Monday, March 18, 2013

Hugelkulture and bikini babes

What an AMAZING weekend!!!!

Nick was supposed to be working more OT on Saturday so I made arrangements with some friends (Ruby's school chum) to travel down to Coombs and visit the Errington Wild Life Recovery Centre.

He ended up not having to work so he came along on our adventure...Met up with Ruby's school chum and had a BLAST! The weather was 'iffy' for a few moments but the kids got to see the resident black bear up close and personal, as well as, ferrets and a hawk named 'Emily.'

Then we headed up the highway to Coombs and the 'goats on the roof.'

Stuffed our faces with yam fries (which unfortunately gave Eli and I tummy troubles from gluten cross contamination) and ice cream. Twas a great day!

Sunday proved to be a GLORIOUS sunshiny day! ... Too bad my children didn't want to cooperate with us! Elias having tummy troubles and his bottom 2 eye teeth were swollen and poking through the gum line. He was MISERABLE. ... Like want to toss him out the window miserable! Managed to get him to play outside for a tiny bit, but then he was clingy again. When Ruby finally did come outside it was in a freakin' bikini in the middle of bloody March!!! At least it was 10+ outside but sheesh! At that point Elias took a face dive into the 4 inches of rain water that were at the bottom of the paddling pool. He had fun for oh 4 minutes and then FELL APART.

Shrieking, crying, screaming fell apart. As if it were my fault he chose to go swimming in flipping freezing cold water!!!

Gave hime a bottle and sent him for a nap. Thank the heavens he woke up happy, if he hadn't I was taking the dog for a loooong walk and leaving Eli with his father...

Nick and I got a SHITE load of work done! Strawberry bed and blackberry bed built!

Thought we were going to extend the raspberry bed another 12 feet but instead we've decided to put in thornless blackberries. Quite excited about this! Nick also had put black pots over top of his seemingly dead rhubarb plants and to my absolute amazement they have shot up! ... Now I think I've forgotten to get a picture of them... dang. Anyway he read somewhere that this method will 'force' the plant. How that happens I'm unsure. I wondered at it being a black pot and heat absorbtion to awaken the plants but Nick wondered if it was the darkness that awakened the plant to climb higher to seek light? I'll have to look it up. Still it was pretty freakin' COOL!

Which sort of leads me into 'Hugelkulture.'

How my husband comes across these bizarre yet interesting hairbrained ideas will remain a mystery.... he came across this link...
Needless to say I found it an interesting read. And bada bing bada boom, I find an '' package in the mail which contains Sepp Holzer's book on permaculture. ... Thanks for the gift honey!

So we took some ideas from this 'hugelkultur'.... after Nick cut and assembled the lumber for our new raised beds, he filled them with the left over stumps from last springs cut down maple trees. 98% of the wood he split and stacked but there were some that were too large or irregular to be used that way. So we buried them 'hugelkultur' style in the bottom of the beds. Then I had the brilliant idea of using all the leaves we'd composted in the front yard, I took about 8 wheelbarrows full and dumped them on top of the wood. Spread some mulch over, and it's ready for dirt and seeds!

Nick will have to fiddle with the blackberry bed as it had many logs and he feels like we should have mulched first then spread leaves, but I'll let him tend to it.

Looks like a few of my other plans are being sidetracked for the season. Life is funny, one minute your 'flush' the next broke? I don't get it, but whatever!!!

So we're going to put the green house on hold for this year. Nick said he didn't want me to use the canoe for the kids as he really wants to go 'portaging' but I've asked him to revisit this idea for 'realistic feasability.' Ahem.

I'll have to pare down my seed/plant order as well. *Sigh* ... REALLY WANTED my Lignonberry and Nanking Cherry Hedge as well as my Hardy Kiwi fruits but it may just have to wait another year. ... Freakin' KIDS! .... Needing to 'eat' and crap like that! ;p

Took Nick's bike into the shop to get a tune up and he's starting to cycle to work in another week.

Life moves fast and oddly slow when one has small children. But it was a GLORIOUS weekend! I can't wait for the nice weather to move in and stay!

Finished strawberry bed.

One fine day I'll put the male kiwi plant (which is foliage only) at the back of this stump. It should vine up and be quite attractive with some 'Fairy Houses' tacked in along the way.

On the right is last years raspberry bed, left the new blackberry bed. When in full foliage it provides a nice privacy hedge along the fence line.

My workin' man, blood hound and bikini babe!

'Hugelkultur' inside the blackberry bed.

View from the deck.

Hoping to be able to get one last raised bed before spring time and the money run out!

Another view from the back deck.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Wow! Didn't realize that it's been SOO long without a post! In all honesty, not much has truly been going on! Hum drum, monotony of life with wee children!

I've been day dreaming about the garden as I always do, but it wasn't until this past week that the rain stopped, the clouds parted and the sun did SHINE!

Kids and I had a GREAT week! I walked downtown in the sun twice and the kids and I spent two afternoons outside, in the backyard. It was FANTASTIC!

I think the best part was that they are now both old enough to be left outside for a few minutes while I tidy up without them underfoot! Now I have to keep the windows and doors open and read Ruby the 'Riot Act' about playing nicely but both of them seem to have a darn good time diggin' in the dirt! Apparently Elias thinks the mulch pile makes a great 'slide!'

Nick has been working mega OT, and while the extra $$ is nice, I get tired and irritable. The kids behave badly and poor Nick is bombarded by demands as soon as he gets home.
"Daddy! Up! ... Tickle me!... Colour with me!.... Nicholas, I need this FIXED!....." Ce la vie!

Still haven't done any work on the green house, which is making me frustrated but I understand that he's really just TOO tired. So I sprinkled some grass seed with Ruby (it was interesting with 'help' from the three year old), I weeded the raspberry patch, aerated one section of the large veggie bed and planted spinach and swiss chard. And then I built my teepee!!!

Yep! Ruby also 'helped' with that project and it looks AWESOME!!!! I was at Canadian Tire and purchased 3 bags of 6, 6' bamboo rods, for $6.50 a bag. I only ended up using 2 bags, but I figure I'll use the rest for something garden related. The project took me longer than I had expected, over an hour I'd guesstimate, but it's pretty freakin' COOL!

I covered it with garden mesh as the pinterest site suggested, this makes it easier for the plant to really take over and give it the 'living' look. I'm hoping that it'll be wind resistant as we can get quite big wind storms living this close to the beach but I dug the rods 2 inches into the soil and then back filled them so I have enough 'good' soil to plant the cukes in another few weeks.

I just read on West Coast Seeds website that the danger of last frost is typically March 28th, for our region. So I've bought a 'green house' tray for $5 to get some of my more delicate seeds started early. I'll now start collecting my egg cartons to use as well. Filled with dirt the egg carton can start seeds, once germinated just cutting the 'pods' and placing them directly into the garden bed is an excellent way to recycle!

I'm also waiting for my mail order seed catalogue from TandT Seeds in Manitoba. I have researched high and freakin' low for Lingonberry and Nanking Cherry plants for my 'edible hedge' and was just about to give up when a random forum suggested this Canadian company. SOOO excited! They appear to specialize in 'hard to find' but easily grown in our climate plants.

Nick has cleaned up the wood pile, he has a few more afternoons of chopping and stacking before we're all done but we're well on our way. This week if the weather holds, I'll need to clean up the lawn debris from Nick pruning the apple and cherry trees. Gotta get ready for that 'first mow' of the season!

I've 'tilled' the remainder of the large veggie patch and transplanted the onions that were planted this past fall. FYI, onions are like icebergs...only 10% is showing on the top, the other 90% are under the surface. Learned this the hard way! Hopefully they survive!

I also planted some seeds in the 'green house' container I'd bought. But some of my seeds didn't look to healthy so I didn't fill up the tray. I'll wait for my catalogue and pick out some new ones!

We're going to take our trailer out for our first 'camping trip' of the year around Easter. CAN'T wait! While there is MUCH to do around the house and yard we need a BREAK! The routine with small children is VITAL but it is also draining. An odd double edged sword. Hoping to pack their bikes and just sit back with a GF Brewski and relax!

Life is good! Spring is nearly here!

The Teepee! ... Apparently 'Eli' proof! Nick saw him just 'reefing' (?) on it and was himself so impressed by its sturdiness he went to inspect it with a closer look.

Raspberry/Rhubarb patch weeded.

Bottom of the Cherry tree which I planted bulbs last November

Freshly tilled

Soon to be Swiss Chard and Spinach coming up!

Ruby's Greenhouse tray

Mama's Greenhouse tray

Grass Seed... instructions say to 'spread evenly.'

Ruby's contribution to 'spreading evenly.' *Sigh*

Hubby's Organizational skills! ... He impressed me!