Thursday, April 5, 2012

Blueberries and ladybugs and mulberries oh my!


Even tho there are more than a dozen things to do inside the house, it's simply too nice right now to NOT be outside.. and let's face it.. Come June, July and August when it's hotter than you know what.. So hot that POOLS are EMPTY...it'll be time to be working in the comfort of AC.. but for now, the outside is delightful so projects are getting done.

It was determined a couple weeks ago that every time I run my sprinkler and the water hits the shed, water penetrates the cinder block and ends up puddling inside the shed. No big deal unless however your laundry is outside in there like mine is. I don't need to be replacing a washer and dryer any time soon!

So a remedy solution had to be created.
It started with a trench...
 The trench was dug around two sides of the shed-- that get hit by water spray.. The trench was about 6-8 inches deep. Lots of tree roots were in this area so it wasn't the easiest of jobs. Thankfully I had some eager assistants who were more than willing to dig in the dirt!

No Gracie and Peyton didn't help dig, but they sure had fun playing in that area after the fact! Silly puppies.


 Next up was landscape fabric. I lined the trench and added some landscape fabric pins in place for good measure.

 After the fabric was in place, I laid down some pea pebbles and inserted a 4" diameter PVC pre-holed drain pipe. Then covered it all in pea pebbles.
 And then in marble stones. All together it was 9 bags of pea pebbles and 4 bags of the marble stone.. and LOTS and LOTS of heavy lifting. My arms definitely got a work out!
 I trimmed down some of the visible landscape fabric and also sprayed a concrete sealer on the blocks. No idea if this solution has truly helped yet or not. I plan to put down some landscape edger around this area to avoid dirt and grass growing into and mixing with the stones.

 Around this are I also planted three beautiful blueberry bushes. Relatively mature already and have several berries for this year. They got a nice dose of coffee grounds from Starbucks too.

 Of course, no job is complete unless Molly and Peyton inspect (Peyton on the left and Molly on the right)

 It's such joy to go out to the garden every morning and find some new or realize some new. Like this little fella hanging out on the rose bush by my steps:

 It's been a while since I've seen a lady bug in red. I've usually seen them in varieties of orange etc but not the typical coloring book black and red combo.

Mulberries are coming in bountiful. Can't wait for them to ripen more.

I have two mulberry trees located in the Southeast area of the yard. One of my fondest childhood memories is of my neighbors mulberry tree. It was a HUGE tree that was very well established. Every year it bloomed fruit and overhung into our yard providing shade over my sandbox as a kid. Every Spring/Summer my mom would get fet up at the mulberries staining the concrete sidewalk, and staining the cover to my sandbox... and the bird poop that was to follow.

Several years later when I was no longer "sandbox" age, my parents and the neighbor decided the tree could/should come down. My dad played lumberjack and climbed heroically into the tree with a saw and went to town taking the tree down bit by bit. I remember being in the yard watching as branches came tumbling down (and the power line to our house) my dad yelling, "Timber!".. My mom was there too and I'm sure she was guiding the branches down with a rope or helping in some manner-- but I don't remember. I remember being sad that the tree came down since I loved eating the berries from it and so did my friends.

When the tree was finally down, my dad drilled a bunch of holes into the stump and filled each hole with lighter fluid (maybe gas?) and lit the stump on fire. It remained a charred black stump for years until the neighbor built a garage covering the site were the tree once stood. 

The area where my sandbox was, eventually I converted it back to a small vegetable garden for my mom. In my teens I would take over the garden planting a full variety of things and attaching "window" baskets to the side of the garage to hold herbs.

My childhood best friend Michelle and I tackled lots of gardening projects.. If the small backyard garden wasn't enough for us, we had oodles of potted seedlings taking up my back porch area.. by the time highschool rolled around for us both, we had completely gutted my mom's front yard from grass... laid in stepping stones and put in a perennial garden. After some construction on our street our "parkway" area (the area between the curb of the street and the sidewalk) had the bricks out there broken and a mess from having construction equipment running over them.

In theory I think the parkway belongs to the city-- but lots of homeowners take it upon themselves to do landscaping in that area too.. So Michelle and I were at it again, salvaging what bricks we could (that made the pathway in the front yard) and planted oodles of plants out there. For years my mother would get compliments about how great the front of the house looked. We used to have the worst front yard on the block. It inspired other neighbors to start taking care of their landscaping around the front of their property too.
It's very nostalgic to know I have two Mulberry trees in my yard and that I am walking distance to the baseball stadium here just like I was walking distance to Wrigley Field when I grew up in Chicago. It's like a little taste of home with home being in a different place now.

I'm looking forward to getting the vegetable garden all planted and that fence put up. Hopefully it's complete in the next few weeks. Home Depot had a great sale this past weekend on herbs, veggies and annuals.. so I have some of that stuff already---more on that later.

What have you been up to?

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