Garden Work

I had to take some time off from blogging. The garden work became so heavy there was no time to blog. I finally got the garden completely planted last week.

Week before last my husband was off and he used a scoop on his tractor to get mulch into the back of the garden between the beds. Since the tractor could only deliver the mulch to the back garden gate, he also came up with the brilliant idea of putting the mulch on a tarp and dragging it to where it needed to be placed, rather than raking it over large areas between the beds. What would normally have taken days, took about two hours.

Here are the cleaned off beds with mulch. A thin veil of weeds is already growing over them….sigh.

Mulched Beds

Mulched Beds

I planted a melon patch in the back of the garden and placed straw between the hills to keep down the weeds.

Melon Bed

Melon Bed

Into each melon bed hole, I placed fertilizer, mushroom compost, and a handful of alfalfa from a bed where it grows in the garden. Just a small amount of the alfalfa in holes where you are planting is supposed to give the plants a boost. We shall see:)

Alfalfa growing in bed.

Alfalfa growing in bed.

Tomorrow, I will share with you what the rest of the garden looks like. The plants in the straw bales are growing really well.

For today, my work is to weed the corn patch in the back fence. The weeds grew extremely tall while I was working on the rest of the garden… so tall… you can hardly see the corn. Hopefully tomorrow I will have a picture of a weed free corn patch…

maybe…

Weeds in corn patch

Weeds in corn patch

Another view.

Another view.

One last view… I planted two fruit trees next to the fence. One is a yellow delicious apple and one is a plum. Both need other trees to cross pollinate. We already had a Stamen Winesap apple tree, and there are wild plum trees growing near the garden, so pollination is covered. I have a stake where I want to plant a cherry tree in the fall. I couldn’t find one this spring.

Trees next to fence.

Trees next to fence. The asparagus bed really stands out here.

I would be excited to hear how your gardens are growing. Have you planted anything unusual this year?

“The Lord will complete that which concerneth me…” Psalm 138:8a

 

 

Yearly Maintenance

I am trying to keep up with yearly tasks to make life easier. I am working toward having forethought and planning strategies to work on my flower beds when the weeds are just starting, instead of letting them take over.

I recently purchased “Character Cards” and this process comes under the heading of “Initiative vs. Unresponsiveness.” The card reads, “Recognizing and doing what needs to be done before I am asked to do it.”… or in my case before the weeds take over.:)

The character card gives this fact: “The older whistling swan shows initiative by taking the lead in a flock’s ‘V’ formation. As other swans follow the leader’s example and take turns breaking the wind, a flock is able to fly 30 percent farther than if each swan flew alone.

So… Friday, I worked on my front flower bed. The grass and weeds had begun to grow under and over the faux, rubber, mulch border.

Grass and weeds growing over the faux mulch border.

Grass and weeds growing over the faux mulch border.

I removed the border and chopped out all weeds. I also skimmed down a hill in the middle, and made the curve of the border smoother, so that it will be easier to mow.

Border removed and weeds chopped out.

Border removed and weeds chopped out.

I replaced the border and added fresh mulch.

Border replaced and fresh mulch applied.

Border replaced and fresh mulch applied.

One down, four more areas to go.

“But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” Job 32:8

 

Home-Making (The Husband’s Part cont.)

This is a book written in 1882 about how to make a home. All are involved, the husband, wife, and children...in home-making. I will be telling you more about this book later.

This is a book written in 1882 about how to make a home.

Today, I will finish this piece about a husband’s role in homemaking, with excerpts from the The Husband’s Part” chapter of this book, written in 1882, by J.R. Miller.

“The trouble is that men fall into free and careless habits at home. They are not so in society; they are gentle to other women. They pride themselves on their thoughtfulness. They are careful not even by tone or look to hurt a sensitive spirit. But at home too often they are rude, careless in speech and heedless of the effect of their words and actions. They blurt out in their own houses the ill-humor they have suppressed all day on the street. They answer proper questions in an irritated  tone. They speak impatiently on the slightest provocation. They are sullen, morose and unsocial. They forget that their own wives are women with gentle spirits, easily hurt. A man thinks that because a woman is his wife she should understand him, that she should know that he loves her even if he is rude to her, that she should not mind anything he says or does, even if it is something that would sorely hurt or offend any other woman.

There never was a falser premise than this. Just because she is his wife he owes her the loftiest courtesy that is in his nature to pay. There is no other woman in all the world that feels so keenly the sting of sharp or thoughtless words from his lips as his own wife, and there is no other of whose feelings he should be so careful and whom he should so grieve to hurt. No other has the claim upon his thoughtfulness and affection that she has. Love gives no license for rudeness or incivility to the one who is loved. The closer the relationship, the more are hearts pained by any look, tone, gesture or word that tells of bitterness or even of thoughtlessness.

But it is not enough that men be not bitter against their wives. The mere absence of a fault or vice is not a virtue. Silence is no doubt better than bitterness. Even stateliness, though cold as a marble statue, is possibly better than rudeness. A garden without weeds, though having neither plant nor flower, is better than a patch of weeds; but a garden beautiful and fragrant with flowers is better still.” (pp. 39-40)

“Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:3

Tomorrow begins excerpts from the chapter entitled “The Wife’s Part.”

Therapy

The garden has been a mess since the end of summer. I had been waiting for colder weather to kill back the weeds and now the time has come for me to get to work.

This weekend, I spent Friday and Saturday working on the side of the garden next to the fence.

I tried growing green beans and lima beans in this area during the summer, but the weeds and bermuda grass took over so quickly the results were very poor. From now on the only things that I will grow outside of my raised beds will be corn and melons.

In this side area next to the fence. I plan to place landscape fabric down, and add oak mulch to keep it weed free. I want to find some interesting containers to place here, that I can grow vegetables in but will allow me to maintain control of weeds more easily.

Here is what the mess looked like before.

Weeds growing beside of fence and covering fence.

Weeds growing beside of fence and covering fence.

Close-up of matted weeds.

Close-up of matted weeds.

After the use of mattock, rake, tiller, and sweat… here is the after picture.

After

After

Another view.

Another view.

I was able to get the weeds off the fence and the first row of beds cleaned off on that side. There is still so much work to do, but I have all winter to get it done.

I love to be outside working. It clears the mind and is the best therapy I can think of for dealing with stressful situations. It allows you time to envision and dream of having a “Martha Stewart” (perfect) garden and hope for a New Year of better things. My dad always says, “Working in the garden will cure what ails you!” 🙂

What do you use for therapy?

“Behold, I will bring it (a city) health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.” Jeremiah 33:6

Cleaning Up For Fall And Winter

I used the very last of my mulch last week, and I am ready for more. The last project to receive mulch was the beginning of the grapevine area which was weedy and grass was growing in and beginning to take over.

Weedy grapevine area.

Weedy grapevine area.

I tilled the grass and raked it out, then scraped enough mulch up to add to this area.

Grapevines weeded and mulched.

Grapevines weeded and mulched.

After the grapevines were pruned back the area looked much better.

Here is another view from the corner of the fence looking down the row of daylilies that I had posted a few days ago.

Another view.

Another view.

Next week I move inside the fence and will work on a row of raised beds per day.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

Remember to change your clocks this weekend!

Seasons

Crepe Myrtle shrub in bloom.

Crepe Myrtle shrub in bloom.

There isn’t much going on in the garden right now. I am enjoying the end of summer flowers, such as the crepe myrtle shrub in my front flower bed. The marigolds are still blooming beautifully too. The winter garden has been planted.

I am in the process of doing some fall house cleaning this week. After the weather cools down a little more, I will do some garden cleaning. I struggled all summer trying to keep the weeds pulled out of the garden, without success. The cold days and frost will kill them off and they will be much easier to remove.

It is so weird how we struggle against the seasons, yet if we wait, the work becomes easier. I think that is so of the seasons of life too. Things look really hard at certain points of our lives, but if we wait, and persevere, those hard seasons will pass, and our gardens will be clean.

Most of the time our struggles come from not relaxing and enjoying the season we are in. We can’t see the future, so we don’t understand that relief is right around the corner.

We must stand strong and hang in there day by day, moment by moment, and then the easier times come.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:…” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:4 (KJV)

Discouraged

Are there just some days that make you feel like… okay, I just can’t do anything today, or tomorrow, or the next day?

This time of year, I am always tired, and discouraged, and feel that I can’t do one more thing.

I have served at church, at home, and worked the garden, and it has all gotten away from me.

I have not been able to work in the garden for several weeks now for various reasons, and I dread the thought of stepping back into the weed infested area. I am especially afraid of the ticks that might be lurking in the tall overgrown grass and snakes, of course. I had so many hopes and dreams of what it should look like right now, and they have all been destroyed by lack of time, sickness, and rain, rain, rain.

Weed infested garden... sigh!

Weed infested garden… SIGH😦

And I have to think… is there any hope left?

Funny… that is what our Sunday School lesson was about this week. The lesson pointed out that, “Life can be unpredictable.” AND  “We are not always rewarded materially for doing good.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11-18)

“Solomon (the author of Ecclesiastes) focused … on ways to ‘seize the day,’ to enjoy life as much as possible rather than to be mired in depression and bitterness.” He wanted us to see that “despite life’s inequities, God has given human beings good gifts to enjoy.”

In Ecclesiastes 9:7-10, Solomon points out what we should enjoy in life.

1. Enjoy your food and drink. We have an abundance of both and should be thankful.

2. Enjoy and take care of your clothes and have good skin care regimens. Be grateful for God’s provisions to care for yourself.

3. Enjoy your spouse if you are married. Marriage is “a gift from God, and it was given to enhance the lives of husbands and wives and to provide the joyful environment for bringing children into the world.”

4. Enjoy your work.  Solomon points out that we should do our work with all our might and be grateful that we are alive to do it.

The Biblical Truth from the lesson was stated as this: “God expects His people to find satisfaction in being good stewards of the opportunities and things He provides them.”

So…today, I must, once again, take courage from God’s word, ‘pull myself up by my bootstraps’ (click here for bootstrap reference meaning), and start over at the beginning of the garden, working my way through to the end. It isn’t something I am looking forward too, especially, since even as I sit here writing, the rain has been drizzling down. It will be a wet, grungy, place to be, yet… if I want to make things better, I must trudge out there and begin.

JUST BEGIN! I don’t have to do it all today. 🙂

(The Sunday School references (quoted material) came from our class book produced by LifeWay entitled “Explore The Bible – Job, Ecclesiastes- Making Sense of Life” for Summer 2013. The lesson was entitled “Is There Any Hope?”)

Fish Pond Update

We are in the process of putting in a fish pond. I wanted to buy fish while my niece and nephew were visiting, so we quickly dug a hole and placed the liner.

My husband dug the hole for the liner.

Hole for the liner.

My husband dug the hole for the liner then made sure it was level.

Making sure the liner is level.

Making sure the liner is level.

We added landscape fabric, before replacing the liner, to prevent problems with grass and weeds.

Landscape fabric used to prevent weeds.

Landscape fabric used to prevent weeds.

We filled the pond with water about two hours prior to buying the fish. Once we had the fish back home, we allowed the bag to float in the water for one hour to allow the water temperatures to adjust to the same degrees.

My niece and nephew picked out four fish and two water snails. I realized after I had the snails home, I probably should have waited until I had some algae growing in the pond before I bought them. I hope they can eat leftover fish food until the algae developes.

It was hard to get a clear picture of the fish due to the reflecting nature of the water, but if you can see the fish in the picture below… their names are as follows:

The big spotted one is Whopper, the smaller spotted one is Flopper (they are twins :)), the black one is Blackie, and the gold one is Blue (Don’t ask, I tried asking my niece and nephew about their choice of name for this fish, all I got was that “Hannah has a fish named Blue” and it is from some movie???)

The snails received the names Jim, and Bob, after Jim Bob Duggar, who I introduced to them by letting them watch my DVDs of Nineteen Kids and Counting.

Fish in pond.

Fish in pond.

Until I get some plants to shade the area, we are using an umbrella to provide shade.

Umbrella used for shade.

Umbrella used for shade.

I have been playing around with the landscaping, but haven’t decided on how to complete the project. I added two different kinds of gardenia, and a hibiscus plant to the area.

Gardinias and Hisbiscus.

Gardenia and Hibiscus.

I have been adding bricks to see what kind of pattern I can create. I decided after working around the pond with rocks and bricks, that it would be easier to use mulch in this area and stop the bricks above the pond.

There is still a lot of work to do to get this area landscaped, but it is a fun project. I have a solar floating lily pad, that will create a fountain effect, waiting for me at the post office for pick up today.

I hope to show you completed photos by early next week.

I have been researching the Bible every time I have a new topic to see if anything applies to it. When I researched for fish ponds, I found a verse.

“And they shall be broken in the purposes thereof, all that make sluces and ponds for fish.” Isaiah 19:10 (KJV)

(Since this is from a passage about God’s wrath toward the Egyptians, I pray my pond will be successful :))

The Saga Continues

The rain continues, the weeds keep growing, the battle rages on. On Tuesday it was dry for part of the day. The weeds had grown up in the paths once again at the back of the garden, while I had been working on the front of the garden… between rain storms.

Very tall weeds between beds.

Very tall weeds between beds.

I got out the lawnmower and weed eater and went to work.

The weeds were taller than the lawnmower... sigh!

The weeds were taller than the lawnmower… sigh…

After mowing.

After mowing.

At least I can walk through the paths without fear of stepping on a snake.

The rain is supposed to continue. This morning I plan to go work in the garden, even if it is raining.

“The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all.” Ecclesiastes 9:11 (NKJV) 

Have a great weekend as you continue your saga!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Unusual Tools For The Garden

When I am working in the garden, I use every tool I can think of that will help save me extra work later. This week I used the lawn mower and weed eater in the garden. The grass was getting really high between the raised beds. I still have a lot of weeds trying to take over the whole garden.

So….I mowed and weed-eated the paths between the beds.

Mowed and weed-eated path.

Mowed and weed-eated path.

This will prevent the grass and weeds from going to seed and making more weeds.

Today we are hoping to have more mulch delivered. My plan for today and tomorrow is to clean out all these weeds and add mulch.

What are your weekend plans?

As I end this post, I will share the life verses Grandma Dugger wrote beside her name at the book signing on Saturday.

Proverbs 3:4-6 “So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and He shall direct thy paths.”

Grandma Duggar seated between her children.

Grandma Duggar seated between her children.

Have a fun-filled weekend!