Archive for the 'Garden' Category

Sow What?

Sunday, May 29th, 2005

With all the other work that needs to be done at the Old Man, taking the time to do some gardening feels like an indulgence. Yesterday I borrowed a sod cutter and a rototiller from J. and R. (The folks who took the swingset). J. even graciously seeded some tomatoes and peppers for us–now that’s what I call a friend.

Thanks to a forecast of afternoon rain, M. and I hit the backyard at about 7:45 this morning, fully expecting to spend all day today and all of Memorial day working on the garden.

Our first task was to remove the sod in the part of the yard where we want to put the garden. Since our entire backyard is shaded by a huge 80-foot tall maple tree, we needed to put the garden near the alley about 5 feet in front of the fence so that we could make sure that it gets adequate sunlight. The sod cutter I borrowed from J. is a decidedly low-tech device and I expected it to take a few hours to clear our 5′ x 12′ vegetable garden.

Imagine my surprise when I finished in 15 minutes.

Granted, this thing isn’t cheap, but that’s not really an issue if you can borrow someone else’s! We rolled up the sod and made a trip to the local Garden Center where we picked up herbs for M.’s herb garden, then it was on to Home Depot for 600 pounds of topsoil, 80 pounds of composted manure, and 4.5 cubic feet of peat moss. I first rototilled the garden down to a depth of about 6 inches, then I top-dressed it with the manure, 1/2 the topsoil, and 1/2 the peat moss, and tilled that under until the soil was soft and squooshy.

We took the rolled up sod and resodded the dirt spots where the swingset was and where the electrician dug up the yard to run the new electrical line to the garage. We came up about 2 square feet short, but if this sod takes, the yard should look a heckuvalot better than it used to.

M. planted the tomatoes, peppers, chives, shallots, and even a few leeks while I rototilled the garden that runs along the South border of our yard. After giving it the topsoil and peat treatment, I seeded all 65 feet of the garden with a wildflower seed mix. I really hope the seed takes as I just don’t have the time (or the energy) to plant the darned thing.

Thanks to the sod cutter and the rototiller, we finished by 2:00 and were in bed for a long nap by 3:00.

Naps are so choice. If you have the time, I highly recommend taking one.

Breathe in the Air

Thursday, May 26th, 2005

No pleasure, no rapture, no exquisite sin greater… than central air.

–Azrael, Dogma

Despite the evident Biblical repercussions, M. and I have decided to get central air conditioning installed in The Old Man. After a ton of research and 4 separate quotes, we’ve decided on a vendor to install a Space Pak high velocity system. We never really considered a conventional duct system, so it came down to Space Pak or Unico system, and our chosen vendor does both, but recommended Space Pak.

Quite frankly, even after doing tons of research and asking a bunch of people which they preferred, the jury’s out on which one is better. Our nephew, S., who does HVAC for a living claims that the differences are mostly in the marketing materials. On top of that, we have several friends who have Space Pak, and they love it, so it’s obviously not a *bad* system. As long as it cools the house without sounding like a 747 is landing, I’ll consider it a success. Whatever the case, if all goes well, by the end of June, we’ll have air conditioning installed.

Where Did May Go?

Thursday, May 26th, 2005

Wow, what a month. I’ve been completely swamped and have hardly spent any time working on The Old Man.

The week before last, M. and I spent some time out in the yard: I turned over most of the garden on the South side of the yard (which is nothing but a 90 foot strip of dirt) while M. weeded the yard. We’re basically struggling to make sure the lawn doesn’t die from neglect while the rest of our neighbors seem to be competing for the cover of Home and Garden magazine. This weekend we’re hoping to pull up some sod in the back corner of the yard and get some semblance of a vegetable garden started, but that might be a little ambitious for two people with as little free time as the two of us.

The attic is coming along nicely. Last weekend M. and I managed to get the rest of the panelling and framing ripped out (and thrown out of the rear attic window). So now our attic is mostly empty except for a few hundred pounds of dust and dirt, so this weekend it’s back up there with the Shop Vac. And the Advil. Another few hours of work and we should have a relatively clean attic ready for the air conditioning installers to do their magic.