At Aspendale Farm we are still hard at work renovating and moving the vegetable garden. We’ve headed out there every afternoon this week, working until it’s time to leave for our 4:30 workout. Since we didn’t have school today we pretty much just dug right into it.
I’m really having fun with the renovations, much as I dreaded it. Yes, it’s a great deal of heavy work, but things are shaping up really prettily and it’s such a good feeling! This afternoon I shared with a friend of mine that I have been working part-time doing editing and proofreading lately, to earn some money to add to my clothes budget. Jesse and I have always had a pretty small clothing budget – enough really to keep us in socks and underwear, with maybe a couple new shirts and a pair of jeans or something each year. Seems like we’re always underfunded. Anyhow, I decided to earn a little extra to pad my wardrobe budget … and wouldn’t you know it – I spent that money on landscape timbers for the raised garden beds. LOL! As I told her, I’ll get more pleasure out of raised garden beds than I would out of a new pair of shoes! In part I am able to fund the timbers through the sales of my extra strawberry plants and half a dozen older hens. I just put a notice on craigslist. I’m hoping to get at least one more customer for the extra strawberry plants. Any extra cash pays for a few more timbers at the Amish lumberyard.
I’m always delighted and somewhat astounded at the way God answers even the most mundane prayers so often. I had asked Him for a solution to the quandry Jess presented me with. He said he wanted to be able to pull around the back of the big barn when he was towing something behind the truck so he didn’t have to back around in such a tight space. Pulling through will be considerably easier. But he’ll have to go straight through my garden to do it. It took me awhile to be able to even think about moving the garden… you know what it’s like when your head is already too full to think about one more thing! But when I did think about it recently, I prayed and asked Him for a good solution – as we are really so very tight on space here. I sure couldn’t come up with a good one myself. Ten acres of woods is wonderful for hunting, horseback riding, making forts and such, but it makes for pretty poor gardening. Only a couple acres is clear, and much of that is for the horses. The rest is taken up largely by paths and outbuildings. The few clear spots are in use. Every nook and cranny that gets enough sunlight and isn’t regularly driven on or trod over has something growing there… the orchard, the vegetable garden, the raspberries, flowers, and so forth. And I have no intention of giving up my flowers! So in response to my prayer He gave me the idea to shrink the main garden small enough for Jesse to get around, and to tuck the wandering vegetables (squash, melon, pumpkins) into the newly cleared but still very untamed plot across the way from the existing garden. It’s a mass of tree litter and stumps, but I can dump piles of compost around the sunnier spots and sow them in spring. Then those wild critters can sprawl as much as they like and it won’t bother a thing! Still, I had to figure out where to move the asparagus bed and the newest addition to the garden, the rhubarb. So I asked Him again for a solution, and again He sent an answer. Cecily had the idea this time.
We’d tried to start some hollyhocks from seed along the back of the chicken coop. It’s a nice spot for anything to grow, but we tried those hollyhock seeds in three locations and didn’t get a single hollyhock growing anywhere. I wonder if they need to be started inside. Anyway, so we had this small bed which, in my mind, was to be a flower bed. It’s narrow, and it’s on a steep, sandy slope, so we’ll have to take those railroad ties our friends gave us and build out a retaining wall, fill it in with finished compost and transplant both the asparagus and the rhubarb to what will be a 4×16′ plot. But it answers the need nicely. That will be another day of hard labor! LOL!
I am still considering our raspberry situation. I don’t want to spend any more money on landscape timbers. We have two raspberry beds. One is mature but the berries are a bit sour. They’ll be fine for jam, but the bed is only one 20′ long row. Our second bed is 30′ long, but still immature. Next year we should get a better harvest from them. Enough for some good fresh eating, I hope. I’d like to put in another couple dozen plants of different varieties to increase the quantity and quality of our overall harvest. I’d really like to get all our raspberries from our own land instead of having to go pick them at $4+/quart. But I have until spring to figure that one out. I’m considering getting more railroad ties and building a raised retaining wall all along the side of the chicken yard, just outside the fence. The chickens may eat a few on the one side of the bushes, and they may be too high up for easy picking so I’ll really have to consider it.
So I’ve really spent most of my non-school time this week renovating the garden and it’s been very pleasant indeed.