Monday, August 10, 2015

One of my bird feeders was tipped over this afternoon. I was about to pop out and fix it when I noticed something funny going on inside the feeder. Hmm...something furry and brown and (gasp) cute!

Okay, I know from past experience that calling a squirrel cute on a garden blog is going to go over about as well as finding a bindweed infestation in the bed of blue poppies you've finally managed to grow after 30 years of failed attempts. Just for a second, hold on to thatliberal scoop of manure you were about to hurl at me for uttering such blasphemy.

Our squirrels are different altogether. Honestly! They raid feeders and liberally litter our lawns with fir cones...and that's about it. No bulbs dug up, no plants far as squirrels go they are really pretty nice little creatures. You know, the ones with the halos hovering over their fuzzy ears. No pitchforks and horns here. Just wook at the cute widdow face...
He's my squirrel and I love him. So there!

The photo above is our veggie bed in progress. We haven't cut any of the lumber yet, just laid it out and got things somewhat level. Each bed will be about eight feet long, and wide enough for me to reach the middle easily without stepping inside. There will be a path in between each bed, wide enough for a wheelbarrow .

At the back of the beds the lumber will be left in one piece in order to make one long, narrow raised bed up against the rock wall. I plan to grow raspberries there (woo hoo!). Hopefully I can find early, middle and late fruiting varieties and mix things up a bit.

In the left hand corner there's a dead mountain ash (not pictured) that we need to take down. The narrower trunks and branches will be used for some rustic garden tee pees. I would like to put an apple tree in it's place. Apparently there are some good varieties available for my zone that are actually good to eat.

The boys hauled out their heavy equipment and helped with carting sod to the compost heap. You should see my pile . It's huge.

My daughter kept herself busy by observing all the interesting insects that were uncovered while I pulled up the sod. She "adopted" this particular beetle and spoke to him like any human friend. Christened Mr. Beetley, he was allowed to roam all over the front of her shirt. In spite of the loving care lavished upon him, I suspect Mr. Beetley breathed a sigh of relief when he was returned to his dirt pile!

Bordering our property is an undeveloped area designated as park space. Sunny yellow dandelions made the hillside fairly glow yesterday. 

After naming me "Princess of the Flowers", the children gathered generous bouquets to shower upon me. This Princess was covered head to toe in dirt and grass stains, with sweat literally dripping off her face, and very messy hair!

Yesterday I pulled on my grubby gardening gear and headed outside at 7:30 am to start work on the new front yard flower bed. After finessing the width and curves of the bed and moving all the sod into the back, I made a stone pathway across the bed to the lawn, installed edging, spread on a thick layer of topsoil, put in all the plants, and laid the soaker hose between the plants while holding it in place with rocks carried up from the backyard. At 4:00 pm I decided mulch would have to wait for another day!

All the sweat and dirt was worth it. (Pictures coming soon) I can't wait to see the plants fill in and bloom - they don't look too impressive just now but I can imagine. Encouraging comments from the neighbors kept me going, especially my father who stopped his car and shouted out the window, "Hey! Crazy woman! What are you doing working in this heat?!"

Our recent heat wave prodded my fruit trees into a glorious froth of white blossoms. Pictured here is our old plum. I mistakenly thought this was just an ornamental as there was no fruit on the tree during our first year in this house. 

Last spring I removed a ton of dead wood. Later in the season I was pleasantly surprised to find delicious little yellow plums! Unfortunately, I wasn't watching the tree for fruit and many had fallen to the ground to be devoured by hungry wasps and ants. This year the critters won't be so lucky.

In the photo above you can see where the fruit trees are located, near the bottom of an awkward slope. The old cherry on the left isn't doing so well. We'll try some manure and a good watering but I don't have much hope. 

The raised veggie beds are slowly coming along. One bed is built and the soil needs to be amended. Bed two and three are in the works. Today is a holiday and it's nice and cool out, so we're hoping to accomplish much on this project today.

I spent some time updating my blog links on the sidebar. If I've been reading your blog and you don't see yourself in the links, please do let me know right away. Also, how is my blog loading for you with all these photos? Is it taking way too long? I've reduced the number of posts per page to speed things up in case this has been a problem.