A Garden Amongst The Weeds

A Garden Amongst The Weeds

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The bang your head method of designing a new fenced garden

In Mommy Land, where I live, when all else fails, you tell a story. That's what I'm going to do tonight because the batteries died in the camera.

I am struggling along with this new vegetable garden project... The entire thing is to be built out of what I have in a pile (not much, 5 fence posts, 10 bags of concrete, tarps, a dozen or so boards of various lengths) or what I can recycle from something else. Fortunately, we live on 29 acres that was once horse pasture. Our home was built in 1898. Once, long ago there was a barn and corral. What's here now, is mostly waist high green grasses with vistas of brilliant blue bachelor buttons and sticky vetch, whose purple blossoms dangle from their tangled vines, covering a downed structure that once must have been pretty large. The main beams of the barn were hand hewn logs. When we first moved here I use to go out to visit them. Massive logs that had turned silver in the sun. My imagination makes me think the man that built all of this must have been related to Paul Bunyan. I'm a small person by most people's standards. I boast that I'm 5'4" to my daughter and she claims she's the same measurement and I'm shorter so therefore, must be shrinking. Thanks. I weigh maybe 115 lbs. That's frustrating when you consider my ambitions combined with a lack of skill and muscle. I told my husband yesterday, that if there is such a thing as reincarnation, I've revisited my plan and no longer just want to come back with big boy muscles and my gardening desire but as Hercules the Gardening Guru with double sets of arms. These fence posts are like 8 feet tall, the concrete per bag weighs 80 lbs. Somebody explain to me why, if I weigh 115 why an 80 lb bag so easily kicks my rear? And 6 of them so far, well we won't even go there.

Ok, and here's the slap your forehead moment... I followed the existing fence posts along the opposite side and (eyeballed) made my holes accordingly. 6 of them, nicely dug, 2 feet deep, tamped down. All 6 fence posts laid out, bags of concrete sitting close by, ready to be filled in. The holes are 9 feet apart...

I get this far before I realize that the fence boards that I intended to nail to the fence posts that are laying here on the ground all around me are not that long... I measured and found out that the fence boards are 8 feet long. Perfect, if you stand just so, while holding a board you only lack 6 inches on each side of reaching our destination. Freaking perfect.

Ok, so, I set this aside for fire practice and a huge pot luck for one full day and night and yesterday, it had the audacity to rain all... day... long. 

I asked David to take a walk with me today and help me to figure this out. He doesn't have a lot of time. He owns his own computer business and that's crazy busy and with all the kid stuff, time alone has been pretty scarce lately. It was a sunny day today and a lovely walk. Quiet out there, just us and the dogs. We traipsed all over the downed barn area. Discovery! Fencing, old antique, pretty wire fencing, nearly as tall as me and alot of it , all still attached to what used to be one side of a corral. Yay!

The remaining sides no longer exist. So we pulled and we tugged and we pulled some more and discovered that there's like 200 yards or more of it. Problem is, you'd have to be Hercules to detach all of it and get it rolled and onto the truck. David estimates it would weigh a couple hundred pounds all rolled up like that. I can't lift an 80 lb bag of concrete. Clearly I need help or a better method. So we came back and I thought about it for a while.

Next step, we're in the garage, dragging out rolls of chicken wire. Let the hilarity ensue! I needed assistance for this part too and have enlisted the help of my 16 year old son, Johnny again. I held my end and he walked backward 'til this long length of chicken wire stood up between us. About half as long as needed but we have two of them, so he marked the spot where he ran out of wire and I walked to the mark and he proceeded to back up, and fell in the next fence post hole! Ack! He's ok, a tad startled. He climbed out and assured me he was dirty, nothing more.

Ok, so both pieces, all of the chicken wire we have spans the length of our garden! Yay! Happy dance while Johnny looked at me like I'm a tad off my rocker. That's to be expected, he looks at me this way often. Then it dawns on me that even with all of it, we still have no way to close off the 14 ft opening at the back of the garden. Dang. After which he pointed out, that our fence posts are 8 ft tall and the chicken wire is maybe 3 ft wide, long but enough to keep the wiener dog out. We sat down on the rickety bench for a few minutes at which point I admitted that I was pretty close to tears. 18 year old boys don't do tears. He thought for a bit and I thought for a bit and we came up pretty much cutting on the crummy looking mess we could end up with. Blue tarp, green tarp, chicken wire and leaning posts.

Sigh, we have a gorgeous view of Mt. Shasta. I don't want it to look like crap! And this is not my husband's project, nor his idea. I know he'll help me but I do things on a big scale and when he measured for me today the space I created is wayyy bigger than I thought. 47 feet long by 14 ft wide. If I can figure this out and do it on my own or at least without giving him piles more to do with his busy schedule...believe me, I'm motivated. (frustrated too, but seriously want to do this!)

So, my sweet son, in order to pacify me, helped me to cement in the first post before dark. I've been brain storming all evening. I'm thinking about what wood is out there and what I may try. That thing I said before about the silvered boards, they're so pretty. I don't have any of the original ginormous beams but I couldn't lift them even with the truck if I did have them but I know there are lots of silvery, long fence boards on the property. Some really neat ones too, that have chunks missing where long ago horses chewed on them.

I also have some seriously long pieces of drift wood. If I can't make this thing rank and file, like I was struggling to do earlier today and for several of the days past, by golly I'll prettify the thing my way and just make do and make it work. I can't measure worth a hill of beans and I know it'll be wonky but I'm full of
well you know...ideas!

Like the little metal bucket that I have that I've decided to use for concrete. Even completely filled, I don't think I can hurt myself trying to lift it.

We'll see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully AA Batteries.

Blessings from this tired gardener to you, dear gardening reader.

Sweet Dreams and Happy Gardening.

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