Friday, April 01, 2005

Not a Bad Day ... And Garden Talk

So things are off to the printer today. All I had weighing on me this morning (besides all the regular work this project has shunted off to an unspecified point in the future — okay, until Monday, at which point everything is fantastically late), was one headline, checking a photo, and waiting for the client to provide updated maps. This meant I could relax some.

Celeste started waking up at 5:00 a.m., much to Evelin's dismay, but I was getting close to waking up too, so I didn't mind listening to her mewing over the monitor. After about 15 minutes, however, the babbling tuned into pre-crying, which got Evelin worried. She didn't want another awake-for-the-day-at-5:30 days. I went to try to soothe Celeste, and while she scaled back the crying to a point where I could take a shower and think she'd be okay. When I got out of the shower, Celeste and Evelin were up and about.

As early as it was, I wasn't rushing off to work for the first time in nearly a month, so we had a nice time just hanging out, reading the paper, talking, and playing for about a half-hour (interspersed with getting the trash and recycling out to the curb and other Friday morning chores).

I also, for the first time in a long time, was able to escape the office during lunch. I drove over to the W&OD trail and took a short walk/hike, about 45 minutes. It wasn't too warm, but the front that's supposed to be bringing us a lot of rain this weekend had pumped up the humidity quite a bit. I saw a lot of cardinals flitting about the bushes and a pair of ducks in Four Mile Run.

Hopefully, the rains this weekend are being overstated by the meteorologists and we'll have some time to work on the garden. Evelin set up the pea trellis (this year as a sine wave instead of a square, which may leave some of the plants more shaded, but hopefully it'll be a bigger harvest) and planted spinach Wednesday, and yesterday I planted the peas and started pruning the raspberries, but there's a lot still to do.

The Garden

Our plan this year (and yes, this is evolving into the "The Garden" entry) is garlic in the small bed, carrots in the next one, leeks and broccoli in the big bed (where the spinach is now), tomatoes in the next bed (where the peas are now), and herbs in the little triangular one by the raspberries. In July, when the garlic is harvested, we'll put bok choi in the small bed. I think I'll also build a small raised bed for the sideyard (where we grew okra last year), but I'm not sure what will end up there. We also have blueberries and strawberries in front of the house, and a few years before the apple tree will produce.

The specifics are (all from Burpee): Baby’s Leaf Hybrid spinach, Sugar Bon peas, Dawn Giant leeks, Sweet Treat Hybrid carrots, Tomande Hybrid and Super Sweet 100 Hybrid tomatoes, Extra Curled Dwarf parsley, Summerlong basil, common chives and garlic chives and Little Dillicious cucumbers, which came free with the order and we aren't sure where they'll go. The bok choi is 小白菜 Pai Tsai (short white stalk) from 凱傑興業社.

This summer we're likely to be doing a lot of destruction in the yard. The pond is going to be taken out. we've lost all but one of the goldfish, most of the plants are doing poorly, and each year, the algae and other problems have gotten worse. I've never been as adept at keeping it up as I should be and the lack of any circulation/filtering doesn't help. Perhaps we'll be able to create a new, smaller one down the road, but right now, it's dying/dead (the frog Evelin found not withstanding).

The first step will be draining things followed by some mixture of mucking and pulling out the plastic lining. This is likely to get pretty gross. I also need to find someone who wants the lily pads or find some other way to save those. The fish can be caught and brought inside or passed along to someone else, and the frog has other ponds nearby (the closest being next door) to move to.

Once we have a big hole in the ground, we can start dismantling the patio (step to in the yard destruction). It's a raised structure with railroad-tie sides and a brick surface that was never set properly. The previous owners would try to relevel things each year, but we've been lax in that regard and the sides are starting to rot out in places.

The plan is to shift the dirt that's in there into the pond; however, the yard isn't really flat there, so we'll need to build some sort of retaining wall on the west side of things or do some sort of grading work to keep from creating an unstable situation.

Also, with the pond done, we can check the retaining wall between the upper and lower parts of the backyard. It needs some chinking and definitely some paint. Also, without the pond there, the forces on the wall will change, hopefully for the better.

After that's done ... well that's still up in the air. Perhaps we'll do somesort of deck, either raised or at ground level (or, considering the lay of the land, a bit of both). The pond area may become garden space or part pond/part garden or who knows what.

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