Sunday, August 2, 2009

Yo yo yo!

Apparently if I inhale enough dust and equine ammonia, it gets to me and my silly level. Eric and I got on a roll again this morning. Even with a puncture wound in his foot received from a random nail-studded board yesterday, he outworked me again. I tell you, there aren't many times I want to be a muscle-bound guy, but I wish I could do more heavy lifting.

I can't stress enough how wonderful it was to have so many helpful friends yesterday. My in-laws were impressed that people would just give up some time to help do dirty, uninspiring work. The bed building was actually fun, even though it entailed loads of stable sweepings, but before then it wasn't a basket of cherries. A quick look back. This is more of what it looked like -- but it was actually even worse.

This picture doesn't feature the pile of broken bricks (because the whole bricks in the pile pictured had been put into a patio arrangement) and all of the offcuts from the deck, undivided as to "painted" and "unpainted." Nor can you see the random garbage that seemed to accumulate, the torn-down old chicken coop, and the piles of cement footings dug out from the old deck. That was fun for people to move, you betcha.

No one grouched, everyone kept saying, "What else can I do?" and it almost made me cry. So I got to say, "Sort the painted wood from the unpainted, and we'll burn the unpainted later, when we get a firepit. Carry the bricks out. Let's drag those branches out front," and things like that. It just got done, and we got to hire a very local guy to do the dump runs, and it felt good to have good paid people to help, too. And I forgot to hand out jam jars as thank yous. . .

So, this morning we were still very aware that there was a smelly pile in our driveway, so Eric and I gave the shovels, wheelbarrow, and mattock another work out.

Four down, only eight to go. And two of those are going to be shortened, because of the apricot and apple trees on the side and back. Each bed has a layer of horse poop and associated stuff, some blood and bone meals, a layer of backyard "dirt" (I think it gives soil a bad name), a layer of purchased enriched compost, with lime, gypsum, kelp, and some other stuff, repeated twice. We overfilled just a little because there's going to be settling. Kevin came by today and we discussed how it's going to be the work of years to get this soil built, and it is. I'm going to have to get really serious about composting.

And watering! After we get these all built (there's still at least one bed's worth of stable out front), I'm going to put on my irrigator's thinking cap and figure out a low-flow gravity method. My neighbor is very sweet about letting me use his well water, and I do when I need it, but I'd like not to impose when I can do without. And the kids are still taking baths, thank goodness!

So, when I get it all worked out, maybe a memorial tattoo would be in order. What do you think of this one? We could all be Gangsta Gardeners:

You all could be down with that, right?


Michelle said...

I'm not so sure I would need a tatoo, my finger nails tell all...

You're making fabulous progress. You will be amazed at how quickly your soil improves with all that good stuff you're putting in there.

Annie*s Granny said...

Good heavens, girl. I thought the last pictures showed a lot of labor, these are terrific! Whassup, yo?

el said...

Yay! More progress!

For what it's worth, it has taken me years to get some of my beds the way I want, soil-wise. The greenhouse beds are my biggest worry because they don't get flushed with rain and snow (but they're also a lot less weedy and lots fluffier). My routine? Lots of green manures in idle beds over winter (outdoors) and any time I harvest a crop, I fork in a LOT of compost before planting anything. And mulch, lots of mulch.

Compost-making can be as obsessive and fun a task as gardening: are you up for a new challenge? With all those neighbors, you could get their food scraps...and their leaves and grass clippings if they don't poison I mean fertilize. And more stable runs. It's worth it, though! The stuff is gold.

kitsapFG said...

Amazing amount of progress and what a transformation. I think I will pass on the tattoo - even though I totally love the message. Just not a tattoo kind of gal.

Mr. H. said...

Yo, If I ever get a tattoo I'll keep that one in mind for sure. I thought we had a busy weekend, your beds are looking great. Keep a close eye on that nail puncture, they can be nasty.

Stefaneener said...

Michelle, you're right. I never ever get mine clean, so it probably would be overkill. Plus, needles in my knuckles? Ouch. It just made me laugh.

Granny, you got it goin' on! There has to be a gardener's handshake (or maybe grabbing one's lower back and grimacing would tell all). Thanks!

el, it's good to have the perspective. While I'm generally okay with some patience in the garden, I do want stuff right now. There are trees in town that drop tons of leaves, and stores and coffee shops with leavings, plus those stables and the race track. . . I could make this one of my tasks, for sure. I'll keep asking you questions.

kitsapFG, I'm with you on the tattoo. Thank goodness for felt tip pens.

Mr. H, we actually started laughing because every single person, myself included, said, "Up on your tetanus shot?" He is, and so far it's acting reasonable. But we'll watch it. Thank goodness there aren't any more "traps" like that out back!

Ellie Mae's Cottage said...

I'm not sure how I came upon your blog but I'm so glad I did. When I saw the name I had just had to check it out. I'm Sicilian by heritage too... both paternal and maternal sides. I'm a NY sicilian but now in the live the Boston area. You have a great blog! :) -Jackie

Kristin said...

The activity on your land this year is amazing.

We should all be in our yards working as much as you have been, imagine how much food we could all grow ourselves.

Do you realize the amount of food that you will be growing with all those new planter boxes?

Now you need a root cellar to store it all. Did you know that you can store fresh foods, like tomatoes, in it too? Plus they have a sod roof, so you could plant that too!

esperanza said...

Homes, I am always down. Love the tat. You could fit "Beotches" across the bottom too.

Toni said...

Whooohooo... 2 more beds! Yeah!!!

You're going to have a huge garden!

Are they 4x8 beds?

Jackie said...

Nice work! Fo shizzle! We're planning to add some more raised beds to the back yard and a general 'fix-up' as soon as I rip the tomatoes out this fall. Peace out. -Jackie