Thursday, April 22, 2010

Signs that My Children are Growing Up

Things they have said recently!

Colin, reading 'Freakonomics' while sitting in the sun in the backyard yesterday, watching a female Pileated Woodpecker: "It's so awesome that we have cool birds like that in our yard".

So, does that mean that you are over hating living in 'the middle of no where'? ;-)

Katie, on Skype this morning: "Mom, how often did we fight?" Um, like every day! "No, I don't remember ever fighting with you" Really - well I am so happy that you don't remember! Onward.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Garden Diaries #5

Thursday, I visited three locally owned landscaping businesses, with the intent of hiring a crew to work on my landscaping projects. The first project requires some major equipment that I don't have access to - large branch chippers, scrub cutters and a skid steer or cultivator. The first business didn't offer those services, and couldn't recommend anyone else. Fair enough. The second business was a bad choice on my part, I know, but they don't even know what I wanted since they did not acknowledge me at all! The third one is really the subject of this post because the guy I talked to would have willingly had me sign up for his $600 an hour design service, glowingly told me about all of the big wigs he has done jobs for, pointed out that he has $6M of equipment sitting on his lot, but would not send his $85 an hour crew and skid steer over to my house. "no, I need to see the project first" Fair enough, when can you drop by (my house is about 5 km from his shop). "Oh, well I'll be there some day" Uh-huh. I'll expect you then.

So instead of having his idle equipment bring home a little bit of revenue, it sits there depreciating. I subsequently went to the local Home Depot and found that I can rent a really large chipper for $100 for the day, a really large rototiller and a chain saw to take out the scrub. I can do the work myself. His crew can go work paving over some large lot residential home of my neighbors. And I will probably save a bunch of money in the process.

There truly is a new standard in business and a new norm to customer service.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Garden Diaries #4

Well, not much work as the weather has turned. However, I have been able to 'illustrate' (well, okay, rather poorly) my grand plan for the yard. You can see the details in this gallery.

Daryl got a kick out of the inclusion of Kelso here:

Weather is supposed to warm up Thursday. I would love a couple days rain. Happy gardening.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Garden Diaries #3

"At our old house" - a phrase used by the kids fairly regularly, although as time has gone by they talk about it less and less. We do have lots of fond memories of 225 - we designed it and built it, and we worked our butts off landscaping it! I had a gorgeous, if somewhat overgrown and informal, flower garden there. I would nip outside every opportunity, which of course was nap time! Pulling weeds and transplanting plants made for very happy days. Some of my favorite garden photos from there:

I've been working at recovering old photos from old dead hard drives, and have found some fabulous photos of the kids. Snapshots, but really, that's what I wish I had more of - those wonderful candid moments.

Among the great pics of the family, there are my garden pics too. I think that they are what is helping to inspire me to turn 104 into what I have envisioned all these last 6 years. The plan exists, in my mind, but two things have kept me from bringing it into existence. The first is money - and I still don't have that. The second is the time to do the work myself, and I finally do have the time.

Today, I did more pruning and scrub removal. It has occurred to me that I can do this with my hand pruning saw - no chain saw required. As well, despite all the nay saying about taking out trees, if I do it when Daryl isn't watching, he doesn't notice! :-) Kinda like when I was 12 and got my ears pierced, without my mom's permission. It was weeks before she noticed!

There are a few old, large hard wood trees to take out still. I will need help with those. The next major step will be to have the garden cultivated - not sure if we will need to hire someone for that.

And then, well, it'll be time to plant!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Garden Diaries #2

Yesterdays success, and the fact that my old tired bod didn't ache all over today inspired me to continue giving trees haircuts. Today's victims: the patch along the east side of the property, where we were once thinking raspberries would grow. Got rid of lots of scrub, but got pretty scratched up in the process. I finally realized that one reason that this is currently an enjoyable task is that the mosquitoes aren't out yet! I can sit on the ground with no danger of a major allergic reaction! With that in mind, I hope to get all the pruning done over the next week and hopefully beat the little buggers in the process!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Garden Diaries #1

Today was a great day, above average temps, clear blue skies and nothing official to do until 4 p.m. Most of the snow is gone, the ground is thawed enough to do basic garden clean up. I have decided that I will have a great garden this year, full of thriving flowers and vegetables. So, I carpe diem'd and spent the day in the yard!

The first task was to turn the compost over. On Friday, the compost pile was absolutely vibrating with buzzing bees. I knew the best opportunity to turn the compost would be before it was warm enough for the bees to be active, so headed out about 8:30 this morning, despite the fact that the noisy teenagers that live here kept me up until 2:30 a.m. I was surprised and pleased that the composting is working and we have some actual rich loamy usable compost.

I want to get the wood pile moved, and so Daryl is building me a nice structure for it. Since he was busily building that, I picked task #2: clean up/prune trees in the front yard. I don't think I really set out to give the whole yard the hair cut it received, but am thrilled with the result. I really cleaned up the largest willow, getting rid of all of the suckers and other saplings growing at it's base. Did the same for the other 2, and then tackled the dogwood shrubs, cutting them back significantly and taking out any unrelated shrubs.

I love how the 'forest' handles regrowth - how these shrubs are thriving in the remnants of old dead trees, and how, because they have been protected from the lawn mower, evergreen seedlings can flourish.

There is quite the pile of tree branches for me to deal with, but day one of Garden 2010 was a success. Now if only I could find someone to do the inside the house work for me while I enjoy myself playing in dirt! :-)