Thursday, February 4, 2010

Moving more earth

Gardening is NOT for sissies! Did I say that already? Well, it’s not. Arnica is now my new best friend. I’m sleeping like a rock and waking up more refreshed than I have in a long time. Today I can pretty much feel every muscle in my body whenever I try to move. Did you know that you use your abs to open jars?? Well, you do! I had to open a very tight, semi-stuck lid on a jelly jar today. Not only were my hands sore, I could also feel my abs when they kicked in to the process.

Today involved more shoveling… lots more. When Joe originally established the garden, he boxed it in with wooden planks around the outer edges and laid ½” welded wire mesh on the bottom of the bed about 6-8” down. When we last had a garden 2 years ago, Joe had grown some beautiful cantaloupe. We were watching them get larger each day with great anticipation of the day they would be ready and he could finally eat one. Well, that day finally came, but when he turned it over to cut the stem, what he found instead was a hole in the bottom that some critter had made after burrowing into our very secure garden. Apparently, the critter had either found or made a gap between the wood and the wire mesh.

So today, I pulled the dirt back from 2 of the 4 sides to expose the bottom of the wood and the wire mesh so I can re-secure the perimeter. It only took about a half an hour, but I couldn’t shovel anymore. My biceps feel like rocks and my hands were getting weak. My body just isn’t used to this much physical labor.

This photo will give you an idea of the field size. It was taken after most of the cleanup was completed. I forgot to take a "before" photo :-( Cutie is doing her best super-model pose.

There was plenty more to be done today, so the rest of the dirt moving can wait until tomorrow. On to more composting. Last night I found more leaves!! Today is trash day and the green waste recycle bin is ½ full with leaves. Just what I need to heat up my compost pile. I used more poly-vinyl chicken fence and created another compost bin twice the size of the one yesterday. I mixed the dried grass with the leaves. It hardly put a dent in my dried grass pile. That thing is huge! Fortunately, with each passing day it gets a little smaller as it compressed and begins to decompose. Maybe I’ll just do a little experiment and see if the “pile” will compost itself without being contained.

Today I also tested the sprinklers to make sure they were working correctly. Good thing I did that too. I’m pretty sure the neighbors cement drainage ditch didn’t need to be watered by my sprinkler. A few very wet adjustments later, and all is working well.

Now the compost heaps have been dampened and I covered one of them partially with a black garbage bag to expedite the heating process. Hopefully that will work. The air out here is still so dry and cool, but the sun is warm, and compost piles need heat to do their job.

I also took a little drive in the country today to see if anyone had any chickens for sale yet, but no one had signs up. I’ll keep looking.

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