Thursday, May 24, 2012

Work in Progress...

I always have lots of things that fall into that "work in progress" category at any one given time. But right now my main work in progress is the great outdoors! Or at least my little piece of the great outdoors.

We finally got the fence finished enough to plant the garden. When my dad was over with his big machinery he cut down some dead locust trees and cut them into posts. They are rot and bug resistant and can be used as fence posts for 50+ years! Other wood would rot within a few years and have to be replaced. My dad hammered the corner posts in with the bucket of his payloader, but I had to dig the rest by hand with a post hole digger. It went faster than I thought it would. And the timing for building this fence was perfect too. The farm was replacing the wire mesh that covers the outside of the milking barn with new wire. I grabbed the best pieces of the old wire...much of it still in good shape, and recycled it for the garden fence. I had to dig a trench to bury the wire at the base and cut the fencing with very awkward pliers. Phew! It was a lot of hard work on a very hot and sunny day. But I did it! I just need to secure the tops with a few more staples, clip the tops of the fencing where it's higher than the posts, and make gates so the animals can't get in. Phew!

And on Sunday Ben, my mom, and my sister Suzy and I planted the garden! These are brussel sprouts, which I've been obsessed with this year and can't WAIT until they are ready to pick! I'm planting another four flats in my mom's garden this weekend. Need some to freeze too!

It looks like I made my garden on top of a chipmunks house. Hmmmm...he was there first, but I think I might have to entice him to live elsewhere. I have a used have-a-heart animal trap...but I'm always afraid it's a mama with babies hidden underneath! I'll have to do some research about chipmunk breeding....

Tomatoes! I planted whole bunch of these to make Ben's amazing sauce and for salsa. I also planted the shriveled, growing potatoes that were in the kitchen cupboard and in a bucket in the basement. And sweet potatoes, onions, spinach, kale, turnips, parsnips, carrots, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, jalapeno peppers and cucumbers that I'm going to train to climb up the fence.

I have some mystery volunteer vines of some kind just on the other side of the fence on one side of the garden. I didn't throw any rotton vegetables out there and I couldn't imagine how they might have gotten there. Are they pumpkins? Gourds? Zucchini? Who the heck knows? But I do hope to find out!

This is the front of the garden. Quite messy looking at the moment (remember, work in progress, lol), but I'm working on a rock wall made from stones picked out of one of my dad's fields. I'll also be building stairs in the middle that lead up to the garden gate and hopefully will eventually build an arch with vines growing up. At the top of the wall and the sides will be flowers and trees.

These are double stacked at an angle in hopes that the wall will last a lifetime...just like in Ireland. We'll see!

And the different soil and water agencies in each of the counties around here have tree and shrub sales each spring. From Saratoga County I got some hazelnut bushes. The guy said to expect hazelnuts in 5 or so years. My fingers are crossed!

I pre-ordered at the Rensselaer County tree sale and got a double order of red bud trees. Unfortunately each tree was a hair thin single stick that you can barely see and to be honest I'm not even sure if they're alive. They have no leaves...only tiny buds that haven't changed since I planted them. We'll see I guess. I planted half of them in pots since they were so small and I didn't want to make the effort to mow around them for ten years before they got big enough to see with the naked eye. I also got 5 forsythia bushes, one of which was healthy and robust and even blossomed, one which was dry as a bone and completely dead, and three of which are clinging to life with one small bundle of leaves at the bottom. Urgh...I know where I won't be going for my shrubs from now on...

A few weeks ago I went to a plant sale at a woman's home. She had such a tiny backyard, but it was filled with beautiful blossoming perennials. I got a whole bunch of nice sized flowers for a little bit of money. They are still waiting patiently in their pots.

My step-father-in-law came to visit a few weeks ago. He's a big plant buff and I picked his brain about all sorts of things. He gifted me with this beautiful pink iris that just bloomed!

We have tons of wild phlox growing around the property. I LOVE these and one even stuck it's pretty little head up through a crack between the deck and the foundation of the house. Yay!

I bought two wisteria vines from a local nursery and just planted them last night near the porch. Fingers crossed that they'll make it up to the top and provide a leafy garland under the roofline!

Sophie looks out the window a bit jealous. I'd love for her to come outside, but between the song birds she'll surely hunt and the cars and ticks and foxes that will hunt her. Everyone is better off if she stays inside.

My dad bought a mantis tiller recently and I love that thing! I plowed up the tall weeds that were growing around the little fence near the deck and planted the lilies that my neighbor so thoughtfully gave me. The lawn next to it still needs to be planted. I'll plant some more here when I figure out what and where exactly.

That whole side hill with the bare dirt and then tall grass (weeds actually), will be dug up and I've got a stash of wildflower seeds I'll be planting. Eventually I want to cultivate the whole thing into a pretty perennial garden...but I figure the wild flowers will give me a good start.

And speaking of wild flowers...I feel lucky that so many are growing abundantly around our house. The yellow flowers are absolutely everywhere and are literally surrounding the house and in the woods. There are wild phlox patches here and there. The white flowers are usually rather grubby, growing through sidewalk cracked and other strange places...but to me they look so so pretty here. I call them cannon flowers because their seed pods look like miniature circus cannons. The wisteria-looking flowers sadly aren't on my property, but across the street in the pull off area. They are locust blooms. My locust trees are just sending their leaves out now and I'm hoping for blossom like these...but I'm not counting on it.

I love the great outdoors! :)


laurie -magpie ethel said...

You sure have a ton of property and a ton of potential! Makes my city size lot look puny! What fun to make it all come to life and watch it as the summer progresses...keep us updated.

p.s. love the smell of phlox have some in my yard too!

pat said...

Crystal, you have been soooo busy!
It looks great. Ididnt know about the locust trees not rotting.. It looks amazing.. happy gardening!