Thursday, April 1, 2010

Working Weather

It's raining now and could snow again, but the last couple of days have been warm (in the eighties one day!), giving an sense of urgency to spring garden projects we've just been picking away at.

When that urge to spend the whole day in the yard surfaces, the only thing to do is leave. Seriously. In a few months, when the middle of the day is so blazing hot that my cool basement office beckons, concentrating on writing will be easier. But for now my solution is to retreat to a quiet room at the local library or tuck myself into a corner of a coffee shop to write. Only when the day's words are on the page do I allow myself to putter in the yard.

Having said that, on my way home from the library I stopped by the hardware store to see what they had in the way of composters. And lo and behold -- they had exactly what I wanted, at a price significantly lower than the ones I'd been researching online. Isn't she a beaut?

Last year a frame surrounded by wire constituted our composting attempt, which we rapidly abandoned when the raccoons ripped the wire off to get at the potato peelings. So far critters have largely left the vegetables alone [crosses fingers], and no way were raccoons welcome that close to the garden. The intention to build an enclosed bin drifted behind other projects, and I've had my eye on a compost tumbler for a while anyway.

So now the counter top bin is back in place and awaiting kitchen scraps.

Then there was the need to fill the new raised beds so I can get the perennial and cool weather vegetables planted. Picked up a couple yards of topsoil and bucked it down to the garden boxes in the wheelbarrow, load after load. Compost will come next -- purchased in bulk this time around.

Every spring I vow to keep ahead of the weeds. To that end I spent an hour with my handy triangle hoe chopping tiny weed seedlings before they got a good hold in the soil.

The Home Crafting Mystery I'm working on these days is set in the springtime, though in a rather different climate. Here the daffodils and crocuses are just venturing forth, but in the Pacific Northwest the cherry blossoms are going crazy, and the tulips fields are ablaze with color. This is a tulip farm in Washington State's Skagit Valley. I based Rocky and Gabi's fictional flower farm in Spin a Wicked Web on this one. The tulip festival is underway for 2010, with tour buses and events galore.

Upcoming outside projects:
  • plant asparagus, rhubarb, and horseradish as well as cool-weather veggie seeds
  • get brassica seedlings from the nursery
  • retrieve peony cages and water walls from the garage
  • rototill the landscaped kitchen garden
  • build retaining walls for new herb garden...
Well, that's a start, at least. What yard work are you managing to fit in around the rest of your life?


  1. Creative nonfiction gives me the freedom to combine gardening, photography and writing in one project. This time I'm not feeling guilty when I devote time to one activity and not the other.

  2. Integrating life and art -- I love it.

  3. I use worms for composting -- I bought one of those large gray plastic bins with a snap on lid, punched holes in it, and it's been working great. It's small enough for me to manage (mix) with a hand trowel and a plastic coffee container, but big enough to add lots of fruit and veggie peelings before I have to empty the gunk onto the flower beds. It sounds ridiculous, but there's something very satisfying about turning veggie leavings into clean, safe fertilizer.

  4. It doesn't sound ridiculous at all, Pat! It sounds efficient and frugal. Do you keep your worm bin outside all year? I have a friend who tosses red wrigglers in her regular compost bin, but they freeze in the winter. She swears they come back every spring(?)