Expansive Dreams

I have found a new theme song. Unlike the song, though, I’m the one who gave the cold to EJ–after JJ gave it to me.

Ugh. I’m so tired of being sick and cough, cough, coughing all the time!!

We have lived in our new house for two years–we moved in on June 1, 2015–and this is the first summer that we haven’t had to spend weeks driving to the old house downstate. Staying at home and putting in a garden this year is important to me so I am determined that nothing will stop me–not sickness, not coughing, nothing.  I have been working hard…and taking naps when I get exhausted. I quickly run out of energy and suddenly crash.

The peppers are in the three rectangular boxes. Left to right in the pots on the deck are sage, bay, rosemary, and my spider plant. The little pots have unidentified flowers in them that a friend gave us.

This morning I planted the hot peppers in the boxes at the side of our little deck. They are at the end of the flower garden at the front of the house. I put the peppers and potted plants on the deck next to the flower garden so if I need to water the flower garden this summer, I can get all the plants in one shot without moving the hose around.

I hoed and yanked up the long grass along the flower garden where the mower couldn’t get. I also pulled a few weeds in the flower garden but it’s already mostly weed-free. I raked up all the weeds I pulled and threw them into the corner of the chicken pen that we are using as a compost spot. I read that the chickens will eat what they like and scratch up the stuff they don’t. They are good composters. They loved the fresh grasses.

Pallets ready for boxes/pots

I decided to drag more of the salvageable old pallets that the previous owners left behind into the duck pen in preparation for expanding our garden. If we don’t get the garden expanded this year, the pallets will be ready for next year–at least they won’t be mouldering in the leaves. The pallets were piled on top of each other at the edge of the forest and the ones near the bottom of the stack were almost buried in leaves. I wore gloves but I kept imagining reaching into the leaves to grab a pallet and finding a snake or dangerous spiders jumping out at me so I went into the garage and found a rope, looped it around a board, and pulled the last few pallets behind me, one by one.

Ducks on patrol

Each time I dragged a pallet into the pen, the ducks eagerly explored it for insects. I dragged ten pallets into the pen, stacked them two-by-two, so I have five additional surfaces ready for boxes/pots.

Plastic window boxes.

The empty surfaces are calling to me and I am feeling eager to expand the garden now. I think I have just about run out of boxes, so unless EJ can bring me more, I will have to use plant pots, or the plastic store-bought window boxes we brought up from the old house. There are also three large metal wash tubs, but I don’t want to use them if EJ intends them for some other purpose.  Once I gather additional planters, I will have to transport more black dirt from our black dirt area. That’s a lot of work.

But I already have some more plants to plant. I had forgotten that EJ had bought some onion sets the other day. I need to plant those. And when I weeded the flower garden this morning, I found some chives that I had forgotten were there. I want to transplant those. And then one of the garlic bulbs I bought a few weeks ago is growing and I thought, “Oh! I should plant it!”–although I don’t really know when to harvest garlic. I suppose I can learn. I also have to plant the package of lettuce seeds we bought yesterday…but I can’t remember what I did with them.

But most of all I want to buy some strawberry plants. One of my FB friends read my post yesterday about making strawberry shortcake and she asked for my shortcake recipe. I told her that I have made shortcake in the past, but I actually just prefer to make regular biscuits and cover them with strawberries. Yum. I suppose I should call it strawberry and biscuits instead of strawberry shortcake. My friend thought that was a wonderful idea, especially since she has planted strawberries in her garden. And I suddenly remembered, “Oh, I want STRAWBERRY PLANTS!” I kept trying to grow strawberries downstate, but never had much luck with them. I don’t think I had a good enough spot for them. But up here in Northern Michigan, anything is possible, even strawberries! I have to find planter boxes or pots to hold them. There are all sorts of creative ideas on the internet for strawberry planters–including pallets–but I have to have something duck-proof. I am eyeing the metal wash basins…As soon as I can figure out a container for the strawberries, and can fill it with dirt, I hope to buy strawberry plants.

This all just goes to show you that inspiration can have a domino effect–like my biscuits inspiring my friend, who inspired me with her strawberry plants. 🙂

After dragging pallets into the duck pen, I went to the old pickup truck parked at the side of the garage. Its bed is filled with junk that we plan to get rid of. Only…I have found junk to repurpose. Today I dragged out more old fencing. Most of it is not good enough to use for fencing, but I used EJ’s big red wire cutters to cut the salvageable fences in half and pushed them into the garden boxes as anti-duck fencing. The almost unusable pieces–bent and pulled out of shape–I cut and wrapped around the tomato plants as cages. They aren’t pretty, but all they have to do is hold up the tomato plants and keep hungry ducks away. I also found three real tomato cages in the garage for three of the tomato plants.  I really could use more fencing, but I think I was able to find enough to protect the plants that need it most.

I found an article today about herbs being good for chickens–for digestion, stress, getting rid of insects and parasites, and all sorts of things. Any culinary herb is good for chickens. The author suggested putting extra cuttings from the herb garden in the nesting boxes. I saved the article, and then I began thinking that I would really like to plant some mint, chamomile, borage (the flowers are edible and taste like cucumber)…I had a really good herb garden downstate and would like to grow one here.

Dramatic but rainless clouds.

In between everything else, I did laundry today. I didn’t hang them outside to dry because there was a chance of rain. At times the clouds got dramatically dark, but it never did rain.

JJ is loving his park ranger job. The other day a little girl’s bike had a flat tire. JJ used an air compressor to inflate it. The girl was so happy that she gave him a marshmallow.



2 Comments on “Expansive Dreams

  1. I love that he loves his job! And hearing about helping people! The garden is growing great! Thats my problem, i want it all right now! Im learning to be patient!


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