We have traded in our hiking boots (just for a short time) for hammer and nail, spade and rake, the thoughts of Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, trekking through the mountains with birdsong all around, making us feel a bit nostalgic. Don’t get me wrong, seeing what we have accomplished in three short weeks at Terry’s parents’ home (some days my body feels like it’s been much longer), gives us a great sense of satisfaction but we sure miss the crisp mountain air and communing with Mother Nature.
As we look around, the list of projects is long and the dangers associated with them real for two who wouldn’t win any awards for being handy. What we lack in finesse, we make up for with determination and Terry has discovered a new-found love for power tools. Just give me a wheelbarrow, a spade, and an occasional pitchfork, and I can do some damage!
Getting down and dirty
One of our initial projects, before tackling the weed-choked flower beds and prepping the back yard for a rather large garden (with dreams of fresh veggies dancing in our heads), was to install slow-rise day/night roller shades in our RV. For those who have ever dealt with the pleated day/night blinds and restringing them, God forbid, the smooth, clean lines of these roller shades were a joy I could barely contain. The worst part of installation was the tight fit in getting the valances off to install these little beauties. Surprisingly, there were no expletives shouted during this project, well, maybe one when I received a puncture wound to the hand by an errant screw. And when the sun is shining (and I’m told it does in Ohio), these shades are worth every penny.
From accordion-pleated shades…
…to sleek elegance!
From here we moved to the outside to begin checking off the long list of projects needing to be done to get Terry’s parents’ yard into shape. Prepping the garden bed was the first order of business, and when we began to feel the move from nomadic hikers to farmers. We are experimenting with raised-row gardening this year after I stumbled upon Jim and Mary’s blog. Fingers crossed that something grows as I don’t think I’ve convinced the folks yet that a rototiller is not needed in a garden. The word ‘interesting’ keeps popping up in their vocabulary when they see yet something else that I have done with the garden. I believe this translates to”are you nuts” or “this doesn’t have a prayer of working”!
Laying down straw to choke out the weeds
The joy of recycling is very real to me and there is plenty of that to be done here, as I don’t believe Terry’s dad has ever thrown anything out, always feeling there may be a use for a stray board or piece of twine. This is clear when you peer into his barn…scary. The largest project on the list is cleaning out this barn and we have already reclaimed wood to make raised strawberry beds and a compost bin so we are slowly making a dent in this clutter. We are finding the challenge of using what we have on hand here to be rather fun (yes, we are a bit odd!).
The purchase of two 275-gallon totes for watering the garden was a great find and recommended on the Old World Garden Farm site. We have had enough rain to fill them and another 50-gallon drum and we’re considering building an ark next as we listen to the steady downpour of rain on our roof!
Plenty of rainwater for the garden
Cutting down a few overgrown, dead and dying trees was also on the list and a job best left for professionals. One rather large silver maple, removed from the center of the circular drive, will hopefully allow for easier access into and out of our RV pad, once the driveway is enlarged. Getting into our space initially was not pretty…ok, it was downright ugly! The driveway will need to be enlarged if we are ever going to get our little home out of here.
Widening the circle for an easier getaway!
The tree trimmers used their wood chipper once the trees were felled and we then used the resulting chips to add a nice finish to the flower beds and ground around the blackberry bushes…ahh, symbiosis at work!
Nice clean finish to a once weed-choked bed
As we look around at what is taking shape in the yard, it has not been without its dangers. Typically there are several knocks to the head for Terry (don’t know why this is always the target). A gash to the head for him, as I realized upon lifting a water tote off the truck that “hey, these are heavier than I thought”, many cuts and scrapes along the way, and two bruised knees for me. Ok, in the interest of full disclosure, those were a result of me making a less than graceful entrance into the folks’ kitchen on a hardwood floor. At least we have kept all our fingers and toes, not for lack of trying on my mother-in-law’s part, I muse, as I sit in a flower bed pulling weeds, with her wielding a hoe within inches of me. Mental note: hide the sharp objects from two who feel the need to work right alongside the kids, a topic that has been discussed with them already, and will be brought up again many more times, we’re sure (sigh).
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