Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Getting back outside

The whole country seems to be experiencing an early Spring this year.  It's hit here as well.  We've been able to get some pre-summer work finished outside.  Over the weekend, we brought the trampoline out of storage.  The girls were THRILLED.  It was a smart move on our part:

entertained and occupied children = parents who can till the garden in peace

No action shot of the girls jumping - sorry.  When I went out there with the camera I found #1 reading her literature book. This could be an advertisement for schooling at home!
We moved the trampoline to a far section of the property.  We can still see it from several windows, but it's not quite the eyesore it was when it was closer to the house.  The girls objected at first since it's a longer walk, but now that it's been a couple of days they are quite happy.

The garden: ready and waiting for baby plants.  We do have a few "crops" in here thanks to the previous owner: raspberries, asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries and cherries.
I mentioned tilling the garden.  We did that too.  Our garden is huge (to us).  We are alternately excited and terrified by the potential it has for producing food - and the obvious fact that it will require lots of work.  We have the double challenge of living in zone 4, which means a short growing season - and - living in a very dry climate.  Once the last Spring snow falls, there will be virtually no precipitation until the first snow of the Fall.  In other words: no rain in the summer.  We have the good fortune of an irrigation ditch that runs along one side of the garden, so Mark has the watering situation worked out (at least in his head).  We plan to battle our short growing season by starting all our veggies in our sun room/greenhouse.  I can't show pictures just now because it's an ugly mess, but our house has a wonderful window-walled sun room that is south facing. The original owners built it specifically for plants.

We spent plenty of time poring over seed catalogs and choosing varieties that are "hardy" and "early producers".  We're growing a little bit of everything.  I think that right now, Mark and the kids are most excited about the possibility of our own sweet corn (they were all born in Illinois). I'm personally looking forward to a bumper crop of potatoes, as that's something we've never even tried to grow before.

To people in most of the country, this hardly looks like Spring, but we're getting there - and happy to be seeing ANY small amounts of green.

In addition to tilling the garden, we also tried to clean up the flower beds and around our pond area(s) that tend to get a little overgrown and swampy.  We're hoping to keep the vegetation down around the edges of the ponds so that the water doesn't get "smucky".

photo credit: M.E.R., daughter #1, age 12

And finally, we acted on a whim and cut down a couple of trees.  Well, not trees exactly.  More like shrubs that were allowed to go nuts.  You've seen this sort of thing before:  Someone plants lovely little evergreen shrubs up next to the house and they look wonderful for 5 or so years, but then the shrubs are forgotten and they start growing at an exponential rate and it takes new owners to say, "Those ugly shrubs are taller than the house, cover the windows, and threaten to pull down the gutters!"  The first day we moved in we agreed they'd have to go, but it always seemed like too big a job to tackle.  Well, the warm air must have made us a bit giddy and we just did it.  Mark is good with the chain saw, but I was nervous.  Shrubs that have grown for 30 years are actually quite large.  I'm just glad neither of us ended up under a large limb :)

After the "shrubs" were mostly cut down.
I'm not sure that I have a "before" photo, but I can tell you that the shrubs completely covered those 2 windows and were higher than the roof.  This is our garage - and it's on the back side of the house.  It's not like the general public was seeing the shrubs, but we're happier with them down.  Now, I just need to address those bare windows and the bare dirt....

1 comment:

  1. Oh, you've got big plans, and you're really movin'! How exciting.