Somebody was supposed to bake honey oatmeal bread on the weekend, a thing that never came about because of Pressing Matters. I had every intention of photographing that somebody whilst he was baking the bread, and the bread itself. So now I shall give you a little photo essay showing what happened instead, which was lots of outside gardening and home improvement projects, in between one trip to Albany for routine car maintenance and another to Far Far Away for the annual family-ish get-together my boss puts on with his gracious wife at their lovely Vermontish place.
So here we are, the Chef and I and Scout-the-Goldapeake Retriever, in the second springtime living in our new-old Vermontish house. We learned some things about our yard by the end of the last growing season, including the names of many flowering plants and ground cover-like plants somebody here before us put in the beds around the house. We also learned where a vegetable garden does not grow, and so this year Chef David decided to try a completely new piece of earth right in front of the barn, which he insists is a shed. We do have a shed, but the barn is a barn, and that is all.
First, our containers. Last summer we were tickled our tomato plants, tiny little things we bought down at the Big Box garden center, ended up thriving in a single galvanized tub we bought for that purpose. This summer we bought many more of the tubs, but we also started our tomatoes (and some herbs) indoors from seed, back when it was springtime everywhere else, but Still Winter here. Look at them now, just a few weeks later!
Friends, we shall have copious amounts of tomatoes this summer, and I can’t tell you how happy that makes this erstwhile Southerner. The tub up at the top of the post contains chives, dill, sage, and a couple of kinds of basil. And the tub below, as of two or so days ago, contains the poor little cilantro which got its feet too wet and soaked up all the available nutrients in the plastic trays where it started from seeds; we expect it will come back in short order and thrive.
Meanwhile, here’s a look at the new spot for our vegetable garden, in front of the BARN:
Chef David did all the work on it a few days ago, and as you can see, the seeds have already started to germinate. Looks like we’ll be flush with radishes this summer, too:
We also planted arugula, Swiss chard, summer savory, green and yellow squash, another kind of lettuce I can’t recall, and two varieties of beans along the fence row. The Chef also transplanted these mystery thingummies from another part of the yard, because they look like Something. They are doing quite well in their new home, but we don’t know what they’re called; I have this feeling they’re some type of ornamental grass.
And here is an interesting little conundrum. When we bought our house, there was a small and most unattractive above-ground pool. We have exactly no use for a small, above-ground pool. We really could use a hot tub, both of us being active running-type folk who are now getting some age on us, but that’s expensive, and there is the matter of design: our lovely stamped concrete patio was built specifically for the round pool. It would look silly to plunk down a square hot tub. So we need to find a round one, or build a round-shaped deck around a square one. It’s not a thing that will happen this summer. So in the sandy spot where the pool once stood, I suggested a zen garden with a rake, and a Buddha for the corner. And about the time I mentioned that, Chef David said, Hey—you know what grows great in sand? Watermelon!
Meanwhile, the fence project continues this summer, and we believe by the time fall rolls around, it will be completely finished, or at least very close. Here is the second section David started last summer, now with its final coat of paint and pretty copper caps:
And here are posts laid in for the next section:
And another view of them:
Chef David figured out a way to salvage one of the least damaged sections of old fencing to make into a gate. He put a fresh coat of paint on it; here it is propped against the BARN:
But here is where the gate will go, between the TOOL SHED and the first section of new fence, completed last summer:
That is one clever chef, even if he does not know the difference between a barn and a tool shed. Also, you might be interested to know how our new concrete pad with the pretty little sea glass pieces fared over the winter. Here is a detail:
All but about six of the pieces stayed put. We found the ones that popped out and set them aside; they were the ones the least ‘sunken’ into the cement. We’ll find some kind of adhesive to reaffix them. All in all, I’m pleased with it.
Another thing we’ve learned, besides where not to put in a garden, is that Scout is growing ever more interested in testing boundaries, and not in a good way. Last week he bolted right out of the yard and across the street into our sweet neighbor’s yard, in hot pursuit of a kitty who by then was somewhere in the next county. This is not a dog problem, of course, but a human one. But until now I’d never seen Scout behave so boldly. And a couple of days ago when we returned home after his fun day at camp, he did it again, this time in hot pursuit of a crowd of starlings scavenging on the front lawn (as if). Because they took flight, he didn’t bolt into the road. But from now on, we’re establishing new boundaries for a dog who’s testing his: the driveway gate shall remain closed.
Scoutie says hey, y’all.