Trees trimmed, messy limbs and more flowers

March 31, 2015

I asked Idaho power to trim a few trees that were growing around my power line. Trimming the trees is a free service and it helps the power guys prevent a few outages. Of course now I have to clean up the limbs in the yard, but overall it is a great deal. I was very surprised by how much more sunlight in that part of the yard now that the trees are trimmed back. I still need to prune the trees but I no longer need to worry about playing with power lines! I also get to add some free hardwood to the wood pile.  Getting the wood pile squared away this summer is going to be a big job and this year I will have to pay to have for the wood.  Things should work out because I pay off the wood stove the “loan payment” can be shifted to buying wood.

Fred Meyer’s is having a great sale on flowers so I picked up some more pansies and marigolds to put in  the front yard beds. I hope I can get a few more pansies and some seed geraniums for the back yard flower beds. While I love the idea of an edible garden in the front yard having some pretty little flowers add color and just make me feel good!  Once we get past the frost threat I want to plant a mix of the pansies and marigolds in the front yard by the sidewalk area.  I  hope that the mulch will help choke out the morning glory and the marigold and pansies will establish themselves in soil to replace the morning glory.  So far it looks like the  mulch is deep enough to starve the weeds of sunlight.

I have some new grass growing in the bare section of the front yard. I am still learning about the proper mix of mulch,  compost and fertilizer. The soil in this corner is depleted of the good stuff so it will take some time to build it up.  I suppose it is the bane of every gardener to have to wait and see how things work out.  Building a good soil naturally is not a quick process it takes time to repair damage.   I have an idea of a “mini orchard” using dwarf fruit trees in the front lawn area. What I want to do is have one of those “cocktail” trees in the center and then place various dwarf fruit trees around the center tree for cross-pollination via the central tree. I have no idea if this idea can work.  If it could work, a person could “theoretically” have a mini-orchard of several different dwarf fruit trees in a 20 feet by 20 feet area.  I’m still gathering information and working on the basic layout but I think the idea has potential.

If you are urban or suburban type homesteader/prepper/survivalist and want to grow your own food you should look at going vertical and dwarf fruit trees might be a good option as most HOA/covenants don’t seem to cover trees and shrubs. Adding in a few dwarf fruit trees in the front yard might be doable and keep the local busybodies off your back.  I have no idea what “hill” you are willing to die on nor how much effort you are willing to put into fighting for your property rights.  Sometimes it you can fight and sometimes it is best to not play the game, grab your ball and find a new place. Only you can make that decision.

No I don’t think you need to waste your energy or money fighting the system, unless you want too. It’s a big country and you can move wherever you want at any time if you are willing to pay your way. Heck, The pioneers did it back in the 1800’s often all they had was a small wagon, wheel barrow and a dream.

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I got a start on cleaning up the front lawn and working on the basic gardening layout

March 29, 2015

Oh my gosh! I am sore and tired, but I got a lot done on the front yard.  I have to do my work in sections. This weekend’s  job was cleaning up half of the front yard, aerating the soil,  adding fertilizer, new grass seed and wood mulching one rose bed.  When I started adding wood mulch last year I was mostly interested in killing weeds and making the raised bed garden area look nice.  I was amazed by how much water was retained by my back yard even in areas that did not have mulch. Adding mulch in sections can have a huge impact on yard and garden water usage, though I don’t care for the “rubber” mulch as it does not add nutrients to the soil. Since my soil is compacted clay adding any natural material from sand to straw and wood chips will help nourish the soil as start loosening the clay so the bugs and stuff can do their magic.

Aerating the soil via the hand tool sucks, but is doable especially in sections. If you need to do a good size yard I recommend you go to a tool rental place and get a tool that will do the whole yard in less than a day. Unless working hard at poking holes in dirt is your idea of fun, aerating a good size lawn is a lot of tedious work!  I de-thatch the lawn though from what I have read doing it spring is contra-indicated and fall is a better time to de-thatch a healthy lawn. My lawn is not healthy so I figure I might as well try to save it via de-thatching and adding grass seed in hopes I can save it! Unless your lawn is really bad, a garden rake might be a better choice in spring time.

I added more grass seed and the weed & feed to the lawn via one of those little hand spreaders. My hands lack of strength and coordination that little spreader is very difficult to use on anything but a small job. Thankfully the local True Value store had a rolling spreader on sale for only $35.00.  I figure it will save a lot of my physical energy and effort improving the soil in the future.  I think and Mom agrees the finished section of front yard looks much better/cleaner and even the grass seem to have perked up in the last couple of days.  I planted the peas and have the seeds for the front garden beds ready to go  for cold weather plants Monday.  My aunt “G” is a gardening “godess” and she says she was impressed by how good my yard and garden beds are starting to look.  She knows how much work goes into soil repair as well as upkeep.

I finally got a batch of beer made instead of just thinking about it.  Jumping over the pekes in the kitchen,  waiting for snacks/dinner added a bit to the challenge.  Overall it is good to see the old dogs with a good appetite even though they can be underfoot.  I picked up some pork  country style ribs and a nice pork rib roast at Pauls.  Albertsons has some very good buys till Tuesday on Hamberger 73%/23% for $2.49 per pound sold in 3 pound chubs. 21/25 count shrimp for $6.99 per pound , Bacon for $2.99 per pound bought in a 3 pound pack. A few other processed/ dehydrated foods are quite cheap and you should get the circular before you go shopping. I think the Idaho brand flavored potatoes are quite good tasting and four serving for 25 cents is a a steal. These potatoes will work great for camping or add a major break/food fatigue via eating  “bulk rice& beans” every meal. I can say after a hard days work you won’t want to wait for even the 10 minutes to cook pasta never mind rice or beans. These dehydrated potato paks only requre boiling water and sit 2 minutes no heat after the mix is added to water.

I think it is great than many people want “real food”. But MRE’s are just chock full of preservative and chemicals and probably worse compared to an off the shelf product at your local mega-mart.  If you are storing MRE’s for a disaster, that is fine but you sure as heck aren’t going natural or Organic. Since you are not doing either of those things you might as well buy dehydrated potatoes when they are on sale!