A beginning

Saturday, I sprayed the interior area of the walled garden with a 3% solution of the citric acid spray. It did a fair job on some weeds, didn’t do much to the grass or other weeds. Yesterday, I upped the game to 9% and sprayed again. The area is mostly browned off now with only some grass still showing some green. This morning, I shoved what was left of last year’s chicken run bale of hay over with the tractor bucket, I couldn’t get it in the bucket by myself to just drive it over. That bale is rotted on the side that was on the ground and so moldy that a cloud of mold spores erupts when part is pulled off. It seemed like the perfect solution to hold the cardboard down and be a layer to compost under leaf mulch or soil. Early in the spring, when it appeared that between DIL who started the wall began a full time job a while ago and COVID, that they wouldn’t be able to come this year to work on the house and the wall, so I began rock stacking to make her wall higher in low places and thicker in thin places and while doing so, I tossed smaller rocks up into a pile where the patio will eventually go.

I talked to my son about whether I should load them in the tractor bucket and relocate them to a rock pile and his suggestion was to use them along the edge of the cardboard or weed mat that would go down before soil was added and to build up the wall on the lower back edge at a slope. This morning, all of the cardboard that was left after doing the garden was hauled out to that space, boxes opened flat and i began below the retaining wall where the garden will be deepest and will house the herbs that might survive the winter if kept warmed by the stones. There, I can drape heavy plastic from retaining wall to garden wall to create a mini greenhouse in the coldest part of winter and perhaps the rosemary and thyme will survive there. When I ran out of cardboard, I had enough weed mat left over to do two strips of it as well. As I went, I gathered the smaller rocks again and stacked them against the back of the wall on the cardboard.

The area that has been covered was given a layer of spoiled hay to help hold it down and to begin breaking down.

The area shaded by the retaining wall is the deepest part. It receives full sun in the afternoon year round.

You can see the edge of the weed mat to the right of my shadow. It goes up to the top of the retaining wall and I’m in a shallower, flatter area now. It is hard to tell where the killed off grass ends and the spoiled hay begins.

Looking down from the deck, you can see the gorgeous heavy stone retaining wall that Son 1 and DIL built (without heavy equipment mind you) and how the garden wall wraps around to it. That area beyond the retaining wall was steep and difficult to mow. The double crook hanging pole is in the flat lawn level area. The round concrete pier in the lower left corner was where the old deck extended and all of the stones remaining and in the garden wall were under the part of the deck that did not get replaced. The pier is going to hold one end of an arbor and the patio will be between it and the house.

The outer pier can be seen here, where the path/patio has been started and you can see there is still a significant pile of smaller rock to be used or moved. Behind the end of the grill and in an area that will become part of the patio, there are bearded Iris, Dutch Iris, and a tall plant that has yellow flowers that used to be along the edge of the old deck. They will have to be moved soon. What is remaining of the hay bale can be seen in the yard, there is enough to finish the job if I can get cardboard or weed mat and some of that rock pile will go along the back of the wall.

Progress has been made. Now to finish it and get leaf mulch or composted soil to top the spoiled hay so that I can plant the garden. The patio will have to wait until the hay is down and I can get to the many rock piles with the tractor to bring large flat rocks up. The cracks will be filled with pea gravel or sand and the area will be easier to maintain, a practical space, and a joy to look at. It may need a second Hummingbird feeder for the back and an umbrella for the table so I can sit out there and enjoy it.

The garden thrives and so does the hay.

The mowers did most of the farm down the mountain, but the rest of the back field was partially mowed and has sat idle for several days. Our hay still stands. Maybe this week, maybe not, the weather will control that. This is as late as it has ever stood, I don’t know about hay nutrition, but I would think that when the seed heads mature and drop their seed that the hay loses nutrition, but it means it is self seeding the fields.

I found the concentrated citric acid weed killer a couple of days ago and mixed up a gallon at the lowest concentration to spray the inside of the walled garden. It did a fairly good job on miner’s lettuce and a few other tender weeds, barely touched the grass and the pigweed thumbed it’s leaves at it. I guess I will up the concentration and try again. I don’t want any of that coming up once the cardboard and mulch are put down. Yesterday and today are fairly comfortable temperatures and I was hoping to get that job done but it will have to wait another day or two if the second spraying does work.

The daylilies continue to bloom and brighten the east side of the garage. I love spring and early summer as first the iris bloom, then the Dutch iris, and finally the daylilies. The Calendula bed really self seeded last year and it is full of blooms, far more than I will use in a year of making herbal salve. I will gather some seed and add a patch of it to the walled garden for bright yellow and orange color. The marigolds in the vegetable garden that I planted from seed are about to bloom, but the plants that I bought and put in half barrels look puny.

I am continuing to spin on the Jenkins Turkish spindles for the Tour de Fleece/Jenkins Team. It is fun seeing what item you have to seek to photograph with your spindle(s). However, Ravelry recently changed their website and though it is cleaner in appearance, it is an ocular migraine inducer for me. They have a link to a variation of their old look, but it really isn’t and it too causes the migraine, so I have been going on as the item is listed, posting my photo and staying off the rest of the day. Yesterday was spent mostly making masks for family. Some of yesterday’s that were made.

Well off to find a “Christmas or Holiday ornament that can hang” for today’s hunt. I have plenty, but the boxes are all stored away, nothing got left out by accident. The spindles are ready.

Stay safe everyone.


Because of the dreaded virus ravaging our country, we had been unable to meet our newest grandson, born in January. Initially we didn’t want to add any stress to their lives with their household of 5 children, 3 under the age of 4, so we decided to give them a month or so to settle in, then COVID came to visit and as we are in the at risk age and health group, we determined it was not in anyone’s best interest for us to drive across the state and stay in a hotel in an area of the state that was a hot spot. Yesterday, they headed west to a family wedding and had to pass by a nearby town on the interstate. Last night after dark, we drove to a fast food restaurant just off that interstate and met them, masked and socially distanced and finally got to meet our newest grandson, see the two little girls that were an infant and a 2 year old when we last saw them, and the two older grands as well. The only two that really know us are the older two. All of the children are beautiful, healthy children and it was so good to see them even if we couldn’t hold the littles and hug the bigs. We did take pictures, but I don’t post pictures of my grandchildren without permission and didn’t think to ask last night.

It continues to be hot and humid with occasional thunder storms, so haying still hasn’t begun on our farm and garden work is limited to early morning or late evening. Today I will harvest and freeze more green beans, I’m sure that the last two days storms have caused the small ones to thrive and swell.

I continue to spin on my spindles, adding a few grams of fiber each day, most of the spinning done on the front porch under the ceiling fan, in the car on the way to two dentist appointments for hubby in a week, neither of which have resolved the problem, or sitting in my stressless chair in the evenings. I have spun about 100 grams of fiber in the first 12 days of the Tour de Fleece/Jenkins Team, some has been plied. The darker fiber on the smaller spindles is the weft on the sample scrap scarf I am weaving on my rigid heddle loom. Hubby bought me the stand for it recently which makes weaving on it so much easier that I actually pull it over to my chair and weave a few rows several times a day. The hand spun warp is sticky and one of them must not have been tightly enough spun as it keeps breaking requiring me to tie in a piece. I’m hoping I am past the fragile area and it will hold together for the remainder of the project. It is going to be entirely spun on Jenkins Turkish spindles.

Stay safe everyone. Be cautious, wear a mask, wash your hands.