Making our beds, but not lying in them

Last weekend was so jam-packed that there was no time for the blog.  As our unseasonably warm weather was coming to an end we began to tackle the Garden Obsession.  (I should be clear that this obsession is mine, all mine.  I’ve tried my very hardest to convert the Farm WorkHorse to my fanaticism, but I think he knows that many sore muscles lie in wait, so he’s only fractionally as keen as I am.  I remind him that he’ll be pretty happy when  he’s eating the wonderful food from this garden, but so far I’m not making much headway with the full-blown conversion to the Obsession.  Very fortunately for me, he is an extremely loyal and devoted man, so he’s coming along for the ride.)

The Obsessive weekend began with a trip to Lindsay to purchase wood for the raised beds.  Since the Obsession began about 3 months ago I’ve been reading non-stop about vegetable gardening, and raised beds seem to be where it’s at.  I’m sure the WorkHorse  was delighted when this very helpful blog post via The Pioneer Woman landed in his work inbox a few weeks ago.  But it did seem to do the trick.  Armed with a plan in mind we hit the lumber yard.  Fortunately we knew it was going to be expensive, and the trip didn’t disappoint in that regard.  Logically, once you think about it, you can’t use pressure-treated lumber on vegetable beds unless you want all of those chemicals leaking into your veggies.  So, nearly worth-its-weight-in-gold cedar it is.  The kids were thoroughly amused on the ride by the very heated discussion that took place between the husband and I about the division of labour for the construction of these beds.  I had mistakenly believed he’d head outside with his tools while I cooked us up something comforting for dinner.  He believed otherwise.  In the end, we worked it out and together the two of us whipped up the four beds in about 3 hours.

Here are the beds while still in progress:

The next day the Obsession continued when I realized we probably should have removed the sod beneath the beds.  Whoops.  We headed outside to finish the job.  Now, I’ve never removed sod – but I’m guessing that it’s usually easier than this.  Despite my best efforts I was regrettably of very little use to the WorkHorse on this project.  There were axes required to remove this sod.  (I was on deck saving worms and placing them back in the beds.)  Three of the beds are now sod-free and the last is waiting for it’s turn this weekend.

The Obsession nearly took a terrible turn when the WorkHorse realized he’d lost his wedding band somewhere along the way.  With little hope of finding it, the four of us trekked out to the back paddock where the sod had been dumped (that’s where all organic things that don’t make the compost pile go to die) to at least know that we tried our best to find it.  In a miraculous turn of events, the ring was dramatically located in a giant pile of sod and dirt and returned to it’s rightful finger.  (He’s not getting out of the marriage that easily.)  I for one believe this to be good omen – perhaps even a blessing from the gardening gods.  If we can find a ring in a big pile of dirt, surely we can grow a vegetable or two!  Fingers crossed.


Mother-clustering flies

We’ve got a little problem at Northbrook.  Cluster flies.  Millions of them, and I’m only exaggerating a little.  Who even knew what a cluster fly was?  Not me.  Since we’ve been plagued with racoons, moths of various sorts and pigeons in the city house, you’d think we be due for a little reprieve from unpleasant pests in the country.  Not to be, regrettably.

After waging a serious assault this weekend, I am sad to say that we’re going to require professional assistance to rid ourselves of this rural menace.  To take my mind off it, I’m going to share this delightful little guy with you.  He looks almost indignant.  Isn’t that a blue jay’s job?



Squelch was the sound of the farm this past weekend.  Spring is making a brief preview appearance this week, and the farm was beautiful.  But first, before we celebrate spring, let us thank winter.  When there are leaves on the trees we don’t get to enjoy the sunset, but winter brings us this nightly:

Now winter has been very kind to us this year, especially at Northbrook.  We’ve had snow to play in, ice to skate on and storms to cozy in the farm house to.  But the drives have been mostly good and winter has been all around agreeable.  While I know it’s not gone for good just yet, this weekend got me positively itching for spring.

Here’s the farm in it’s muddy glory:

Coats were discarded, and forgotten joys remembered…

…and we began our compost project!  After dutifully collecting kitchen scraps in the city and the country we loaded up a hand-me-down compost tumbler.  Here’s the other farm workhorse getting ready to collect hay from the barn and leaves from the paddock:

The only downside to the wonderful, spring-like muddy farm was the endless laundry produced by the world’s muckiest children!

Surely we’ll have plenty more cold before spring settles in for real, but this sneak peak was a lovely little treat.  In the meantime, the garden obsession is taking on a life of it’s own.  I wonder if I should let the workhorses  know what’s coming….!