And work it has been! It’s been over a month and we’re still plugging away on our garden and yard. The hope is that it will be 1) fruitful and 2) presentable for those times–hopefully they won’t be few and far between this summer!–when we’ll get out there and play and relax in the sun.
At the beginning of the month we worked at getting the soil in our garden ready in order to plant seeds. We still don’t feel like we know what we’re doing, but we thought mixing several bags of compost and some lime into the soil, along with our ground cover, would yield us more success this year.
Seeing as how trying to maintain a garden with a 2-year-old and a newborn is ambitious enough for me, we stuck to carrots, arugula, and a mixture of lettuces to grow from seed. Our neighbor said he’d give us some of the tomato starts he’s been growing inside and I also plan to grow some cilantro from seed in June.
I’ve been directing the garden endeavor, but Jason has been doing the hard work involved, buying the supplies and getting his hands dirty and his back sore. He has done a great job and continues to go out there every few weeks and plant more seeds.
Because this work isn’t nearly enough for this manly yard man, Jason took on his own project–the raspberry starts he planted along the back fence. He insists that they MUST get enough sunlight.
He’s totally right. They won’t produce very much fruit if they don’t. But I didn’t realize this would involve going ape on any tree or significantly sized bush in our yard (or out, for that matter).
First he said he wanted to cut back some of the branches from the birch nearby. Again, I did not realize what this would involve–corralling as many sawing instruments as he could from both of our bordering neighbors, getting out his climbing gear, procuring a spotter (Ben), getting up in the tree, and hacking about half of it off.
After that he went to town on the laurel bush that hangs out of the back of our neighbor’s yard across the alley and the shrubs that create a big fence on the right side of the yard (the latter didn’t have anything to do with the raspberries, but it did need trimming).
In the end, the result was (in order of importance):
- Jason had subdued the earth
- The neighbor kids thought he was the coolest guy ever for wielding sharp, sawing objects while straddling a tree branch 20 feet in the air
- The raspberries will now get sunlight
All of this subduing has occurred incrementally. For a while it seemed whenever Jason had a spare moment he was out there cutting something down. Ian loved it because it meant he could go out, too. He would head straight to the neighbors to play with their kids. They have way cooler yard than we do and it’s filled with toys.
All Jason’s hard work has produced a huge pile of branches and leaves which sits in the middle of our yard–as if it didn’t look trashy enough. On the bright side, it covers up the big bald spot of dirt and weeds where we can’t get grass to grow (equally, if not more, trashy).
Now that the hacking has ended, Jason has been out there diligently cutting the branches into manageable pieces and getting all the debris into our neighbor’s yard waste bin, which picks up every Monday. Ian even gets to help by using one of the clipper thingies to cut up small branches.
The pile is slowly getting smaller and Jason is proud of the fact that he didn’t have to pay anyone to take it. I imagine in the next month it will be all gone and we’ll be back to figuring out what to do with that bald spot (probably nothing).
In not nearly as riveting news, I hope to do my own subduing soon by weeding my potted herbs, which are currently being choked. This won’t involve a chainsaw, at least I hope. I also want to do some simple potted flower arrangements for the deck and front step. And I want to keep our tomato plants alive and producing by the end of the summer. I guess that could be another drama in and of itself!
We’re also working on making the yard more friendly for Ian so that when Baby Sister comes along it’s a good place for us to retreat so he can get exercise and have fun without us gearing up and heading to the park. On May 14th West Seattle is having their community garage sale day and I’m hoping we’ll find some climbing equipment, a basketball hoop and other goodies to keep him occupied.
This report doesn’t even get to the mowing, weeding, or raking or even the front yard. Oh well, they will eventually happen . . . probably in a flurry of militaristic nesting activity come mid-June (directed by none other than moi).