts) in the bed and sectioned off where I will be planting some beans.  We've been forecast to continue with the above zero temperatures and sunshine for the next week - though living in Canada I know that WILL change!
That bed dealt with, I took my small hand-held garden fork to my garlic bed and did some weeding. 
Garlic Bed - Pre-Weeding
Last but not least, I pumped up my bicycle tires and went for a short bike ride with Jasmine. It was just over 3 KM and I can promise you, I will NOT be getting onto my bike in the next three or four days - my sit bones are NOT happy with me right now!  Good thing that it is still a touch on the dark side for morning bike rides - maybe by the end of this week I can start getting a bike ride in a few mornings a week before work.  Jasmine will love that and I have to admit that I am looking forward to finally conquering the damn hill!

With love across the waters,

Little Changes...

I am starting to see spring wake my yard and trees. We've had almost a week of solid sunshine and warmer temperatures - AWESOME sight for the back yard gardener!



Back Yard - Work in Progress

 With love across the waters...

Pussy Cats and Paper Bags

I'm not certain what it is about the good old fashioned paper bag that cats love so much... Maybe that it is a place in which one can "hide" and still see what is going on in the room around them?
I have left paper bags on the floor of the kitchen - Missy rarely pays much attention to them (perhaps because a Belgian Nose's makes an immediate appearance?) but one evening I left one on my kitchen table and Missy was in like Flynn!


Birthday Fun

My birthday was a little over a month ago now - mid-to-late February - and it fell on a gorgeous day. Well... Actually, THIS is what I woke up to:

After a great lunch with my family (I was incredibly touched, my sister in law blocked out her afternoon to work from home so we could celebrate on my actual birthday) my brother, nephew and I took a quick trip down to the Sandy Beach in Nanaimo and explore the beach for an hour or so.  Here are some awesome shots of my brother and his son exploring the beach. THIS is the gorgeous sunny day!

Finn's little hands were, I am certain, pretty cold by the end of the visit to the beach, but he gave me some stones & pretty seaweed that day that came home with me and now sit in a dish on my entertainment centre.
As far as birthday presents go, little hands giving me pretty rocks is one of the best ones to receive.

With love across the waters,