Monday, February 20, 2006

No picture today but a little story about this weekend's gardening efforts. This may seem like an odd weekend to start gardening since overnight temperatures here were in the -15C range, but I'm quite convinced that spring is going to be here before too much long. Given that I know nothing about the weather patterns out here, I'm taking my cue from nature; the daffodils and tulips are pushing their way through the leaf mulch and the Bluebirds have been hanging out on top of the nesting box so that's good enough for me. Strangely it wasn't too bad being outside, I found that so long as I wore two pairs of gardening gloves, two jumpers, my coat, a scarf and a hat the cold didn't bother me at all.

The garden project, like the house project, starts with the removal of tacky and tasteless relics of the former owners. And, just like the house, there have been some real gems. We got rid of the playset and Wendy House (picture in August posts) for real live money at the beginning of winter and that dramatically improved the tenor of the garden. But there were, of course, more items that needed to be gone. The first was the plastic arbor (picture also in August posts) it would squeak in the wind and white plastic sticks out like a sore thumb in the garden.

The second set of items that needed to be removed were random concrete articles. We found pavers buried under leaves, bricks buried under leaves, pavers tossed to the back of the lot in the hopes that they would decompose and disappear, but our absolute favourites were the massively over engineered washing line anchors. We knew that there was one right next to the stairs to the backgarden. Up until the big windstorm in the middle of January I had used it to hang the bird feeders so the cats could count Chicakdees and participate in the Backyard Bird Study. But then there was this windstorm, which snapped the old metal pole off at the base, leaving a lovely rusted and jagged edge poking up just above the soil. So, while I pulled the arbor out, Toby started to excavate. One spade, two people, two crowbars and several bricks later we finally got the thing out - it was anchored by two composite/concrete circles both about 8" thick and 12" across. Elated, we loaded it into the trailer and got ready to go to the dump, but then Toby said "If it's a washing line anchor, won't there be another end?" So we walked in a straight line from the first one to the odd patch of dirt where nothing grows five feet away and started to dig. It didn't take long before the spade went "clink" and Toby began to use colourful language. This one was much worse, it's metally nub was anchored by a foot long/deep cone of concrete composite in solid clay. We did get it out eventually, but up until that moment I had no idea you could actually sweat when the temperature's below zero.

I was feeling a great sense of accomplishment after we dropped the debris off at the dump...until this morning. Tywyn and I decided to do some more gardening this morning and since Toby's speaking at a conference today, we chose to rake leaves and see what exactly's growing in the mysterious beds at the back of the garden. Plus Tywyn gets plum puppy-happy when there are piles of leaves to run through at full tilt. So, we were both happy - me discovering daffodils and Tywyn running through my leaf piles - until I felt my rake hit something solid in the big corner bed. I raked some more and scrapped off a layer of debris only to discover more concrete pavers. These ones are special though, some one actually took the time to 'faux-bois' them so they're meant to look like tree stumps, albeit very, very flat tree stumps. For the time being they are still in the ground, I don't want to deny Toby the thrill of seeing them in situ.

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