Pictorial of 10 Days Hard Labor

As promised, here’s some snapshots of what’s been getting done around the place the past week or so – Final push on the the north eastern perimeter wall is tomorrow, and I managed to hobble around, get some weeding and light raking done today, but taking it easy so me and the man-child can whip in and get ‘er done tomorrow – hopefully, the rain/snow forecast for Wednesday/Thursday will clear out in time for Friday-Fruit-Bush-Delivery Day!

Hard to tell (where's a real photographer when you need one?) but the north and western perimeter beds are nearly 3 feet tall - Waiting for a deep watering before ChokeCherries are planted the mulch applied..
Hard to tell (where’s a real photographer when you need one?) but the north and western perimeter beds are nearly 3 feet tall – Waiting for a deep watering before ChokeCherries are planted and mulch applied.. Didn’t the man-child do an awesome job of evening it all out?
Left over tires - I've lost count, but so far, we've stacked, buried or tiered over 250 tires - some of these will go for a few more projects and the rest will be sent to the recycling center in May to become tire bales for Earthship homes or pretty, long-lasting mulch colored with non-toxic water based paint -
Left over tires – I’ve lost count, but so far, we’ve stacked, buried or tiered over 250 tires – some of these will go for a few more projects and the rest will be sent to the recycling center in May to become tire bales for Earthship homes or pretty, long-lasting mulch colored with non-toxic water based paint – A few of these will be put to use for a new strawberry tower – and designing potato growing areas
The bed that last year stopped shortly after the tree stump has been finished - will house wild roses, garlic and onions -
The bed that last year stopped shortly after the tree stump and held Amaranth has been finished – will house wild roses, garlic and onions from here on out
Picture of Burgundy and Golden Giant Amaranth
This is what the west fence bed looked like last fall
Some work left to do - need to pull down very top tier of tires, cover with some more dirt, then deep water before planting the Golden Currants and Sand Cherry bushes -Concrete blocks will provide barrier in front to keep mulch/grass area separate - see those fencing panels wrestled in behind the tires?  Part of 'expand Oakley's space' project
Some work left to do – need to pull down very top tier of tires, cover with some more dirt, then deep water before planting the Golden Currants and Sand Cherry bushes -Concrete blocks will provide barrier in front to keep mulch/grass area separate – see those fencing panels wrestled in behind the tires? Part of ‘expand Oakley’s space’ project
Rhubarb and irises coming along nicely - area has now been neatly surrounded by rocks donated by the Family Rock Hound.
Rhubarb and irises coming along nicely – area has now been neatly surrounded by rocks donated by the Family Rock Hound instead of the ugly old recovered, mix-matched bricks.
Last spring, in two hurriedly built beds, i transplanted 135 'gifted' to me strawberries - one has survived - and lookie! 3 of the Welsh Onions I planted last year have finally made an appearance
Last spring, in two hurriedly built beds, i transplanted 135 ‘gifted’ to me strawberries – one has survived – and lookie! 3 of the Welsh Onions I planted last year have finally made an appearance
I love this tree (s?) - Thinking about some Bleeding hearts for the near the base of it and maybe some hydrangeas - would like to not have to mow this area -
I love this tree (s?) – Thinking about some Bleeding hearts for the near the base of it and maybe some hydrangeas – would like to not have to mow this area –

And for the grand finale, the south and southwestern area slated for ‘kitchen garden’ is shaping up nicely – still work to do in middle area, but posting the journey –

South beds have been deep watered, aerated, and are waiting for wild roses/pea gravel mulch at back of bed, veggie crops and flowers at the front - the tire wall will hold trailing squashes and melons this year, with some teepees of Scarlet Runner beans reaching for the sky -
South beds have been deep watered, aerated, and are waiting for wild roses/pea gravel mulch at back of bed, veggie crops and flowers at the front – the tire wall will hold trailing squashes and melons this year, with some teepees of Scarlet Runner beans reaching for the sky –

Remember when this area looked like this?:

Circa - 2 springs ago
Oops – can’t have sand blocking stucco like that!

And this?

Southside - Ditch to be dug for blocks
Southside – Ditch to be dug for blocks

Happy Sunday!

 

Amaranth and Flowers

Last post the ugly ‘before’ pic showed up in the reader first – yes, I’m lazy and fail to use the featured image option most days – –

So, I’ll show you the ‘after’ view – depicting the fence area cleaned yesterday and the portion of the fence row I got done before running out of the awesomely priced edging bricks I picked up for the whole strawberry episode (the stones were priced so nicely, I bought all I could afford – had enough left over to get this latest project 1/2 done – )

Gold and Burgundy Amaranth
Gold and Burgundy Amaranth

And now, the ugly before pic –

amaranth

Around the tree area, I put down a flower seed mat I purchased from Yankee Candle – What?!? You didn’t know they sold flower/garden stuff?   Okay, I’ll tell you the story – My co-worker’s granddaughter approached me about buying something from their fund raising catalog from Yankee Candle to support her 4-H group – choking back a sigh, I looked up the website and vainly searched for something I actually wanted to purchase and support her cause – – lo and behold, they had flower seed mats and I bought six, gleefully pulling some money from my garden/landscaping budget to make a good showing as a philanthropist that supports local youth groups instead of buying what I could afford out of my discretionary budget, which had already been blown supporting my son’s baseball teams’ quest for summer camp and uniform money – – (Netted Little Caesar pizza kits for when I’m too tired to cook dinner out of that donation….)

I’ve tried the mats before (from other fundraising fiascoes) and haven’t ever had much luck with them – but what the heck, a donation is a donation and perhaps these will work – –

white area is the flower seed mat from Yankee Candle, before thoroughly covered with dirt and watered.
white area is the flower seed mat from Yankee Candle, before thoroughly covered with dirt and watered.

And finally, the part where I had to stop because I ran out of black edging for near the fence and stones for the front  – But Friday is  payday and my budget for ‘Gardening:Supplies’ will be replenished!  Can’t wait for TGIF!

Oops! Ran out of supplies - I was tired of lugging dirt, anyways.
Oops! Ran out of supplies – I was tired of lugging dirt, anyways.

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We started off this project with the wheelbarrow to haul the dirt in – as I knelt near the front, to keep the edging stones from getting pushed over and scraped the last bit from the barrow, a loud ‘bang’ went off – I thought one of us had been the victim of a drive-by shooting and quickly looked to ensure the boy was still standing – –

Alas, we filled the barrow too full and didn’t do proper maintenance – the front tire ruptured itself smack dab in the middle, resulting in my ears ringing for a good twenty minutes – who knew wheelbarrow tires could be so scary and noisy?

Spring at LAST!

Check out that blue Colorado December Sky!
My new house in December
Check out that Colorado Sky!

I live in Colorado – which means my absolute glory in hauling landscaping materials may just as quickly turn to the ‘oh crap – they’re buried in snow’ blues when the next spring blizzard hits.

Nevertheless, I’m ready to begin my gardening project.

My first project is to used rammed-earth tires to build raised planting beds up against the house on the east, south and west sides.

My reasons for surrounding my house with garden beds are many:

  • Why spend $600 for gutters, when I can plant my garden where the run-off occurs naturally?
  • Extra insulation will aide in capturing the sun’s warmth in the winter
  • Growing things on trellises at the back of the bed will help cool the house in summer
  • I’m putting old tire waste to good, ecological use
  • A garden right outside the kitchen door – what’s not to love?
  • My garden will be easier to maintain and future owners won’t be tempted to use a gas-guzzling or electricity burning Roto-tiller in it.  (Although, the dudes from that Jackass show may try)
  • I like trying things the neighbors “pooh-pah” about and that I can’t find specific instructions for – makes me happy.

So Friday was spent getting the brick and gravel to fix the ditches near the foundation that the stucco guys left unfilled.

On Saturday, I suckered the child-unit into helping me haul in tires (for free from grateful local mechanics).

Full disclosure – suckering my child-unit into helping me consists of saying, “Please?  Pretty Please?  It’ll be so much more fun and quicker if you help me…What?  No, I meant funner and quicker for me…Yes, I’ll buy you a Gatorade and Sunflower seeds…I’m going to grow sunflower seeds and popcorn for you…yes…they’ll be planted right here and over here…”

I now have all the materials for Stage 1 of the plan – except for the dirt for the beds – which for my complete project plan will run from $1,380 to $2,000, depending on who I buy it from and whether I haul it myself or not.

What happened to “dirt cheap”?

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Getting the dirt estimates Friday night sort of put the nix on my ecstatic mood derived from finally starting the project I’ve been dreaming of before I even moved in.

I’ll let you in on a little secret – I research ’til I’m blue in the face – I read – learn – ask questions –  use computer-aided drafting tools and databases to plan and cover every contingency.

And then there’s always one little thing I didn’t think about – that usually puts me in a tailspin – this time it was how pricey garden dirt is.

I woke up Saturday morning at 2:47 a.m., wondering whether I should even haul in the tires, as I can’t put them to use until I have dirt to ram into them…

I learned a long time ago the fastest way to get the Universe motivated to help you with a project is to start and let It figure out the details.  Did I not find this house within 36 hours of my decision to move?

Early Saturday morning, we started hauling tires even while my mind was quietly chanting,

“Dirt – Dirt – How am I going to get the Dirt?  Yes, I know, I should have faith – but I was raised that God helps them who help themselves – okay, mustard seed sized faith – I can do that.   See?  I’m hauling the tires.  Please make sure the dirt shows up.  Thank you.”

While unloading tires, magic happened.   As I reached to haul one off the tailgate, what should appear but a Ladybug!   The Guardian Angel for all who play in dirt alighted ever so gently and then sat calmly while I sent the child-unit to “quickly, but quietly” grab my camera so I could take a picture of her.

The Garden Fairy - Ladybug
The Garden Fairy – Ladybug

After posing prettily for the camera, she enjoyed the ride as I ever so gently carried the tire and placed it in the corner-stone position.

I consider my project duly approved and blessed.

I hauled in all the tires to be had –  here’s a shot of my beautiful Easter Lily and you can just make out the stacked tires behind – patiently waiting for dirt.

My "Thank You for Driving Me" gift from Mom.
My “Thank You for Driving Me” gift from Mom.