Thursday, April 11, 2019

It took a village

2018 - Before before
As always, my back yard is a work in progress.

At the old house, first it was roses, then roses and flowers, then roses and veggies, and finally, veggies with a few roses shoved in around the edges.

I'm trying to be more organized here, and I've found a way that keeps me from changing my mind every year. The front yard is flowers. All flowers, all the time. The side yard is flowers and the blueberry bushes, because the like the sun there.

The back yard is veggies, and to make me stick to that plan, I've installed eight raised beds, covered the paths with wood chip, and filled the beds with a mushroom soil/topsoil blend.

When I say I've done this, I do mostly mean I've done it. I got the raised bed kits last summer, and they spent the winter in the garage. About a month ago, I cleaned up the yard and rolled landscape fabric across the entire space, except for the back corners where I still need to get shrubs removed (I know, should have been done first, but can't anyone to do it). Then I placed the beds, and ordered the wood chips and soil to be delivered from a local place, each load a week apart.

Beds in, wood chips down
Last week, two yards of wood chips. I borrowed a wheelbarrow from a neighbor, and it took about 2.5 hours to wheelbarrow all of it from the driveway and spread it around the yard. I was tired, but not too bad. I figured the soil would take longer, it being heavier.

I was right. Soil arrived yesterday, mid-stucco repair. The driver, deciding for himself that I hadn't ordered enough wood chips, added an extra half yard on the house, and he shoveled those out first. (I was actually fine for wood chips, but my policy is never to say no to a freebie, so...). Next he dumped two yards of soil.

It didn't seem like a big pile. The driver actually shoveled the first barrowload himself, because he said he needed exercise. The stucco guys did a few loads, while I brewed them all a pot of coffee. Then the men got back to doing what they were being paid to do, and I started shoveling. And shoveling. And shoveling.

Even more than it looks like
The soil arrived at 11 a.m. My next door neighbors, whose half of the drive was filled with my dirt, came home around 3 p.m. and told me to sit while they shoveled for a while. The brother was strong, but a little too energetic with the wheelbarrow, so the extra wood chips will come in handy to cover where he dumped soil on the paths. They eventually went in to start dinner, and I continued shoveling until Mario got home at 6. By that point, there were about 5 barrow loads left, plus the sweeping. I sat on a raised bed and directed him, because by that point I couldn't raise my arms, my legs were shaking and my feet hurt from being on them non-stop for hours in cheap sneakers.

Just as I was heading up for my shower, I got a text from my neighbor down the street. "Saw your madness, you must need food. Clean up, be here at 7." She fed us a lovely roast chicken with Thai rice and string beans, and we brought a bottle of wine.

I was in bed by 9:30, and I can't say I've ever been happier to go to sleep while the rest of the world was still wide awake.

As done as it gets - for now
Today I'm mostly okay, and the parts that hurt at least tell me I was lifting properly - my hamstrings, inner things and my abs are killing me. My back and shoulders are just tired.

But now I have a clean slate, and when I can look at it without flinching, I will plant it.

In the meantime, I'm happy to know that while I can do it myself, it's nice when my village chips in to get it done.


SewRuthie said...

what fantastic neighbours! The raised beds look great, happy planting.

Kimbersew said...

That's good village!

Sue in MN said...

Beautiful raised beds! And a great village! Happy planting - looking forward to pics of your bounty

Nancy K said...

Fabulous neighbors.You lucked out The garden beds are really nice. Any chickens in this garden?