Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Watch our Garden Grow

We recently built some raised beds for the garden. But they looked so lonely standing there, empty and with nothing around them! So we tucked them in.

First, we mulched the pathways around the beds with wood chips. That helps suppress weeds (and oh boy, do we have weeds.) Tree services will sometimes deliver bulk coarse wood chips for free, but unfortunately none in our area had any available at the time we needed them. We did find a nearby place that sells them for 10 bucks a yard, though.

For some reason, we picked the hottest week of the year to do this.

After mulching the pathways, we lined the bottoms of each bed with hardware cloth. This will keep digging critters from burrowing into the beds and munching on our veggies. No Beatrix-Potter-type mischief allowed here.

Pathways! Hardware cloth! Whee!
Now we're in the process of filling them up with soil. It's a lot of work before we even plant anything! But we're almost there. (Do I say that every post, about every project? Probably.)

We're also trying to let ourselves take the occasional day/weekend off to enjoy the gorgeous weather. When I feel like complaining about slow progress, I try to remind myself about all the fun things we've gotten to do instead.

I'm confused, Mom. What is this "camping"? It doesn't even make sawdust!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Getting Bed-der All the Time

We're one step closer to the veggie garden of my dreams!

With all the debris and old grass pulled out, the yard was bare, smooth, and ready for raised beds. So we built four.
Tip - build beds upside down, so the tops are perfectly level.

Another tip - look busy when the inspector arrives to check your progress.
 We were able to reuse all the materials for this project. The boards were left over from pulling down old fence sections.  Friends gave us cedar posts they've salvaged from their old fence (thanks, Susanne and Tim!), which we used to connect the corners and anchor the beds into the ground. And we had some galvanized screws and nails in our stash already.

Well, we'll have screws and nails if nobody tries to eat them.
Although we want these to be as durable as possible in wet conditions, we decided not to use any pressure treated wood. Old pressure treated wood is NOT safe for vegetable beds. Sources differ on the safety of new materials, which are less toxic but may still leach some amount of undesirable chemicals. We figured better safe than sorry. We used cedar for the corner posts because it's naturally rot-resistant.

I can't wait to get some soil and plant veggies!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Resting on our Laurels

ME: (giving directions) We're the yellow farmhouse right on the corner.
FRIEND: Oh, I know that house! It's the one with the crazy overgrown laurel hedges!
ME: ...

And that's when I decided we really, really needed to cut back the giant laurel.

We had the landscapers do the actual cutting, but to keep the price down, Brett and I helped haul away the literal ton of debris that resulted.

This smile did not last long. Laurel is surprisingly heavy.
Yes, that is an entire dumpster in front of our house.
... An entire dumpster full of laurel.
 And we're not even done yet.

If anyone needs me, I'll be passed out over here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Yep, more shelves. I heart shelves.

We're going to be looking at these every time we enter or leave the house, so I wanted them to be attractive as well as functional. And it's good opportunity to add some handmade, upcycled character to the mudroom.


The brackets are hand-forged by Adirondack Blacksmith on Etsy. The wood is salvaged from old shipping crates.