Friday, August 7, 2009

Family visit and "garden" update

My older brother came to visit on Sunday for a few days. He likes to invite himself; I arrange vacation time; he doesn't show up (well, he's done it twice: once because "I don't feel too good" and once because his car wasn't feeling too good). This time he made it! We sat on the porch and drank beer on Sunday and had pizza for dinner. We ate Thai food on Monday (not much open on the civic holiday). Then we drank our dinner on Tuesday and slept early. Wednesday we had a lovely grilled steak with home-made cole slaw and potato salad. I made a loaf of Jim Lahey's No-Knead Bread with whole wheat flour and oat bran, and we had that with balsamic vinegar and olive oil -- yum.

And he's such a helpful person! He helped me move to this house in 1999, and we exchange items (for example, my mother's portable dishwasher went from Waterloo, QC to Granby to Toronto to Stanstead, and an area rug of mine made a similar trip). My back yard is in shocking condition. The lawnmower was decomposing into the weeds, the raspberry canes are taking over in the back, I left nice clay/ceramic pots out that crumbled in the cold and ice, and I had the biggest dandelions and broad leaf weeds I've ever seen. But he brought his gas-powered weed trimmer and tackled the worst of the mess for me.

I don't have grass any more, since I let a spot of yarrow (mine is pink) take over. I still have a few strawberry plants from Manitoulin Island that are growing in the shade of the raspberry canes, and I have some lumber, so I'll be making a small (4'x4') raised bed to move them to. I'm using corner bead (cheap!) to attach some 1x6 pine planks that came from the old deck I demolished (I hate to throw stuff away -- that was in 2000, I think!).

Two years ago I had two of these Lee Valley grow bins with the strawberries coming out of every hole, and I sold or gave away about 50 more plants. But I neglected to water the bins and I got exactly one strawberry (click the image to have a look: centre left), and the plants were gone the next year...

And my asparagus did NOT get its mulching and fertilizing in the last couple of years, though the plants are mature enough to provide several meals if I treat them properly. I've used it in quiche with home-grown tomatoes and basil. They're also shaded by canes, so I'll attempt to move them too.

Naturally I didn't take a Garden: Before picture. Maybe I'll post a During one.

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