Back on Track

Ok, so now that everything is planted (pictures to come, I promise!) I am over my feelings of horror about the garden.

Everything already has new growth, everything is green, everything is healthy, and I am looking forward to eating the first tomato of the year!

Thanks for your encouragement and kind words while I went through my gardening break down.


Proving My Worth as a Wife

I bet that title grabbed your attention a little!

First, for those of you who have been worried about whether or not I've lost the will to garden, don't! I am gardening this year, and the garden is all tilled and planted, but that is for another day. I need to take pictures and all that still.

Anywho, let me explain the title... I was supposed to be taking a class all through June and into July, then July I was going to be overloaded with classes and I wasn't going to be able to keep my job. So I quit. My last day is next Friday.

THEN I was sitting in class, bored out of my mind, schooling everyone else who was in there, and my professor says to me, "You have taken a similar class, no?" Uh YES! He said I should have the class waived. So I did! Yay for me!

I was able to find another class that can take the place of the dropped one, but it doesn't start until July. So basically, this means that I have the ENTIRE month of June OFF!!! Like, no work, no school... Just proving my worth as a wife...

No more wrinkly dress shirts for the Hubs... Home made dinners, clean house, weeded garden, fresh bread (depending on how hot it is, but with this weather I doubt that will be a problem) and did I mention a clean house???

Yeah, June will be the month I have to be worth my weight in gold since I won't have an income NOR will I be slaving away towards my educational goals... And that is a lot of gold...


What is the Point?

Ok, a little caveat before I begin.... I am going to yell, I am going to scream, and I am probably going to swear. You've been warned.

So this weekend is Cleveland's official last frost date and I am preparing to put my plants in the ground (the ones I lovingly grew from seed in organic seed starting mix on a seed shelf with lights that I built.) I go out side to begin tilling. My tiller is battery powered (Stupid) and I can only till ONE HALF of a bed at a time until the battery dies. I get my one half tilled and amended with soil that I purchased because my compost isn't ready.

I plug the battery back in and head to Home Depot to purchase more fencing materials to keep out the Bastard Groundhogs. I am looking around at prices, and I think to myself damn, 30 of these poles is going to cost me $100. Plus the compost and poo-in-a-bag that I need to purchase to amend the rest of the beds. Add in another $15.

Did I mention that we are fighting ants this year? All of a sudden, out of nowhere, we have these tiny little black ants. I don't get it. I have a clean house. Like, a really clean house. People who don't know we have 3 cats always say, but your house is so clean! Im like, yeah, I know, I'm weird. So why the hell do we have ants?!?! I purchase a bottle of bug pray for the house, $11.

I am idiot because this year I am keeping track of all my expenses for the garden and chickens, and would you like to know the grand total?!?!  $673.93

I know I cannot be the only out there who is going, seriously?! Nearly 3/4 of 1000 dollars? Are you kidding me? Before the tomatoes have even gone in the ground?! You've got to be fricking joking.

Would you like to know the cost to join a seriously awesome CSA for the entire season??? $550. That's it. Less than I have spent on my garden before my plants have even seen a whole week of real sunlight.

So obviously, I am having one of those "What the hell am I doing?!" days. What is the point of spending all this money on groundhog defense, chicken prisons, bug sprays, grass seed, chicken feed, vegetable seeds, soil amendments, etc??? Am I seriously pretending I am actually making a difference by growing only a fraction of our food while still supporting the Big Man by making all of those supporting purchases at big box stores? Doesn't it all seem rather stupid?

For all of the money I have spent on making a garden, I could have a super awesome privacy fence so I don't have to see my neighbor's nasty weeds, and I could have a place for the chickens to roam and eat grass and not be in a prison. And I could still get locally grown produce and dairy from people who know what they are doing.

So, what is the point of all of this? Seriously....

AND  I must have had all of this written on my face as I was pacing the store thinking "am I nuts?!" because every single store employee asked me if I was ok... Uh, I guess I am ok... Just having a reality check...

So other than the ants and the Bastard Groundhog, we also have bees and mice in our garage... Both of which I am NOT excited about...

And look, if you are going to leave nasty comments and kick me while I'm down, I just won't publish them. I am only looking for words of encouragement here folks....


We Have Grass!!!

Ok, so this winter really screwed with our yarden. The snow, the melts, the rain, the snow, the melts, the rain, so on and so forth really took its toll. Not to mention the fact that chickens really like to dig and scratch in mud. To put it in really simple terms, we had a giant mud pit on our hands. And as one of my dear blogging friends like to say, when it rains it turns to poop soup.

We debated... Mulch, grass, gravel... Mulch is expensive, and eventually turns into dirt. Gravel is also expensive and we can't walk barefoot on it (comfortably at least.) So, back to grass it was. I took almost an entire day raking out and shoveling out rocks, tilling and raking the yarden level again (chickens are really intrigued by the idea of digging to China apparently) laying seed (with Husband's help) and laying out straw. Move forward several weeks, maybe a month or two, and LOTS of hand watering later (yes, hand watering the grass... because why else do we have rain barrels???) we have grass again.


My Beasty Car

Ok, so, I am trying to drive less, be green, etc... But I love my car. 2002 Honda CRV to be exact. It gets horrible gas mileage, can't tow anything, but it is a strong little beast. It can take the snow like nobody's business. It is big enough to carry what I need, and small enough to parallel park in the city. It has hauled home bricks, chicken feed, yarden materials, animals to an from the vet, and other various deeds.

And now it is sick. I am sure it is nothing the mechanic and several zeroes with of dollars can't handle. But it still makes me sad a little. As much as I can't wait for my graduation present (a sweet truck with real hauling capabilities and better mileage than my suv believe it or not) I still love my little beast.


Gorgeous Weather!

Today is NICE. Like, could be out sunning myself in the yarden nice. But instead I found my joy hanging up laundry on the line for the first time this year. I love the smell of clothes right out of the washer. This round of laundry soap, I made peppermint. It smells so good!

Not only do I think the clothes smell good, but so do the bees. I had a standoff with a giant bumble bee over clothes line property rights. I got my clothes hung, but he is still out there, hovering, waiting for me to come back out so he can fly around my head and freak me out some more. Bastard.

Anyways, back to this weather. Despite the awesomeness of today, the forecast is kind of icky. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are all forecast to be below 60. Bleh.

Oh well, I am going to soak in the rays and dry my laundry without using any precious and expensive electricity.

PS - I see that everyone loves "yarden" so I decided to be goofy and make the Yarden a Facebook Page. If you want to see daily stuff, random chicken and cat pics, and garden stuff that doesn't make the blog, feel free to like me at the yarden on Facebook



First Real Workday in the Yarden

Last Weekend. Was. AWESOME.

We had a great day Saturday, great weather, and it was just awesome. We went to the market this morning in the car (we purchased a TON of groceries) and then rode our bikes to the supermarket. We got home and cleaned up the side yarden and planted 6 broccoli plants, 7 cabbages, and 22 kales. Yes, 22 kales. Kale is our favorite vegetable and we can't have enough of it in the freezer.

We also put up fencing around all the brassicas. After last year's groundhog devastation,  we are taking absolutely zero chances. We found some good fencing material on super sale at the big orange store, and felt the need to buy 3 rolls. The first roll was used for the chicken fence, the second for the side yarden, and the third will be used for fencing in the beds in back. NO CHANCES THIS YEAR YOU BASTARD GROUNDHOG!!!!

I think I also got a little sunburned. My face was red and so were my arms, I was cold and tired, but I totally don't even care. I love it. It's about dang time we had some nice weather!

Side Yarden and Fence

The only Broccoli plant worth photographing so far....

7 cabbages

22 kales!


Walk About The Yarden

I figured since my blogging as of late hasn't really been about the garden, and this is after all a blog about gardening, that you deserved to see pictures of my yarden.

Everything is coming along really REALLY well this year. Perhaps my lack of attention to the yarden is what is helping. Anyways, here are the pictures! We are going to go front to back....
Remember what the front yard looked like 2 years ago???

This is now! The yard is really coming to life. The hydrangeas are getting huge, the cherry tree is full of blossoms (I am really hopeful for fruit this year!) and even though they haven't come up quite yet, the hostas are really big too...

My front yarden tulips. I just freaking LOVE this purple color!

Cherry blossoms!

Side yarden... This weekend, this entire thing (the whole length of our house) will be planted with kale and cabbages. No tomatoes here this year, as last year they all ended up with late blight.

Last year I planted 3 blueberry bushes. This is the only one that survived. I am debating putting it in a really big pot and putting another hydrangea in this corner, but I just really don't know. I would like to have more fruit, so I am just undecided on this little corner. It is right by the front steps and is about 4ft x 4 ft. Any thoughts???
I am really liking the shape my rosebush is finally taking on. I don't know squat about roses, so I hack the thing to pieces every year trying to get it to grow wide along the side of the house, and skinny the other way so it doesn't take over the driveway. It is finally starting to listen to me!
We re potted the herbs... The chickens dug of my chives, so those have to be started over, and my 2 rosemary plants died (yet again) so I will have to buy new ones. I also have some more herbs upstairs to go in pots. All in all, we will have 6 smaller pots of herbs and the one larger pot is lavender.
Ok, so you have seen this picture before. I just wanted you to remember the mud pit that was the back yard.....

Because the grass is finally growing in!!! All be it a little patchy, I don't care. I can seed again. But I am just happy that I wont be walking through poop soup every time it rains.

The girls REALLY want to get out of their chicken jail and eat some grass... All in due time my little lovies, all in due time.

The peas are growing really well. We did have better coverage, but uh, chicken escapees dug up and ate about half of them. For as much as I love having chickens, I hate them sometimes too...

The garlic is also growing really great! Only 2 kinds this year, both hardneck varieties... One for sure I know is German Extra Hardy (the darker green) and I forget the other one.... Oh well, they will still taste great!

How is your garden doing this Spring?


Those Who Dwell in My Basement

This is Charlotte, the cutest schizo cat you will ever see.
A rare shot of her face... I am sure I had the camera on super zoom because there is no way she would let me get this close.
Watching TV
Charlotte is a basement dweller. Well, really, she is a "I will go anywhere you are not" kind of cat. We have had her for 3 years, and she still thinks we are going to kill her.

Anyways, Charlotte is a great hunter. She must get that from Punkin (who only goes in the basement to hide from me when she thinks its time to scare me half to death because I can't find her).

So yeah, this time of year, Charlotte's main choice of hunting subjects is snakes. We have found dead snakes in the basement and in the cat food and in the storage room every spring since we got the little nut. The snakes aren't big, maybe 10-12 inches long, no bigger around than a pencil. The must get in from underneath the front porch (yes, my basement is under my porch) because that area of the basement is not very sealed at all. Yeah, I know, we need to work on that.

I guess my point is, I am thankful that the snakes have no apparent food source (ie little bugs, mice, or other little annoying things) and I am thankful that I have a cat that find pleasure in killing them. I just hope Punkin doesn't catch on, because that will mean bringing me dead snake presents in the middle of the night.