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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Garden Therapy: A New Vegetable Garden

     Another project that we accomplished this summer was building a new vegetable garden. By we I mean; I supervised and my husband did the work. We've had raised garden beds for twenty years. But time had taken its toll and they were starting to show the strain. The wood was bowing and starting to rot. Being a Pinterest aficionado I found an idea there for raised beds. My husband is of the opinion that Pinterest should be outlawed. 

       The above picture is of the old beds. They were 20 inches high. One thing we learned from building these beds was that the 4 by 4 posts should have been closer together. The new beds are 36 inches high.

     We used 3 - 8 foot long pieces of corrugated steel per side and a half sheet on each end. As this picture shows my husband not only put the posts closer together but also used pieces of rebar in between. Al shoveled the dirt to the opposite side then removed the old wood and posts. He dug holes, set the new posts with concrete and screwed the metal to the posts. He then shoveled the dirt back to the other side, repeat.

     Here's a shot of getting ready to set posts. With so much shoveling and digging Al did hire a college student to help him with some of the work. We did make the new beds shorter then the old ones. The extra dirt was used to fill up the new higher beds. A friend with a tractor helped us with that part.

     As you can see in this photo Al painted the bottom of the posts with a protective coating. This will help the wood last longer in the ground. When he finished all the sides he cut the 4 by 4 posts the same height as the metal.

     Because the edge of the metal would be sharp he used 2 by 4's along the top. This also made a good place to set up sprinklers. We can hook up the hose from our well and water the garden and surrounding grass all at one time.

     Here's two more views of the finished beds. Because the beds did take awhile being built I wasn't able to plant as much as I usually do. But I have to say I think Al did a fabulous job. I love my new beds. We are twenty years older then when we built the first ones, so the higher beds are definitely easier on the ole back.  

A thought to ponder: "Your mind is the garden, your thoughts are the seeds, the harvest can either be flowers or weeds."        William Wordsworth

Participating in: You're Gonna Love it

Sunday, October 19, 2014

"Raisin" Hell

     It's time for another dog story. I will warn you up front that this one is not for the squeamish or faint of heart.
     We had a lovely male English springer spaniel. Being English we thought he should have a distinguished English name, so he was christened Sir Ashley Chadwick, aka Ashley.

      Unfortunately he didn't act very distinguished. Ashley was large for a springer but thought he was a lap dog. He always had to greet you with something in his mouth. When we came home he would run around until he found  something on the floor; a dog toy, shoe, kid's toy, sock, underwear (oops). He had a nice bed on the floor in our bedroom to sleep, but didn't hesitate to take advantage of our bed if it was empty.

     He also was very afraid of thunder, fireworks, etc.  We had to make sure he was in the house when a storm was coming and on the 4th of July. Of course you can't always anticipate loud popping sounds or thunder storms. The three screens we had to replace in our back screen door can attest to that.
     Ashley liked to sneak food. He ate part of a sheet cake that was cooling on the counter. He would have eaten it all but couldn't reach the rest. The kids Easter baskets weren't safe. We thought we'd pushed them far enough back on the counter but he managed to get one. Chocolate and jelly beans didn't sit well and his stomach started to swell. Just as I was set to run him to the vet he started to vomit and managed to get rid of his ill gotten gains.

     But those weren't the worst of his misadventures. I came home one day to find he had managed to open a kitchen cupboard and ate two pounds of raisins. Later that evening the raisins came back to haunt us. My son and I were in the family room watching TV. Ashley was standing near by when suddenly, without warning, those raisins came shooting out his butt. POW, POW, POW, like a machine gun, two pounds of raisins and some other not so nice stuff are spewing out onto my carpet. POW,POW,POW, I start screaming, "Oh my god, Oh my god, get out, get out." POW,POW,POW, Ashley's looking back in bewilderment wondering where that sound is coming from and my son is rolling on the couch convulsed in laughter. 
     Among the chaos I managed to get the dog outside. I came back and gazed at my carpet in dismay. Then I started to laugh, it was either that or cry. Needless to say that carpet took some major cleaning. This story has become a part of our family lore. We will sometimes ask people, "Have you heard the raisin story?" It is particularly good when told with hand gestures and sound effects. I hope you liked the story and I haven't ruined your taste for raisins.

A thought to ponder: A well developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.      William A. Ward

Shared with:Sincerely, Paula

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Garden Therapy: A Dance with Fairies

     This Garden Therapy Thursday post is about something I did recently with the help of my grandson. We built a fairy village. I've had fairies roaming around my yard for several years.

You can see one lurking behind this hollyhock

     These were made from plywood. I found pictures of fairies and drew larger outlines of them. My husband transferred the drawings to the wood and cut them out with a jigsaw. I spray painted them black and voilĂ , silhouettes.

     The silhouettes were done a number of years ago. So it was time to make the fairies some homes. I bought two wooden bird houses from a craft store. My husband cut out the doorways. Rex picked the colors and painted them.

On this one I used popsicle sticks on the roof but then found I'd glued myself into a corner, so to speak. I didn't know how I was going to finish the roof, then I came up with the idea of the funnel. I'm rather pleased with the outcome. Around the windows we used pine cone seed scales. The door is also popscicle sticks and some findings from my jewelry making. We found small hinges at Home Depot so the doors really open and close.

On this one we used dried moss (from the artificial flower section) for the roof. Rex glued it on in small clumps. After we were all done I sprayed the houses with clear acrylic paint.

Here's the bridge we made. Soak the popscicle sticks in water then place inside a cup or glass to get the bend you want, let dry. The railings are made from coffee stir sticks.

     The rest of the items were bought from different places, local and on line. Once we had all our pieces Rex laid things out to his liking. I thought we would have a little stream under the bridge (colored floral flat marbles) but Rex decided we needed a lake. Here is his vision.

A thought to ponder: The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.     W.B. Yeats

Participating in: Tuesday Garden Party