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Archive for July, 2012

There are many joys in community gardening. I’ve run out of fingers, toes, the fingers and toes of my family, and of my friends, to count the amazing people I’ve met since I started gardening in a community, instead of just in my own backyard.

Sometimes when I’m feeling overwhelmed, or lonely, I hop on my bike, or into my car, and head over to a Peterson Garden Project site, or one of the many other nearby community gardens, and just walk around, looking at everyone’s garden. Sometimes I’ll talk to the rare gardener there in the middle of the day, but sometimes I just like to look at the swelling zucchini, or count the pollinators, or listen to the breeze blowing through the greenery.

Community gardening also brings its hazards, of course. If your neighbor has a bug, chances are you’ll get it, too. Gossip can start to coalesce, not around “did you hear what Mary did?” so much as “oh dear lord, look at this new garden pest I just found out about—let’s look for it!

And I want to say, stop.

Not every bug in an organic garden is a pest. Not every pest will kill your plant. Not every lost plant is a disaster. Not every neighbor will take care of his plot like you would; not every lost plant is someone else’s fault (or anyone’s “fault”).

By focusing on what can go wrong, you’ll start looking for what can go wrong. I get a lot of calls asking me to look at a plant that the gardener is convinced is on the way out.

And what I find is a fundamentally healthy plant, maybe with a case of the sniffles.

Last year, I lost all the tomatoes in the 7 plots I was caring for on behalf of Peterson’s Grow2Give™ plots. Every. Tomato. Plant. I felt really bad. But in their place I planted kale and beans and herbs, and ended with a giant harvest for our food pantry partners. It was just a different harvest than the one I originally planned.

Before I started community gardening, I barely thought about pests at all.  After I started community gardening, I’ve been fascinated at the complex ecosystems that spring up where formerly there was a slab of weedy concrete.

And that includes the pests—the aphids on the corn, being assiduously farmed by ants. The blossom end rot that kills your tomato harvest. The scary wasps and hornets (which by the way, are eating the Japanese and corn worm beetles). Even the rabbits, yes alright even the rabbits, which are eating the beans, but also depositing lovely herbivore manure.

The biggest pest is not the beetle, or the larva, or even the $@($&*# rabbits. The biggest pest is the gardener who can’t see past the hazards. So chill. Stick your hands in the soil. Remember that there is no problem that can’t be mitigated. Remember that the apocalypse has not come yet, so there’s still a grocery store if one of your plants dies. Think of the pests and failures as knowledge building, not as gardening failed.

Focus on the positive, and the joy in gardening, or you’ll never go the distance.

Do you have space in a community or allotment garden? How do you handle the negativity?

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The following information is important for all pet owners to read, so i hope you will forgive this re-post from Pocket Pause.
Today’s post is a very important message to all the skin-parents out there. A friend of mine recently sent me an email warning me about using essential oils on Pocket. As i posted recently, i have blended an essential oil mixture to use on Pocket to prevent fleas, ticks and mosquitos without relying on those nasty chemical treatments. I’ve been using it with good success, as an occasional neck drip but mostly as a “rub it around on her belly and tail feathers” barrier when we go hiking. She’s had no problems, but i was also careful to dilute the essential oils i used with a lot of jojoba oil. It’s very important to remember that essential oils must ALWAYS be diluted before use, for humans and pets alike. There are a few exceptions that can be used undiluted on occasion, but as a general rule you should water down your essential oils in oil, vodka or witch hazel.
In my friend’s case, she was using a brand name treatment that is available in stores and across the internet. Please read her warning below and weigh your options carefully when choosing a flea treatment for your pet:
Be very, very careful when using essential oils on Pocket. I honestly wouldn’t recommended it at all.
I used Sentry brand “Natural Defense Flea & Tick” squeeze-on treatment, as well as the same name carpet powder. The ingredients are peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, lemon grass oil, clove oil and thyme oil.
Within one day of treating Tres, he was having severe difficulty breathing. I wondered if it was the flea treatment, but thought that it would be strange if any of those ingredients caused him harm, as I thought they were safe (which is why I used it, as opposed to a chemical treatment). Well, three vets and four days later, we finally found a vet who had seen this before and read studies on it and, yes, essential oils can be toxic to dogs and cats. Their bodies metabolize them differently than ours. Tres’ rapid breathing was caused by his body being so acidic that it was toxic from the oils. His body was trying to get lots of oxygen to help his liver and kidneys eliminate the toxins. It has been nine days and his breathing is still not quite normal. But it is better. He wouldn’t eat, he could barely walk and he sounded like he was hyperventilating. It was HORRIBLE. I would just lay in his kennel with him and sob. The vet said we are lucky that he is still alive.
The only thing we could do to treat him was wash him with dish washing detergent (4x) make sure he had plenty of clean water, high quality protein (he would barely eat though) and lots of rest. And 12 mg of Benadryl twice daily. We go to the vet next week to do blood work to see if there has been any permanent organ damage. We’re hoping and praying that there isn’t any.
I’ve called the company and they refuse to acknowledge that their product could have done this. I find that interesting, considering that I found 200 complaints about their products killing/harming dogs and cats at the Consumer Affairs website and there is a Facebook page of people with similar experiences who are gathering up in order to file a class action lawsuit against the company.
It is going to cost $400 to get our area rugs cleaned (I used the powder on them) and we’ve incurred a few hundred dollars in vet bills so far. Sentry says that they will do an investigation and “possibly” refund us for costs incurred.
PLEASE pass the word on to all of your friends and family with beloved cats and dogs. Products with essential oils are even more harmful to cats, as they clean themselves and ingest them. The best flea treatment to use is Frontline Plus.
Josh made up a new slogan for Sentry: “Works so well it kills your pet, too!” :(
Scary stuff! Please be careful when using any medication on yourself or your pets, natural or chemical. Also avoid clove oil like the plague: it is intensely volatile and dangerous even to humans if undiluted. Use it on your gums, carefully, but keep it away from the pups! Prevention is always the best policy: plant flea and mosquito preventing plants in your landscaping like pennyroyal and catmint, brush and pick over your pet often to see if fleas are even a problem and always be careful when using a new product on your pets as they may respond differently than you’d expect. I like to mix a carpet powder for home use that should be safe for everyone involved: a blend of 60% baking soda and 40% diatomaceous earth plus a few drops of essential oils for the scent. The b.s. freshens the house and the d.e. helps kill unwanted pests. I’ve also heard from a reader that you can shake salt all over your house and let it sit for a day before vacuuming…. that sounds a little messy but very safe.
Be careful out there, everybody! -Miranda & Pocket

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The husband spent last week selling Italian Ice at the Circus City Festival in Peru, Indiana (AKA “The Circus Capital of the World”).  The food vendor coordinator saw that he had one of the boys with him, so he offered free tickets for our family to see the Peru Circus.  Growing up in central Indiana, I’d heard of the Peru Circus, but had never been.  We gladly accepted the tickets!  The boys and I rushed up to Peru after work (about an hour’s drive from home) last Wednesday.

It was AMAZING!!!!!  So amazing, I forgot to take pictures!   It’s an amateur circus, totally performed by the youth of the City of Peru.  The performers ranged in age from preschoolers on up to teenagers.  There were tight rope acts, flying trapeze, juggling, unicycles, clowns, etc.  There was constant action in all 3 rings during the entire 3 hour show!  My two favorite parts were the 7 (all girl) pyramid crossing the tight rope, and the double somersault on the flying trapeze to close the show.  The boys loved the juggling, especially when they brought out the flames and swords!

The festival closed on Saturday with a parade.  The boys and I went to the parade, while good old Dad manned the Italian Ice carts!  I loved seeing the old horse drawn circus wagons.

It was so ironic to see how many Amish participated in the parade.  There is a large Amish population in northern Indiana, so I’m guessing a lot of the men bring their horses to pull the numerous wagons.  It was very strange to see the plain Amish driving the ornate circus wagons!

The unicycles and jugglers were also in the parade.  The boys liked them the most!

The most entertaining part of the parade was when the group of teenaged boy jugglers went by us… one of the boys accidentally dropped his juggling pin (is that what they’re called???!!!) in a huge pile of horse manure, picked it up, and started chasing the other guys with it!  Of course that was my boys’ favorite part:)

Have you recently been able to check out a local event you’ve always been curious about?  Did it live up to your expectations?

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We just came back from a wonderful two weeks in England. While the rest of the contributors here at Not Dabbling in Normal have been focusing on what they are finding local where they live, I decided to look at what I found local where we were traveling and mainly focusing on the local food I found.

Home Farm B&B – Full English Breakfast

We started our trip in London. Our breakfast was at the hotel every day and the girls that waited on us had no idea what I was asking when I asked where the food came from. Even revising my question didn’t help, you see, these girls were Italian and seemed to speak very little English. Dinner didn’t go any better while we were in London. The food we had was great, but the main issue was a language barrier. At the Greek restaurant, it was Greek, at the Indian restaurant it was Indian and I don’t speak either of those languages.

As we moved away from London things improved greatly in terms of being able to find out where the food was coming from.

At a local pub in Elsenham called The Crown, the waitress and I had a nice long chat about where their food came from. The sausages that I ate were from a local farm and processed by a local butcher and the potatoes were local too. My initial question was, ” does any of your food come from the area from local farmers?”  I couldn’t stop smiling as she just waved her hand and said “oh ya” and continued name where everything came from.

Elsenham – The Crown

As I sat in the Old Thatched Tavern Stratford-upon-Avon eating wonderful onion rings, I learned that the chef grew them himself. Really!? That is so wonderful !

The Old Thatch Tavern – Onion Rings

In Ebrington at the Ebrington Arms pub I learned most things on my plate were local also. Sausages, mushrooms, potatoes, cabbage, all of it.

At Home Farm Bed & Breakfast I was thrilled to learn about where the owners bought the food for the beautiful breakfast we were served. It was just around the corner at a local farm; mushrooms and all! F A N T A S T I C !

One last place worth a mention was the lunch we had a Kiftsgate Court Garden near Hidcote.  We walked around Hidcote in the morning and then headed across the street to Kiftsgate Garden for a late afternoon lunch and a walk around their beautiful gardens.  Lunch was homemade and wonderful. I had a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich with two types of chutney; Piccadilly and another sweeter chutney with apples. I went back to ask about the second chutney and chatted with the lady that made it. M A D E   I T ! It had been seasoning for 1 ½ years and was ready to serve! She showed me the ½ gallon jar she preserved it in and we had a nice talk about it. I didn’t come home with her recipe (darn it!) but I was thrilled to eat all their homemade toasted sandwich and some fresh shortbread!

Kiftsgate – toasted sandwich & shortbread

The food we ate in London was really good, but I enjoyed our meals more once we left London and I as able to find out where the food was coming from. I was very impressed with the bar tenders and the waiter/waitresses and all they knew about the food they were serving. It felt good.

Sincerely, Emily

I have been posting about our trip to England along with photos. Stop by my personal blog if you are interested. Soon to come are some of the gardens (like Kiftsgate and Hidcote) along with more castles (like Warwick and Sudeley)

You can see what else I am up to over at Sincerely, Emily. The topics are varied, as I jump around from gardening to sewing to making bread or lotion and many things in between.

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I grew up on the prairie. Our house in central Illinois was literally the last house in town when I lived there, with a cornfield across the street. We walked through it, skated on it, rode through it on combines pulling tassels off every other row. Although my personal mythology maintains that I am from Philadelphia (where I actually only lived for 9 years as a child), in fact I’m a daughter of the corn. The other day some east coast transplant was “charmed” by my midwesternisms.

Blame it on the corn.

Corn is an amazing plant. For one thing, there is no wild corn. It is possibly the most domesticated organism on the planet. Archeologists have identified domesticated corn as old as the oldest identified human settlement in the Americas, but have never found its wild parent.

I first planted corn in my backyard garden 6 years ago for the  Growing Challenge, which is to plant something new every year. (This year it’s celery.) I made the classic corn newbie mistake–having grown up in corn country I naturally planted a row of corn. However, in a small backyard, you can’t plant corn in rows. It won’t pollinate properly.

Enter the Three Sisters, which is corn, beans and squash, planted together. It is a traditional First Nations companion planting technique (planting compatible plants together), using the attributes of each plant to strengthen all three. This is the grandmother of companion planting. Some plants go well together –carrots and onions love everybody; strawberries love borage; and of course the Three Sisters. Just google “companion planting” to find examples.

Some reasons to companion plant: nutrient enrichment, pest control, mechanical. (Um, mechanical?) Back to the Three Sisters: the beans are there because they restore nitrogen to the soil. But the corn and the squash also have “mechanical” purposes– the corn stalks act as bean trellises, and the squash acts as a mulch, keeping the weeds down.

Here’s the How To:

Corn

• Make a mound, about 12 to 15” across. Corn will send out “adventitious” roots, these are roots that crow from the stalk, sideways into the soil, strengthening the plant.
• Plant seeds or starts (corn starts shouldn’t be taller than about 5”) around the ring, about a hand span apart
• When you plant corn in a raised bed or other small area, it needs to be very dense to pollinate properly.
• Corn can be planted anytime from early May to early/mid June. Best are varieties that mature in 85 to 110 days.
• Corn is ripe when the silks are very dark and a little dried-out looking. You can tell corn has been properly pollinated because the silks will turn pale pink, and then gradually a deep mahogany.

Squash

• Plant seeds or starts directly into the center of the mound. I usually plant 3, and then thin them when the plants are about 3 weeks old, to get the strongest plant.
•It’s best to plant out squash after June 10, even seeds, because late May and early June is when the squash vine borer  (SVB)moths lay their eggs.
• In small gardens, you’ll want to train your squash. In large gardens you can let it go crazy.
• Squash will be the last thing to get ripe.
• You can use summer or winter squash. If you do a summer squash make sure it’s a vining one like Patypan, not a bush one like zucchini.

Beans

• Plant pole bean seeds directly when the corn is 8” to 10” high. If you plant your beans too early, it will get taller than the corn very quickly.
• Purple beans, with purple vines, are easier to see on the green corn stalks

Variations:

• If you have SVB then you shouldn’t plant squash for two years. Use bush beans as the third sister.

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I must admit, i’m a bargain shopper and hate going to stores in person. I love Amazon, Zappos, Mod Cloth and all those lovely online storefronts. They are not exactly local, however so this week i thought i’d feature some of my favorite, LOCAL small businesses here in the Corvallis area and a few back in Austin where i hailed from prior to moving back to Oregon. In this list you’ll find farms, artisans, boutiques and supply stores, including some opportunities for shopping online AND shopping local:

Corvallis/Philomath/Willamette Valley, OR:

Stash: Knitters, spinners, crochetists  and otherwise crafty folks can find tons of supplies and inspiration at this great, new yarn shop in downtown Corvallis. Nestled in a line of other sweet shops on 3rd street, Stash is a real gem and the shop’s owner, Sonia is even shinier. Stop in and stock up on tons of stash-worthy yarns, roving, patterns and more! Stash also hosts a Stitch Night every Wednesday and a “Sit and Spin” on occasion. You can find Stash online and on Facebook.

Bellwether Wool Co: More on the fiber trend, Bellwether is MY go to supplier of batting, roving and all things fiber. The two farm company (Blakesley Creek Farm and Dayspring Farm) carries many varieties of fiber, most containing a large percentage of fiber grown by each farm, in natural to wildly dyed colors. You can find their roving at Stash and online. They’re also on Facebook.

Gathering Together Farm: Just down the road from my apartment is Gathering Together Farm. GTF has been instrumental in the local organic food movement including seed preservation and community awareness. GTF’s produce can be purchased at their farm stand, in local markets and via a CSA. If you have a chance to get your hands on their Delicata squash when it comes in season, do it! It’s the most delicious squash i’ve ever eaten. GTF is online and on Facebook.

Furniture Restoration Center of Oregon: Local craftsman, Steve Larson and his wife, Janice have been in business in downtown Philomath for 31 years. Their eye for detail and experience with wood and fine furniture has made them relied upon service providers in our small community and beyond. If you mention the FRC to anyone, they’ll immediately tell you what nice people Steve and Janice are and about how they ‘saved’ some old armoir or headboard of theirs years ago. Along with their restoration work, FRC has a small retail space with restoration supplies, hardware and even antique furniture. Stop in the next time you drive through Philomath: they’re right on Main Street at 13th St. FRC is also online and on Facebook.

Austin, TX:

Son of a Sailor: William Knopp and Jessica Tata revel in playful creation and collaboration. William is a graphic designer by trade, but has made stops along the way in the Navy, the oil fields of West Texas, and pilgrimages around the world. Jessica fancies herself a creative marketing professional with a background in art galleries and museums, photographing the world around her as she goes. Based in Austin, Texas, both continue to explore space and form through jewelry as just one of their creative outlets. Son of a Sailor is featured at Pocket Pause today as my “Friday Favorite,” read more.

Schatzelein:  Schatzelein’s mission is to bring artistically designed, thoughtfully hand-crafted, and strategically priced designer jewelry and accessories to the men and women of Austin. Owner Christine Fail personally selects designers from around the world and ensures that each piece is handcrafted by artisans in the highest quality materials, with the utmost attention to detail. Schatzelein also maintains that you do not have to sacrifice your values for affordability and always strives to have beautifully crafted pieces for every budget. You can find Schatzelein online, on Facebook and on South 1st street in Austin.

Yard Farm Austin: Do you want to grow your own food but are afraid your black thumb may foil your plans? Have Zach bring his team to your Austin area home to plan, install, plant and even maintain an edible and beautiful garden for you. Transform your yard into a yard FARM. Find Yard Farm online and on Facebook.

Along with these favorite shops, i also love Emily’s recent suggestion about using the ‘local’ search tool on Etsy. It is really great and i recently purchased some super awesome labels for my Fiber Friends from a gal just down in Oakridge. I also happen to know a swell artisanal soap maker right here in Philomath, hint hint (check out GoNudeSoap.com to buy my soap!). No shameless self promotion for me! haha.

Do you shop locally? Have a favorite shop or small business? Share your favorites with us!

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A Penny Saved….

Like most of the midwest, it has been very hot and very dry in central Indiana.  It seems like all of our friends have been going on vacation and doing all kinds of fun things, while we’ve been stuck here working nonstop!  It’s not really that bad, I guess I’ve just been feeling a little sorry for myself.  It seems like every time I check out Facebook I see more pictures of someone at the beach, at Disney World, or wherever!

Before we had kids in school, we never went on vacation in the summer.  It seems like most places are hot and miserable, and it just isn’t fun for us.  It also isn’t very practical for our work situation.  Between dog grooming, concrete, and Italian ice, all of our work is super busy during the summer months. (Not to mention it’s really hard to get away from the garden in the middle of the summer!)  It really stinks to “get away”, only to come back to an overwhelming amount of work!  The past few years we felt like we “had” to go during summer break, but this year we’ve decided to buck the system!

Every year for fall break, we head down to Gatlinburg, TN .  It’s a nice long weekend for us.  The boys have even said they’d rather go there than Disney World…  we’ve discovered they really don’t care where we go, as long as there is a pool there!

So this year, we’re planning on taking an extended fall break trip to Gatlinburg as our family vacation.  We’ve been saving our pennies, and finally had enough money saved to make our reservation!  This couldn’t have come at a better time for me.  While I would love me some palm trees right now, I’m more than happy to wait a few months to take a trip to one of our favorite places during our favorite time of year!  It’s very rewarding to have something to work toward.  The boys have been gladly doing extra chores around the house so they can save up spending money for the trip as well!

What are you saving your pennies for?  When is your favorite time to vacation?  Where is your favorite place to go?

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As I said on the 1st, local food is easy enough to come by in Chicago. I should mention that I use Joel Salatin’s definition of local– the truck that brings the goods has to be able to do the round trip in a day. For practical purposes this means about 3 to 4 hours away, or no more than 200 miles. This gives me all of northern Illinois, a good chunk of southern Wisconsin and northern Indiana and little slivers of Michigan, Iowa and Minnesota to call local. So plenty of farms in there, and lots of farmers markets, CSAs and local-savvy grocers to choose from.

Plus all the food in my backyard.

But no matter how much you swear you won’t buy a bunch of stuff for a party, you still need drinks.  Plates and napkins and cups. And of course we want to grill, so we need charcoal. A couple more chairs would not be amiss. And wouldn’t luminaries be cool.

I can make luminaries. I count resale shops as local, so I’ll start scouring them for trays, serving dishes, chairs, and other cool stuff.

As far as drinks I’m saved again because I live in a large metropolitan area that still has a local manufacturing base. I’ll probably have to buy from a national retailer, but I can get a terrific line of sodas from the WIT Beverage company, still bottled in Chicago as far as I can tell, with such brands as Jelly Belly soda (!), Goose Island Root Beer, Green River soda and more. Thank goodness for google, because while I knew about Goose Island (we’ll get some of our beer from them two, and from Two Brothers, a DuPage County brewery), I did not know that Green River, which I loved drinking as a child in Philadelphia, was a Chicago original.

Dishes and glasses are another issue. I don’t want to generate trash, which means buying glasses rather than plastic cups. Last year I got 50 glasses at the dollar store (5 for a dollar), but these are certainly made in some maquiladora or megamanufacturer in China. So, store’s not local, product’s not local. I’m still working on this one. Ditto plates–I got bamboo plates last year, but again, non-local product from a non-local shop (World Market) howsoever recylable and sustainable. Might have to relinquish my desire for matching plates and cups and head to the resale shop.

There’s another solution, but it brings up a localist conundrum. I live in Chicago, which has the world-wide corporate headquarters of Sears. Now, I can get what I need, at a good price, at Sears. Does that count as “local?” Target’s the same–they’re from Minneapolis. Not so far outside my 3 hour radius (okay, double the radius, but still). Are they “local” even though they are a world-wide entity and they only sell stuff undoubtedly made abroad?

Middle class Americans buy a lot of stuff. When you try to live locally, you start to realize how we have destroyed our local economies. I fear for a society that doesn’t even make dishes, for heaven’s sake. In the name of saving money, so that we could buy more stuff, we ruined an entire economic sector. After World War II we took the excess manufacturing capacity created by the war machine and turned those workers and those factories into the feed source of the Great Consumerist Maw that is the American Middle Class.

But now, aside from individual artisans-makers, who make very small runs, we not only don’t make junk that we don’t need, we also don’t make items for daily life that we do need–things like detergent, and pots, and t-shirts.

I’m aiming to make my party all local. My life? That’s a little harder.

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The faces behind Not Dabbling in Normal. A few months ago, Emily from Tanglewood Farm thought it would be great to do a self portrait post. Each portrait was supposed to try to capture who we are, what we are about, or some important part of our personalities.

***

****

I never let anyone take my picture. This limerick sums up my attitude perfectly:

As a beauty I am not a star
There are others more handsome by far
But my face I don’t mind it
For I am behind it
It’s the people out front that I jar

–Xan

****

I’m not a huge fan of looking at myself lately. Recently turned 30. Recently gained 30 pounds. But also: recently moved back to Oregon. This photo encapsulates some of my favorite things: gorgeous weather, the Oregon coast, my amazing dog Pocket and the photographer: my husband.

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Some of you may have read my post about the feed bags I was working on back in April over at Sincerely, Emily.  I mentioned that I was getting ready to use them on a project.

A really big mulching project to be exact. I have been thinking about mulching the whole area between the front sidewalk and the front of the house.  We don’t have “proper” grass and even when I do have to mow, it is an awkward area and it need a lot of trimming (my least favorite thing to do that never gets done.) Another thing I like about the mulch is that there is a recycling center about 20 miles from us. You can drop off your tree trimmings and the turn it into mulch. You pay a small fee ($5 a pick-up truck load to drop), but you can pick up as much mulch as you need – FREE!  How is that for local.

I really wasn’t sure what I wanted out of that area. I figured I would mulch the whole area, but what else. I finally came up with adding some crepe myrtle trees and figured that was a good start. I found the trees and got those in the ground, then I could start the mulching. Each crepe myrtle tree has a wire cage around it to protect it from the deer. It will be removed once the tree is tall enough and can’t hurt the upper branches at that point.

This is where the feed bags come in.  Last fall I planted four oleander up near the garage wall. The summer sun creeps around there late in the afternoon and I wanted something that would be drought tolerant and grow up to provide some nice shade to the garage wall. I had removed a lot of the grass over the winter, but I still knew I would lay the feed bags down before adding mulch to the entire area.

It took two full truck loads of mulch to finish this project. each load is about 2 cubic yards. would lay down a few feed bags at a time. I had to fight against the breeze. The breeze is a good thing, because it helped keep me cool (it was about 94F), but it blows the bags around, so it makes this job longer with only one person. Then I would fill a wheelbarrow full of mulch and start spreading it over the bags. I was careful not to cover the edges, because I needed to layer the bags, overlapping them or else the weeds and grasses tend to find the seems and sneak around them.

It took me a few days working in the mornings and the evening, a little at a time. I still have a small section up in the corner. There are some flat stones up there that I need help getting out of the ground so I can lay more feed bags and cover then with mulch, then I can lay the stones back down.

Eventually I will plant more deer resistant, drought tolerant and sun loving native plants in that area also. Things like Jerusalem Sage, Salvia Gregii, and other plants that both the birds and butterflies will enjoy.

For now, it is just great the way it is. I can add more this fall when it cools off, or next spring.

Sincerely, Emily

P.S.  I will be “unplugged” from technology for a few weeks. I look forward to reading your comments and will respond to each and every one of them when I am back and get back into the swing of things.

You can see what else I am up to over at Sincerely, Emily. The topics are varied, as I jump around from gardening to sewing to making bread or lotion and many things in between.

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