Monday, March 29, 2010

March ends and my adventure begins.

Well nearing the end of March, and finally getting some warmer sunny days down here in North Carolina I got a chance to get out back and start on my adventure for the year. While most things went well there was one causality the winter chill claimed, and unfortunately for me it could wind up being the worst thing ever. More on that later though, for now lets take a look at what I have to work with.

Here is how my yard is starting off the summer. Please be kind, and remember I had a lot on my plate at the start of this past winter and was not able to get out back and properly prepare for the completely unexpected snowy weather we had.

(That's my little one Sophia, she is daddy's helper this year!)

As you can see a lack of weeding leading up to the winter months has left me a very weedy yard to contend with. One area in particular is has been giving me a head ache for the last two years and this time I got serious. An as yet unidentified brier has some how gotten into my back hedge row and has taken root to such an extent that hoeing it over once a week did not get it out. So this year I have taken the fight to the final level. As you can see in the following picture, my only recourse for this year is to cover the area over with a tarp and basically deprive the bed of sunlight for the year.

It is not like I did not try "normal" methods of weed removal. I got out what I could, soaked the area with "The Worlds Best Weed Killer" every day for a week. Then realized Wile E Coyote must have switch my weed killer with Miracle-grow because the brier resurfaced in a few different places. Next was of course, bleach mixed with water coupled with hoeing up the entire part of the bed. The brier persisted. So this year I hope to put a stop to it with my extreme measures.

Something I tried for the first time last year was a small vegetable garden. While I had mixed results with the actual vegetables, my daughter Sophia and I had the best time just working in the garden and learning about nature. My wife, bless her, is not the most outdoorsy of types so it falls on my shoulders to introduce our child (soon to be children!) to nature, and all the creepy crawlies that are in it.

This year I am taking a different approach to the garden, and most notably am getting it started at the proper time of year. Last year by the time I was pulling produce off the vine I was also getting ready for hurricane season. And wouldn't you know it, my back yard flooded and *poof* went the garden. While I have no immediate plans for flood proofing my garden my hope is getting it tilled and planted earlier will give me more time for harvesting before the rains come again.

I was thankfully able to hire some help, whom worked for the small price of; "Ice Cream at Dairy Queen". Well worth the price in my opinion.

(Nothing finer than a freshly tilled patch of dirt in my opinion)

Other than getting things picked up, a good first mowing to get a grip on the weed and of course tilling up the garden. My only other major accomplishment was getting started on clearing out the pond area. No photos of that yet since it is more or less in the same shape as when I started, but there is a significant dent in it.

As elluded to earlier though, I must make mention of the winter casuality and why it of all things will probably be the one thing I get reminded of most. Our precious hammock, did not make it through the winter.

"Well hun it said, "Weather resistant" on the packaging"!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My Back Yard Adventures

One of my favorite summer time hobbies is puttering around in my back yard. While it is not a very large yard at all, I try to make the most of the space I do have by incorporating a variety of typical lawn and garden things. With a, albiet small, shrub wall in the back and a great little area on the deck by the middle of the summer there is usually something for everyone who comes over to talk about.

One of the things most of my friends comment on is my pond. The year before last I decided to move a preformed pond into the back yard and while I was able to learn a lot of things during the time I never got it to look quite right. Hopefully this year I will be able to clean out the area properly and *crosses fingers* keep it weed free from here on out.

Unfortunately for me, the end of last summer was a very time consuming period and my hobby area suffered as a result. I did think ahead though and have some pictures I will be adding in the next day or so of how my yard is starting out. My hope is to give weekly or time permitting bi-weekly updates on both how my yard is doing and any adventures I may have while working in it.

Of course I should mention the other big factor in getting my back yard under control. My wife is currently pregnant with a due date in June, so not only will she be home much more this summer but there will be another little one who can enjoy the favorite summer time gathering place.