Fence Mods

I had the house to myself this weekend and have been itching for a project around the yard recently. The days of being able to do things outside are numbered, and my fence was looking in need of a fresh coat of paint. My dad and I built this fence shortly after we moved in a year and a half ago, and in actuality it never did get a legitimate coat of paint. We (mostly my dad) slapped a couple coats of leftover primer on and left it at that. It looked good enough for a while, but was starting to show it’s age.

But why stop at a paint job when the fence could be improved and extended? Lightbulbs started going off, and Saturday afternoon I had borrowed a K-truck and was gingerly driving it home with a load of wood precariously strapped to the top.

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One of the problems with the fence, I decided, was that it didn’t offer any privacy. To be honest, I’m not the concerned about privacy. As the sole foreign inhabitant of this neighborhood, I’ve accepted that people are going to be curious about what I’m doing and I don’t have a huge problem with that (to an extent). But it was a good way to justify a not-totally necessary project.

DSC_0134I managed to finish everything by Sunday, including a coat of paint on the outside of the fence, and with Monday off and my family heading back I was up early putting another coat on the outside and a first coat on the inside.

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Privacy improved, though a determined stalker can still get a glimpse.

DSC_0136I extended the fence to the front of the house, and this is pretty much the crowning achievement of my limited carpentry skills.

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The yard feels a little cozier on the inside, in a good way.

DSC_0142Elsewhere, garlic and onions have begun sprouting, daikon and turnips are well on their way, and the other veggies have yet to be ravaged by the caterpillars that got them last year. I did have a murderous slug-slaying escapade the other night though…

(By the way, WordPress is losing me. They’ve managed to completely screw up a once seamless blogging platform.)

Winding Down

Long time, no see. I’ve been meaning to update the state the state of things here for a while, and it’s now or never since fall is coming in hard and before long the current state of things will be varying shades of brown. I’m still a long way out from anything that could be even loosely defined as a forest, but a lot of my plantings have gotten much larger since I put them in last spring.

I was admittedly a bit burnt out with all things forest garden and permaculture after being pretty single-minded about it last winter, reading and obsessing about garden design, then acquiring the plants, and then waiting for the weather to get warm enough to plant them, worrying if they were going to survive or not…and of course waiting for things to grow is certainly more torturous than watching paint dry.

I’ve had a renaissance of late though, my passions have been lit once again. So I’m back, whole hog baby (not necessarily to this blog, mind you). Let’s get to the pictures since thus far I’ve had children hanging off of me/hitting me/TALKING to me and damn it’s hard to keep a train of thought with all that going on.

A profile of the forest garden to be. Give it five or ten years…the pieces are in place.

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The acacia tree in the foreground has grown considerably, but the trunk is still too thin to support its dangly self. Talk about frustrating. I transplanted the dogwood that was formerly directly in front of the house with a much larger and loquat tree. It will do a better job of providing some privacy at the front of the house since it’s evergreen. Next to that is the black locust, which has doubled in size since I planted it which gets me pretty fired up!

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I did little project last month. I planted potatoes directly in front of the porch this spring, but they didn’t do very well. I attributed that to the soil not being deep enough, and decided excavate a walkway and use that solid to create a deeper planting bed. The taters struggled where the lettuce is growing in the picture below.

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After a driftwood expedition, I was pretty pleased with the results.

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Continuing around the yard…that cattails have been a huge success, to the point where I may be complaining about them overtaking my yard in the near future. They started out as four stalks last year, and there are still new ones popping up despite the cooling temps. I hit them with a bit of water when it gets dry, but otherwise they’ve been relying on rain water.

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I’ve planted a few things this fall which you can sort of make out in this picture if you know what you’re looking at. In the corner is a pomegranate tree that probably won’t produce for long time. Moving along the fence, there’s a bay tree. After that is my third shot at figs. My otherwise trusty green thumb has abandoned me so far when it comes to figs, which are pretty notoriously easy as hell to grow. Not sure what my problem is, but I hope this one thrives because I love figs. Across from the fig, in front of the acacia and really hard to see is a Juneberry tree. You can also see the massive Jerusalem artichokes keeling over in the background. I think they’re just about ready to start harvesting. There’s also a glimpse of the main veggie bed in this picture. I’ve planted that with broccoli, Chinese cabbage, and normal cabbage. The brown stuff all over the ground is rice husks which are supposed to be good for soil.

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Here’s the new bed chalk full of daikon and turnips.

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On to the side yard, the Japanese alder (on the left) has grown pretty well, wider more than taller; same for the strawberry tree next to it. Around the perimeter of that bed I’ve planted garlic in the foreground and red onions in the back.

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And I can’t forget about this project. I found hardy kiwis at the homecenter, and jumped at the chance to buy them. I then built this rickety bamboo trellis which will probably last about five minutes once the kiwis start pulling at it.

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Other than that, the summer veggies that remain are on their last legs. I’ve been thinking about my goals for the garden for next year and I was going to talk about them here, but it’ll have to wait. Talk to you soon…perhaps.