Signs of Life

Aside from planting a bum-load of veggies in the next few weeks, all of the major landscaping projects are finished for the time being — the find is built, some perennials are planted, grassy area/BBQ garden is set up, and I’ve had some good soil trucked in for the garden. I don’t have the capacity to spend much more money on the yard at this point, but I’ve also done all the big things that I had initially envisioned.

That said, I’ll probably always find something to tinker around with concerning the yard, and this weekend adding some kind of border to the kawara chip walkway from driveway to the entrance was preoccupying me. It turns out that you aren’T supposed to steal rocks from the beach. I found that out after making two trips and loading bucket upon bucket of stones into the back of my minivan.

The thought crossed my mind — that perhaps there was some statute prohibiting people from removing rocks from the beach. When I went to the beach yesterday there was nobody there. But this morning there were some families and people fishing, and the foreigner hauling rocks certainly didn’t go unnoticed.

In the end I managed to get all my rocks home unscathed and set about adding them to the landscape. The main task, as I mentioned, was lining the walkway.

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I had enough left over to put a border along the grass too. The BBQ garden is looking mighty fine — just need the sod to take root enough to support beer swilling, meat grilling, chair lounging people.

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Around the yard plants are starting to show signs of life — a positive develop that spring is afoot and I haven’t killed any of the things I planted thus far.

Blackberries

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Blueberries

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Fig

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The maple tree my father-in-law brought — already transplanted once.

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Even the apple and pear trees, formerly just blank sticks protruding from the ground, have some little sprouts shooting out.

Golden Week is coming up, which is when I usually plant vegetables. I still have to calculate how much space I have and what I want to plant, but I’m looking forward to all the brown dirt gradually turning green and productive.

Hope it was a good weekend for everyone.

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Landscaping Blitz

It’s with an aching body that I sit down to write¬†this entry. I’ve made a lot of progress landscaping over the week. In fact, pretty much everything I had planned on doing is done, aside from actually planting oodles of vegetables.

Last weekend the landscaper from whom I planned to order dirt came by to look around and figure out how much dirt I would actually need to turn my mountain of clay into a fruitful little slice of Eden. I also asked him about ordering some sod to plant a small patch of lawn that will serve as the BBQ headquarters of the yard. It was arranged that everything would be delivered on Friday.

So I came home from work Friday evening and was happy to see several large piles of hatake (rice paddy) dirt filling up my yard. I ordered five 4-ton truck loads, but really had no idea how much that was — it was just the amount that the landscaper recommended. Turns out his estimate was spot on.

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It also turns out that I underestimated how much work it’s going to be turning my yard into a mini-farm and maintaining it. This is a wholly different undertaking than the gardens I’ve had over the past few years, where I was borrowing land that already had nice dirt in it, and a nice old man always used his tiller to churn up my dirt for me each spring. But once I get all this prep work done I should have a good foundation and plenty of room to have both summer and winter crops going in a pretty hefty volume.

The prospect of lumping dirt around my yard compelled me to get up at seven yesterday morning. It was heavenly actually, sipping my coffee between wheelbarrow loads and listening to the Red Sox in the background. But I still had a bunch of dirt left when I had to turn my attention to other things in the afternoon.

After a boozy night and sleeping in to the hedonistic hour of 8:30 this morning, I was back at it. Slowly but surely the pile leveled out and finally I was left with some massive, deep beds. I’ll treat them with some lime and fertilizer, maybe some chicken poop, and let them sit for a few weeks. Tilling all that stuff in by hand should be a total pleasure. Then they’ll be ready to plant right around Golden Week.

Here’s the front yard.

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My friend will be using the side yard this summer.

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A few of the whole spread, with small child for scale.

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And I mentioned sod before. The landscaper called earlier in the week to say he would deliver the sod, along with some river sand to spread underneath (easier than chiseling the hardened clay level), earlier than the dirt. So I was able to bang that out during the week. Sod in Japan comes in little square, not the rolls that I was used to in America. There were some pretty suspect pieces in my order, with virtually no dirt attached to the underside of the grass. Hopefully everything will take, but if some of it dies it’s easy enough to pick up a few extra pieces. I cut out a circle in the middle of the lawn where the grill will sit. In a month or so I’m hoping everything will be solid enough underfoot to grilling away.

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It’s so cool to be getting things set up as I had envisioned while we were building the house. Realizing the dream baby! Hope everyone’s having a good weekend.