Board Stiff

Not “bored stiff”, but “stiff as boards”. E.g. and I did some yard work this weekend.

I finished the most ambitious part of the retaining wall:

I even sprinkled a packet of “all purpose wildflower” seed over the dirt, on the off-chance that something will pop up.

E.g. built four raised beds for veggies. Here she is with the first three:

In one bed, she sowed lettuces, spinach, beets, Swiss chard, kale, and dill. For the other three beds, we’ll have to wait a month to order a truckload of topsoil.

I raked:

This is three cubic yards of what will some day be fabulous humous. I think the faded Christmas wreath gives it a nice funereal touch.

E.g. cooked all the meals. Omelette! Sausages and perogies! Curried cauliflower! Apple crisp!

I used all the bricks from the stone pile, and sifted some soil we’d saved under that tarp from the neighbours’ water main dig-up…

…and made a kitchen herb bed:

The bricks represent several different brickworks, so I placed them name-up: Chipman; Shaw; Dykehead; Empire.

E.g. spent over an hour reintroducing my camera to my computer.

I hung the bird house my mum’s dad made about thirty-five years ago:

It’s the size for a Black-capped Chickadee or Downy Woodpecker, which I’ve seen on the property, or a White- or Red-breasted Nuthatch, which I haven’t. I had to file the hole a wee bit wider, and saw off the perch; it really shouldn’t be painted, and the walls are thinner than current wisdom dictates. But I’ve been waiting for decades to be able to put up Grandad’s bird house, so here it is at last.

Among the discarded junk on City land was this old bird house. It was missing a front and most of the floor. These are the parts, disassembled:

By moving the parts around and adding one newer piece, I converted it to a platform house, in hopes of attracting American Robins or Northern Cardinals or Blue Jays, all of whom are in this neighbourhood, or Eastern Phoebes, who may not be.  Then I climbed a ladder and stuck it under the eaves of the garage, facing the City land:

It’s a bit rustic — but then, so is the garage. And it has a nice view of the wandering herdlets of deer.

24 Responses to Board Stiff

  1. The place sure is shaping up! When we were in New York our log home had exposed logs sticking out along the roofline, which made a natural platform for the birds. They were all over it, which was cool, but they sure do poop a lot. 😉

  2. Alyson says:

    I like rustic. I also like Granda’s birdhouse (they made ’em to last) and EG’s raised beds (can you send her over here to make some?). But what are perogies? Inquiring tummies want to know!

  3. lavenderbay says:

    I won’t mind bird poopies back there, James, where they won’t be visible to passersby and might even fertilize the ground a bit. It’s all good.
    About the platform bird house: I’m realizing now that there’s as great a chance that someone will decide to build their nest on its roof!

    So far, Alyson, Grandad’s bird house has lasted because it’s been an interior decoration! But I know he meant it for birds, because its floor is a trapdoor that can be easily removed for cleaning in the Autumn.
    Perogies are Slavic won tons, Eastern European raviolis, turnover-style dumplings with — around here, anyway — mixed fillings of mashed potato, cottage or cheddar cheese, and maybe onion. We buy ’em frozen and boil ’em till they float, and serve ’em with plain yogurt. After being boiled, they can also be fried in butter and served with sour cream and fried onions and bacon bits, if you’re a skinny teenager.

  4. Wow, you two were really on a roll. The place is shaping up nicely. After E.g. is done over at Alyson’s place, could you send her on here? Have you started seeds indoors?

  5. lavenderbay says:

    Sure, Barefootheart! For the raised beds, the cooking, or the computer whispering? She’ll want to know which outfit to wear. 😉
    We started a tray on the 14th. So far, the Asclepias tuberosa has duckweed-sized first leaves, the Monarda fistulosa is also breaking into teeny-tiny cotyledons, the Gaultheria procumbens is taking its time (the packet sez to expect 3-8 wks to germination), and the bell peppers are still a no-show. For some reason, I expected the veggie to be quickest out of the gate. Shows what I know.

  6. lavenderbay says:

    By the way, Alyson, I’ve just realized that I’ve agreed to lending E.g. to Barefootheart but not to you. Oops! Mind you, Barefootheart lives only two provinces away from us, while you live two oceans away. Maybe you could call up Livingisdetail and Tony for a gardening party? I understand Tony is very resourceful when it comes to picket fences.

  7. S. Le says:

    Wonderful! Raised beds are so nice. We can’t grow any veg at our place for lack of sun.

  8. lavenderbay says:

    It’s very woodsy around your house, isn’t it, S. Le? Our sunniest area is actually the strip along the driveway, but E.g. is counting on there being enough light in that one corner of the property to make the carrots and tomatoes happy.

  9. Duchess says:

    Crumbs! No wonder you are board stiff. E.g. must be even more board.

  10. lavenderbay says:

    Well, I’ll let you in on a secret, Duchess: E.g. didn’t have to saw any of the wood; the guy at the lumberyard sawed it up for her. She did, however, have to hammer 64 three-inch nails. It’s still a lot of board.

  11. Anne Gibert says:

    I am going to make Jerry build me raised beds just like yours. I feel like a lazy slug when I compare my lolling about the computer with your productive labor.

    I didn’t know birds liked platforms. I shall have to try one or two.

  12. lavenderbay says:

    Ordinarily, Anne, neither E.g. nor I would bother making raised beds, but an inch under the soil where they stand it’s all rubble. I’m hoping my diggings along the fence lines will be easier.

    Some birds are cavity nesters, and enjoy using bird houses with hole entrances; some prefer to build their own nests in trees or on the ground; and others prefer platforms: Robins, Blue Jays, Osprey… Have you room for an eight-foot-square, 30-foot-high platform in your backyard?

  13. Seabrooke says:

    Fabulous, Lavenderbay! I really hope you get some birds to your box and platform. It’s a lot of fun watching them raise their families in your yard.

    I love E.g.’s raised beds. I can’t wait to get out into our garden, but it’s still a tad early for me to be thinking of doing much ground prep. I’ve got a whole bunch of seeds to start indoors while I’m waiting. I’m impressed you’ve got so much on the go already. In fact, I’m impressed at how much work you’ve done in your yard!

  14. lavenderbay says:

    We’ve really lucked out on the disappearing snow, Seabrooke; even the neighbour on our north side still had a pile under his porch a week after ours had gone. And there’s been no rain until yesterday. But mostly, there’s so much yardwork that needs doing, that I’m inclined to do a little each day — and I guess it all adds up.
    For the bird houses, I don’t know how disturbing our presence is. Fergus likes to scatter the Juncos and Song Sparrows, but the Chickadees will swoop right over the dogs’ heads to get a sunflower seed. We’ll see!

  15. Seabrooke says:

    I doubt the bolder species will be the least put off by your and/or the dogs’ presence, LB. Last year (before we moved) we had a phoebe build a nest on our security light, right above our porch steps, and next to where Raven would spend much of her day on her tie-out when the weather was nice. Around the other side of the house, a Red-eyed Vireo was making its nest in a branch just a couple of metres from the side of the house.

    When we arrived at the new place, there was an active phoebe nest over that front door, too, plus three old, inactive robin nests in the eaves over the porch, and what I’m pretty sure is a Brown Thrasher (though maybe a Gray Catbird) nest in the grapevine climbing up the neighbouring shed.

    As you’ve observed, chickadees are pretty bold little critters. House Wrens and Tree Swallows also are. Robins and phoebes shouldn’t be too put off by your activity to consider the platform box. I’d be surprised if they got passed over, though you can never count on birds to do what you expect. 😉 Good luck, in any case!

  16. lavenderbay says:

    Thanks for the encouraging anecdotes, Seabrooke! I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

  17. livingisdetail says:

    It is looking amazing Lavenderbay! You and E.g. have done an enormous amount of work. I do hope you get some wildflowers popping up too. You are really thinking of everything. Actually,now that I have watched you structure the garden, I can’t wait to see it filling up with green. It won’t be long now!

  18. lavenderbay says:

    The “thinking of everything” part is easy, Livingisdetail — maybe too easy. There are enough resources to read through and dream about, and by the time I’m done researching, I want only two things: 1) everything, and 2) now. 😀
    We’ll see how it all goes. There’s a bit of snow on the lettuce bed this morning, but the seeds are still sleeping; so far, so good.
    Between times, I’ve made a little flower bed that circles the foot of the oak tree, ringing it with small stones, and thought particularly of you; it has sort of a fairy-ring look to it, I think.

  19. Alyson says:

    Well, I could use a picket fence and it will be snowing in summer by the time SH gets to it – but I also want some perogies.yum!

  20. lavenderbay says:

    Right then! Next time you’re making a delivery to Canberra, Tony, can you swing by Alyson’s and drop off some perogies and lumber?

  21. Tony says:

    It will look nice along the fence if the wildflower seeds come up. Nothing like having your own veggie garden. We save so much money growing our own. Yummy, all those leaves, I am a compostaholic. Sometimes I even think about continuing along the front lawn with the mower into the neighbours section of lawn just to get extra lawn clippings.

  22. lavenderbay says:

    I’m sure the neighbours won’t mind if you cut their grass, Tony! 😀 Yes, some wildflowers would certainly spruce things up. (Not sure if that means the spruces flower things up.) Store-boughten soil amendments are expensive; I’m looking forward to having our own home-made compost, not to mention fresh-picked peas and herbs.

  23. livingisdetail says:

    How lovely! An oak has to be the perfect tree for a flowerbed fairy ring LB. I bet the chickadees will love hopping amongst the flowers.

  24. lavenderbay says:

    They might, Livingisdetail; and if they can frighten off the deer, all the better! Apparently the plant I’m hoping to place there is a favourite snack of the cloven-hoofed neighbours. Still waiting for the seeds to hatch in the seedling tray… it’s all an adventure, isn’t it?

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