Photo: Great grandparents at their farm in Blandinsville, IL, with five of their six children .. my grandpa was yet a twinkle in grandma's eye. Stable boy and governess also pictured. Hodges farm, circa 1903-4

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Yard Clean-Up Day

Sometimes I think it would be nice to have more property ... but after a long workday such as hubby and I had today ... our 1.9 acres is plenty.  Most of the landscape is natural.  Our homestead is carved out of a nice little forest spot.  Being natural .. does not mean less work.  We had to clear brush (noxious weeds) today along the driveway.  Our neighbor has the start of a big burn pile .. so we heaped some of the debris on his pile.  Last year he said it was fine with him ... so we just added to his heap this year.  The rest of the weeds piled up will get burned Tues. and Wed. if the nice weather holds out.  It's grueling work  ... but now the property is starting to look spruced up.  Tomorrow we'll be at it again cleaning up another section.  I gave our front flower beds a good once over trimming dead growth from last season.  Soon the lawn will need to be aerated and de-thatched; for this job, I'll hire someone with the right equipment.  Our sprinkler system will be recharged at the end of the month. 

The veggie gardens are 3/4 finished with all of the prep work.  Hubby shoveled a third truckload of compost yesterday.  This should be enough to give some good balance to our otherwise clay soil.  The topsoil was removed in this particular area when our lot was graded prior to building our home. 

I'm checking into making a small-medium sized adobe type oven for the backyard.  Always something to investigate ... but the idea of having an outside oven for bread baking is stirring in my brain;)


Unknown said...

I just discovered your blog and I love it.
We are trying to be pare down, but it's hard. We are learning, slowly but surely.


I had cruddy, clay soil in Bakersfield, CA (zone 9). I would like to recommend using Amend or rice hulls to your soil. I use that along with peat moss and sand and have really come up with some healthy soil.

Prior to amending my clay soil, I broke so many garden tool handles.

Good luck.

LynnS said...

Mrs. Mac, might I recommend Greensand as a soil amendment for your hard clay? Greensand is an amendment and a gentle fertilizer (0-0-3) with lots of trace minerals (it's mined from ocean floors).

Isn't it wonderful to be outside working the garden?! Finally, Spring is here!

PS We're looking into an outdoor cob-style oven, too. With so much wood around, it makes no sense to buy charcoal just to cook outside, does it? Will you use regional clay, make your own clay, or use concrete?

Mrs. Mac said...

Lynn ... if I dig deep enough, I have nice clay :) that needs some sand mixed with it. Our garden soil is turning out rather nice this year. It (one of my gardens) is the only spot that has the clay in abundance due to grading. Two years ago I double dug the area and buried a lot of wood to decompose so that helped. Thanks for the tips ladies on the soil amendments.

Mr. H. said...

This time of year does bring a sense of urgency to get the garden ready doesn't it. I am surprised to hear that you have clay soil up there on the hill, we don't...interesting. oerhaps it is because they removed some of the top soil when building.

Troy said...

I never even considered how using an outdoor oven may make it much more enjoyable to bake bead all summer.

I love homemade bread, but the last thing anyone wants to do when it is 100 degrees outside is fire up their oven and heat up the house.

What a great idea!

Pat said...

Sara and I were just talking about building a pizza/bread oven in her back yard...that's probably all it will be is talk, but how nice it would be!