Sunday, August 20, 2017

...And back now

Okay, wow, a month has gone by without a post. My explanation is that we took a couple of weeks to travel to PEI for a family vacation. Amazing gardens (and beaches) and the red soil was striking.

We returned to an overgrown garden. The lettuce, in particular, was crazy and needed an immediate harvest before it went bitter.

Fortunately, the tomatoes are just beginning to come in. What a treat!

We've also started harvesting some of the root veggies. This turnip was tasty despite its huge size.

The potatoes harvest has been a bit disappointing. I blame a lack of water and some compacted soil. What have pulled so far has been tasty.

The apples are also tasty but smaller than last year (like half the size). Some friends let up pick their early tree this year. Below, Jess has realized I have let go of the ladder to snap a picture... .

We've been enjoying crisps and tastes and buns. Our own apples are just ready this week so we'll be picking one tree and continuing with the dessert theme. This is appreciated as the raspberry canes have packed it in for the year.

We arrived home to the back stairs falling off the house. They were never properly based and, as the soil around the house subsided, they have slowly followed suit. I managed to pull the stairs out of the way, create a proper footing, add some new hardware, and reattach them. It felt good to renew my man-card and cost only $40.

With that project out of the way and the onions and garlic harvested, I could turn my mind to renewing the NW corner of the lot. We originally put in four rows (a compromise caused by a tree removal). These were narrow and, over time, have compacted.

So I hauled some rock around from the back to establish retaining walls along the front walk and then  moved the soil around to create four full rows (about four feet wide each). There is also a half row out of frame on the right.

Of course no house project would complete with breaking something. In this case, the wheelbarrow gave up under the strain of the rocks. A hammer, a new bolt, and some mild swearing yielded a fix.

When the tomatoes are done, I will repeat this in the SW corner. Right now I have planted a cover crop and will add manure on top after the frost comes (all the beds need a good shot of manure).

We also cleaned out the bed below Jessica's window (further to the right in the pictures above). This bed had terrible soil so we planted a bunch of perennials a few years back and basically ignored it. Jess wanted a strawberry bed so I pulled out the perennials, amended the soil a bit, and then nicked some strawberries from an overgrown bed in the back. You can see some extra rocks in the picture below (Jess watering ins strawberries) awaiting the SW bed project.

Up next for is us fixing up the back beds. The potatoes are basically done so I'm slowly pulling out a rotten retaining wall (from almost 20 years ago!). I have managed to remove most of the old wall and dig away enough dirt that we should be be able to replace the wall this week. I think we can just burn the old cedar boards in the firepit this fall. We also need to rack off some wine into clean carboys for bulk aging now that they have clarified.