Project finale

There was no more delaying, and I finally got the apple tree in the ground.  I had to since Sunday it went into the bucket to re-hydrate, and Monday it needed to be planted.  Plus I had practically all day to get it done since Monday I stayed home for a dr’s appointment.   Still I wasted most of the morning, spent three hours waiting for my appointment, and only got into tree planting somewhere around 5pm.  Good thing the weather stayed nice.

planting apple tree

That’s the tree there with the little bit of yellow tape near the base.  I mulched it with a bucket of compost and then topped that with chopped leaves from the early spring bed cleanups.  I think it will do well here and it’s already made a big impression for this little corner of the yard.  The apple twig has me calling this “the orchard” now instead of “the meadow”.  This is the back part of the yard where I don’t mow until about late July or so in order for all the weedy little flowers to get a chance to bloom.  The kids enjoy it but not everyone here thinks as highly of the meadow as I do.  The annual mowing usually takes place right after some big argument over snakes and ticks and spiders.

The last thing done to finish up the tree planting was to cut down two small aspen trees.  I let weed trees (sumac and aspen) sprout up in the meadow and then “edit” them out when I get tired of them.  They’re a nice screen along the ugly chain link fence while young, but I have no plans to leave any.  A quick zip through the roots with my handy reciprocating saw and they’re gone.  I guess I could have reached for the fancy pruning saw, but (1) this one’s a power tool and (2) for the cost of the $3 blade I shamelessly cut through dirt, rocks, and roots and don’t care what I do to the blade.  Come to think of it, lots of pruning gets done with this saw.  I even use it to cut wedge divisions out of ornamental grass clumps.  Sure beats digging.

The pond is in and getting its leak test.preform pond

It still looks mighty ugly but hopefully I can blend it in somehow.  I think the shape is called natural, but there’s nothing natural about the way it sits all plastic and stiff in the hole.  But the birds don’t care,  I barely walked 15 feet to get a rake and the birds were sneaking in for a bath.  Looks like it’s going to be popular.  It’s already popular with the kids, but all they seem to want to do is throw things in.  Rocks, dirt, and tools are all fair game.

primula vulgarisAlso there’s been a death.  My daughter informed me that “Matthew” is dead at the bottom of the pool.  Don’t ask me how an earthworm  climbed the walls and got in there, but one did.

Do you like the little yellow clump of primroses blooming in the shovel danger zone?  I hope they survive since I have a bad record with these.  This is an older heirloom type given to me by a friend and promises to be a little tougher.

pistachio daffodilMy current favorite daffodil (Pistachio) is open and just about every other daffodil is just waiting for some sun ….. also the kid’s pea plantings are starting to sprout.

pea seedlingsGood thing I finally got the apple tree into the ground.  As I came up to the front door to call it a day I found the second part of my mailorder shipment.  For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to order 7 lilac bushes, a nice assortment of different colors and sizes.  Whatever I was thinking last month, looks like I have a new project this month.  Plus mulch.  Plus did I mention I ordered dahlia roots too?


How not to do a project

Garden projects are usually pretty straight forward, you got dirt and you got stuff that goes either in or on it.  Sometimes it gets elaborate with fancy structures, but for the most part we’re all just farmers scratching out a hole and putting in a seed.  This weekend was good weather for that with temperatures perfectly positioned between numb finger lows and dripping sweat highs….. good work weather, and the plan was to order mulch, top a couple beds off, and make my suburban beds sparkle with neatness and weed-free goodness.  Except the mulch wouldn’t be in until next Wednesday.  Normally that would have wrecked the weekend project,but trust me there’s always a backup, and this one came in the form of a long narrow box which greeted me at the door Friday afternoon, a box containing my NEW!”liberty” apple! and three bareroot gooseberry bushes.  New project: plant fruit garden.

I should have prepped things Friday but it was rainy and cold.  Plus I was tired, crabby, lazy…. you name it…..  better to get a good night’s rest and then tackle these things in the morning.  So first thing Saturday I got right to it.  First I wasted about an hour on the computer (always necessary).  Then those little guys that live here woke up and it was coloring and cutting, then I was required to admire about 10 thousand crayon butterflies and angry birds, then the little people started crying for breakfast.  One wanted bacon, one wanted french toast., one wanted to help crack the eggs, one insisted on buttering all the toast… then of course the fifth wave of cleanup… thousands of little bits of cut paper, but I did have to congratulate myself this time for not suggesting the paints.

Planting fruit trees always sounds easier in the books, and they never mention the crayon part.  It was about midafternoon before I finally got around to taking a look at the box… but there was still something haunting me.  Shovel in hand I stared at the stupid pre-formed pond that I dragged out of the woods last year.  It was basically a project that never worked out for my brother in law and somewhere along the line I became convinced it would work out better for me.  Early photo records go back to June of last year when I first began mowing around it. mandevilla railingGenerally speaking I hate pre-formed ponds.  I have no idea why I need to put it to use, especially since I have a brand new liner that’s been sitting in the garage just waiting for the last decade for a hole to line.  Why do I have to use this ugly, leaky piece of tossed-aside trash?  I don’t know, but I digress…. we’re planting trees here.

So I grabbed the shovel again and started digging the hole for the pond.preform pond

The first couple inches were no problem.  It’s the clay-ish topsoil that was spread when the house was built 40-ish years ago.  The gravelly, shale filled, hard pack underneath is always where my digging ends.  Rather than pick-axe my way through and finish the job, I took a break and proceeded to patch up the cracks  that had formed in three of the liner corners.  Turns out that an upside down pond insert sitting around in your yard for nearly a year is a magnet for small children to climb on and jump upon.  Jumping on them cracks the liner.  So long story short I patched the corners and started with the pick axe again, only this time with mittens because all my fingers were glued together during the patching process.

There’s a plastic chair next to the project site.  Any good project needs “thinking time” to sit back and review your progress, and I had already spent a lot of the afternoon in this position.  Things probably would have gone much better if there was more progress to review, but pick-axing holes sucks.  Plus for the past two years I’ve celebrated each spring with a nice hospital stay due to A-fib relapses, so maybe this would be a good time to call it a day.  Off to the recliner I went for more “thinking time” and to regroup for Sunday.  The tree is still in the box, but at least there were no 16 year old sons here, slipping feet off brakes and running F-250 pickup trucks into garage corners.   Spending a Sunday tree planting is much less work than the fun my neighbor will have putting the corner of his house back onto it’s foundation.