Monday, March 20, 2006

Happy Spring!!

Today is the first day of spring and was +12 degrees Celcius at my place. We had some sun and some clouds in turns. It was truely a beautiful day!

I spent part of my day working out in the yard. In the Area Formerly Known as Lawn, I pulled and dug up all the weeds and burdock plants, stacking them into piles to be disposed of as soon as possible. I then dug up several small lilac bushes from the base of the mother bush, being careful to keep the roots as intact as possible so I can plant them again in other places in my yard. I think I'll plant them along the highway side of the property, that will look nice when eventually there is a large hedge there. I still have more little lilacs to dig up and move, as well as dirt to move around and flatten out in this area, but it feels great to have gotten a good chunk of work done today.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Research: Mulch

I have been doing a lot of research, on line and in books, to do with gardening. Today I Googled "mulch" and found some very interesting sites full of information. Mulching is very good for the garden, and it can help keep the weeds down too. I want to do lots of mulching in my yards "make over project", so now I need to find free mulches... hhhhmmmm. By the time I'm finished I likely would be able to write a book "How To Give Your Yard a Major Makeover On a Budget" or "Yard Face Lift: More For Less" or... well, you get the idea.

Here are some Mulch Sites I found interesting:
You can copy these and paste them into your browser, or you can also Google "mulch" for these and more links.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tire Planters

In one of her comments on this blog, Wildside mentioned tire planters and that she doesn't know how they're made. Here's a link on how to make one kind anyway: ...I found this link through the Pathway to Freedom web page. There is a page there that gives links to lots of DIY sites:

In the past I've used tires for planting flowers or tomatos in, but I just stuffed dirt/soil inside the tire, then filled the hole with dirt and did my planting. It worked well enough, but still looked like a tire laying on the ground with a plant in it, and when the plants are dead it just looks like a tire cluttering up the yard. The ones at the above site are much fancier, haha.

Wildside also mentioned using the tires for growing tomatoes... I'm not sure how to do that. I can give it a good guess and I think I'd come pretty close, who knows, lol... maybe Wildside will share some info in a future comment.

I have also heard of using tires for planting potatoes. You plant the seed potatoe in the soil in a tire. When it grows you add a tire on and fill it with more soil, leaving just a small amount of the stalk sticking out. Then when it grows more you add another tire, etc. I guess you just keep doing this as long as it grows, or maybe until the stack gets too high for you to add another (if you're short this may not take too long). Anyway, the "spuds" grow in the dirt inside the tires as they would in the ground. To harvest potatoes from the ground you of course have to dig them up, but with the tires you just remove a tire and brush away the soil every time you want more spuds, then at the end of the season you remove all tires and soil and get your crop. Pretty cool, huh. "New" potatoes... mmmm, with fresh from the vine tomatoes. Thank God summer will soon be here. I'm looking forward to the proceeds of my first garden.

So far we have a tire retaining wall and different tire planters... anyone have any other ideas for using old tires? Get your "recycling mind" moving and share your ideas in the comments section!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Main Theme

I guess by now you've caught on to the main theme of my property... I live on a hill only fit for goats. The driveway is real "fun" in the winter so not many people come visit during that time of year. Mowing the grass is a definate challenge, or at least was when I used to try keeping up with it. If I could I think I'd have it paved and painted green, then just have a few potted plants here and there, haha. Next best thing would obviously be to fence it all and have 1 or 2 goats or sheep here to keep the weeds and such eaten down. If I had sheep and someone to sheer it/them for me, I'd definately enjoy spinning the fleece, and if it was goats my first choice would be angora so it/they too could be sheered and spun into yarn. And then again, there's always horses. "A fence, a fence, my Queendom for a fence." Oh, but without my Queendom, I'd have no need of the fence.

I posted to Freecycle that I need fence posts and one man was good enough to email me that he has around 15, give or take a few, that I can have. Tomorrow (umm, errr, later today, it's after midnight here) I will pick them up and bring them home. That is a good start on what I'll need in order to fence the whole place... guess one thing I should do is measure the area and figure out the total number of posts I do need. If you are wondering what Freecycle is, or if you want to give away or get "stuff" all for free, check it out, there's one in your area too...

#37 - Can you imagine putting a garden on this hill? What fun it would be to opporate a rototiller up here. Any takers? Guess that would be called "Extreme Rototilling", gee, maybe I could get people to pay for the experience. Posted by Picasa

#36 - Here's the chicken run... see, there's posts and there's wire, now how to get them together... lol. Posted by Picasa

#35 - In the forground you see my north-west corner post... then you look north east. See the rainbow? Posted by Picasa

#34 - I wish my yard was flat like those others you see, and fenced for horses too. Posted by Picasa

#33 - It's steep, but it's pretty once you're up here. Posted by Picasa

#32 - If you look to the far upper right you can see that white corner post you saw in a previous picture. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

More Pictures

Today I went up the neighbors driveway, stood just above my property line and took some pictures looking down onto my place, and of the back yard. I also took some looking out over the view I get from up there on the very rare occation I go up there. One day soon I'll take some from The Area Formerly Known as Lawn that focus on the view rather than on my yard. Wildside's comments on how nice an area it looks like inspired me to show some of the view, though my original intent was to focus on the yard itself. I am also now thinking about doing a blog for pictures I take in the area of the world where I live. I do also have a blog about my spinning and weaving, though I haven't kept it up... {note to self: update that blog to share too}.


I'd like to thank Wildside and Kiwi for their supportive and positive comments on my blog, and great input. Wildside left the comments here on my blog site and Kiwi posted them at PTF. What it PTF? It's Pathway To Freedom, a very interesting and informative web site about growing your own vegetables, animals, etc., basically how to become self sufficient, saving money while becoming more healthy. At PTF there is a "message board", the Pathway To Freedom E-Neighborhood: online neighbors visiting "over the fence" around the world. Here people post thoughts, ideas, questions, links to information, etc. If you are interested, on PTF I am known as PathFinder and their URL is:

You can go see comments posted to my blog by following the comments links, and also leave comments there if you like. I am copy/pasting Kiwi's comment here from her post on PTF because it was so nice.

Kiwi said:

I wanted to leave a comment on your blog, Alice, but it won't accept "anonymous" comments unless I have a blog too! (I don't!)
Just wanted to suggest that you focus on only one small area at a time. I have found that when the task is large it is very easy to be overwhelmed by all that is required...and then end up achieving nothing! (I am good at that!)
You have a good attitude and are obviously well motivated, so I'm sure you will soon notice those yard improvements.
Some suggestions....I am a list person, so would draw up a task list before starting. Then gradually work through that list...maybe starting with clearing the stuff that you mentioned that needs to be dumped.
Maybe you could have what we (in New Zealand) call a "working bee"...where friends and family all come along and help with a cleanup project. In return you could provide a simple meal...and everyone would have lots of fun. It's a good way to see some quick progress.
It's just a pity that the whole PTF e-neighbours "gang" cannot come around to lend a hand! What an event that would be! I suspect we'd all start talking and laughing and never quite get to the work!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your blog.

Monday, March 06, 2006

#31 - Flower bed of Day Lillies. I want to move the Day Lillies to along the driveway and put something smaller in this bed. Pot in foreground is Parsley, Mint, Chocolate Mint. Posted by Picasa

#30 - Front yard. Posted by Picasa

#29 - Dog pen below, proposed chicken run above. Posted by Picasa

#28 - White shed has been everything from storage to rabbit shelter, currently needs cleaning out and mouse proofing so it can be used again. The lean-to was built as a rabbit shelter but when I went out of raising and showing rabbits, this became a chicken house. You go through the blue door into the chicken run, then through the storm door into the lean-to. I'll be happy when I can finally give the chickens a bigger, better run on the hill and remove this one. Posted by Picasa

#27 - Top of the driveway. Posted by Picasa

#26 - I've been digging a few times this February when days were nice enough to work outside. I've dug up from the concrete blocks {rabbit manure pit from when I raised rabbits} to where you see the shovel by the chain link fence. I leave a trench each time I dig, but the chickens soon cover it in with their scratching around. They love the freshly dug dirt. Posted by Picasa

#25 - Looking down the driveway. Posted by Picasa

#24 - The only way into the top part of the yard is past the old tin storage shed... kinda over grown here, steep and narrow on the other side of the shed. Overgrown we can fix, steep and narrow can't be changed unless the shed is moved... hhhmmm... now maybe that's an idea too. Posted by Picasa

#23 - Around the corner of the home is an old storage shed. Also an old furnace that needs to go to the dump. Above the shed you can see a white fence post... that it a corner post in the south-west corner of my land. Posted by Picasa

#22 - Last of The Area Formerly Known as Lawn pictures. Posted by Picasa

#21 - Gonna have to come up with money to insure utility trailer this year... need to make many dump runs with truck and trailer. Posted by Picasa

#20 - Carport currently wrapped in plastic {for the winter}, old deep freeze and dish washer need to go... another deep freeze in carport to go too. Posted by Picasa

#19 - No lawn, lots of weeds take over. Posted by Picasa

#18 - When the old sundeck was removed from the house during reno project 1997, a Bobcat pushed it off the side of the home and here much of it still sits in a pile amongst the lilac bushes etc. Posted by Picasa

#17 - This and the next 5 pictures are taken of The Area Formerly Known as Lawn. You can see in the background what is left of the deck of the old sundeck. It's now rotten and needs to be gone... and steps sitting on it leaning against the house waiting for a place for me to put them. Posted by Picasa

The Area Formerly Known as Lawn

On the almost level area by the house {okay, mobile home with additions} there once upon a time was a lawn. What happened to it?

One fall my septic line plugged and backed up, flooding my bathroom. I was told it was probably a full septic tank so have it pumped out... but where is it? A "Bobcat" was brought in and dug a trench about 60' long by 5-6' deep, and found not even a sign of a pipe or anything. I had to fill this all in with a shovel, and this pretty much destroyed a large part of the lawn.

While waiting for me to find more financing before they came back to dig more in another area, I talked to a lady I knew that has Spririt Guides. Tricia had never been to my home, had no idea where I live, but consulted her Guides and told me exactly where the septic tank is. I had the Bobcat driver dig where Tricia said and they found it. Unfortunately, it's underneath the tire retaining wall I mentioned earlier. Thankfully, at both ends of the 6'+ area of the wall, there are parts only 3'+ high and it was under the southern most 3'+ end of the wall. This was bad enough as due to the digging that part of the wall collapsed and I don't really know what to do about it.

After the tank was pumped, this guy tells me there's gravel in the septic tank, showing him that the line from toilet to tank is broken. A plumber ran a snake down the line and found it was plugged with some kind of roots, so yes, it was a broken line. Back came the Bobcat and dug up a bunch from the tank towards the house until the broken part was uncovered. This further destroyed both the tire retaining wall and the lawn, but the line was fixed and after about 2 months I finally could use my toilet and washing machine again, have baths, etc.

About 2 years later the septic again backed up and flooded the bathroom. This time it was again found that the line was broken, so back comes the Bobcat and digs up from the previous repair to the outside wall of the house, and replaced that part of the line. He assured me I'd be okay now.

Within a year or two "here we go again". This time the break was underneath the house itself. Back with the Bobcat, dug up the yard again to put in a "clean out line" from the existing line {which is about 5' deep at the outside wall of the mobile, dropping deeper from there} to just above the ground. Then a new line had to be put in from the toilet to join in with the clean out line. So, as of Fall 2004, the line from toilet to tank has all been replaced, so surely I won't have any more problems with this for many years to come.

Even though it should be okay now, I don't feel comfortable with the idea of covering up this area with anything permanent. It will have to be done in such a way that if ever it has to be dug up again, things will be easy to move and to replace to again make it look nice. For this reason, I am thinking everything in this area should be in pots or movable planters.

Now you know the sad sagga of The Area Formerly Known as Lawn

#16 - I found one I missed. Taken of the "orchard" from the driveway. I have 3 wonderful pets {1 cat, 2 dogs} burried in here kind of under these overgrown junipers, all killed on the highway.
Posted by Picasa

#15 - Damson Plum Trees... started as one, now look at it. Posted by Picasa

#14 - Zoomed out a bit to give a wider view for you to put things into perspective. There is the fence line to the south and the fellen cherry tree and reno junk. Posted by Picasa

#13 - Another shot from top of tire wall. Wild roses actually do look kind of nice in summer time. Posted by Picasa