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Posts Tagged ‘compost bins’

Yesterday, in a photo caption, I mis-identified the Ilwaco Fire Dept as Long Beach. No idea why!  Fortunately, astute blog reader Our Kathleen caught the error.  

Saturday, 23 September 2017

I thought I should go to the Saturday Market for a few photos for Discover Ilwaco, since the market has only two more weekends to go and might get rained out on the last one.  I had not been to the market much this summer because of my sore heel.  Now that it is feeling better, I can walk without constant pain.

I decided to not disturb my neighbor Rudder with pets.

Approaching the market, I noted that the tall ships were tall.

De Asis produce

two tall ships

Allan had signed on for tomorrow’s “battle sail” on one of these ships.

Mandolin Pete with a guitar instead outside Don Nisbett’s gallery

busy market day

a market patron

two little cuties

I was eager to get home to my garden, but when I did, I found that going to the market had sapped my energy, so I accomplished little.  Allan worked on painting his shed.

before (Allan’s photo)

Allan painting his shed.

I accomplished one thing, with Allan’s help a bit: digging out the snail chewed hostas.  I am giving up on them.  Almost.  I chopped off a little piece of each to try to grow in a drier spot.

can’t look at this anymore

I was then inspired to sift some compost, so the day was not wasted.

In the late afternoon, rounding the corner to dump some sifted compost along Willows Loop West, I was stopped by a beacon of light.

It was the glowing of Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All’, an ironically late blooming kniphofia that Todd gave me.  It is spectacular.

Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All’ illuminated by late afternoon sun

Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All’

lovely compost, not sifted ultra fine because it is going on a perennial bed.

I finally decided this horrible heather had to go. OUT.

Allan’s end of day photo

Sunday, 24 Sept 2017

Ed Strange stopped by to pick up the hostas.  His hosta patch is glorious and mine will be happier there.

Ed’s Jackson

Goodbye Sum and Substance and the other one

Allan departed to walk to the port, first to tour a Tall Ship and then to go on a sail.  It would, however, not be a battle sail; he had gotten a call this morning that their gunpowder had not been delivered, so the event was now an hour shorter Adventure Sail.  That will be tomorrow’s post.

I had company at noon ish: Dear friend Judy S., her spouse Larry and sister Rosalie.  We had a gratifying tour of the garden (because they like it) and a good talk in the shady campfire area.

Rosalie, Larry, Judy

I dug this hardy fuchsia out of the (now compost mulched) former hosta bed and gave it to Judy.

Skooter

I had a surge of energy and got ALL my ladies in waiting planted.  It helps a lot that my foot is hurting much less.

Asclepias fascicularis

Asclepias speciosa

Eryngium proteiflorum (went in by the garden boat)

The strawberries are trying to take over my would-be scree garden.

Eryngium padanifolium

Chocolate Shogun is near the base of the lady.

Astilbe ‘Chocolate Shogun’

My Metapanax delavayi from Xera also went into the former hosta bed.

Metapanax delavayi berries

Metapanax delavayi berries—thrilling!

I sifted more compost.  Frosty stayed close by.

I got the third bin sifted and emptied and put new newspaper down at the base (as a weed barrier).

Now I have two full bins of old debris, and will start layering the brown with new green material in the empty bin.

I took the last sifted wheelbarrow load of compost to a weedy path on the east side of the fire circle and proceeded to weed in preparation for mulching.

weeded and ready, but….

I remembered that I had thought this might be a cool spot to have a pond, probably one made out of a big, and I mean REALLY big, tub. because tree roots would prevent digging.  A tub like the ones I saw in this garden in Portland.

I stared at the garden bed for at least ten minutes, just trying to decide.  Big tub pond here? With a bench around it maybe? But where to get a big tub like that? And it is far from electricity (if one wanted a burbler in it).

to tub or not to tub

A big tub with a curved bench in front, where people could sit some distance from the campfire, would be amazing.

I finally dumped the load of compost onto the old hosta bed because I did not want to waste it on a bed that might get transformed.

old hosta bed with ALL the mulch

Allan returned, well satisfied with his Tall Ships sailing experience.  As a reward for much garden and painting progress, and because the evening was almost windless, we had a campfire dinner.

It has been an enormous relief to get my home gardening energy back.  One large factor has been that my foot is hurting much less than during midsummer, when it made it impossible to do much on days off but sit and kvetch and read.

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

We had sort of a storm, with lots of wind.  The rain stopped by mid morning, leading to a dilemma.  I had wanted to finish yesterday’s long blog post; an internet glitch had resulted in all the text and photo arrangement being lost, but the photos were in the media library ready to be inserted and captioned.  And then….the power went off.

Someone unfortunate had driven into a power pole two thirds of the way up the Peninsula.  Because we are on the same grid as the hospital, we got our power back within two hours.  (As I write this in the evening, Dave and Melissa, way up in Oysterville, are still without power.)

I used our battery back up’s last bit of oomph to catch up on the Tootlepedal blog.  And then I could find no good excuse to not try to weed.

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Allan’s photo: Skooter blocks the other cats from exiting the cat door

Oh, how very much I did not want to weed, because of the wind!  I told myself that if I just filled one bucket with weeds, I could come back in.

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We had had this much rain overnight.

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Allan string trimming

As I pulled some of the easier weeds, I observed and concluded that my earlier idea of composting in place was just not working.  We just have too many snails and slugs that like to hide in the debris and eat lily buds.

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next to one debris area, a chomped lily bud

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another chomped lily!

Now that I have good compost bins, I carried many armloads of debris and binned them.

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gathering debris

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I told Allan that I now have so much debris that I need a door for Bin B.

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I found another sad columnar evergreen.  Dang blang it!

I tried to focus on weeding the center bed so that I could erase it from the work board.

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It had a wealth of shotweed and horsetail.

My audience all afternoon:

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Allan’s photo

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Devery came over and we had a good chat.

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Debris in the west bed, which I will move on my next day in my own garden, had not stopped a giant ornamental rhubarb from showing off its size.

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While I love my periscaria bistorta ‘Superba’, I think it is getting too vigorous.

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West bed: Persicaria is just starting to show its pale pink spikes.

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tulips in the garden boat (Allan’s photo)

The  wind increased to 30 mph, making the last part of the center bed miserable to weed. Because I wanted so much to erase one thing from the work board, I thought really hard about The Deadliest Catch.

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Deadliest Catch puts my job into perspective.

I had got not just one bucket but four heaping wheelbarrow loads of weeds removed.

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after

However, I think the garden beds need a nice crisp edge.  I had noted the crisp edge on the Tootlepedal’s glorious garden during my blog reading today.  You can see the garden photos in this entry.  Part of the excellence is the trimmed hedges and Mrs. T’s plantings, but I do think the crisp lawn edge is important.

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some extra lambs ear and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ to go to Long Beach or the port

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Just as I finished, really big rain drops arrived.

Meanwhile, Allan had gone to get a new sheet of plywood, and on the way he went to the library and felt compelled to deadhead at the Ilwaco Community Building.

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art in the library

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a stray narcissus at the Community Building

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deadheading, and library books (before the rain came)

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community building garden

He drove home via the high school road to see if their tulip display was on for this year.
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Camera is above the window.

 

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It is indeed on.

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AND it is well protected.

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I wish all OUR gardens were as well protected.

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Back home, Allan lined up the old trailer side on the new cut plywood in order to drill out the holes for bungee cord lashing.

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The old side became a new front for the center compost bin.

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By then, I had made myself a nice cuppa Builders Tea.

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in my big Don Nisbett Slow Drag mug

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and a bit of a treat left over from my birthday

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one “home” bed erased from the work board

I have two guest photos to share, texted to me by Melissa, of her and Dave’s garden. The container has Tulip sylvestris. 


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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

We were revived by our day off but were not ready to face the rest of the beach approach project. Today would be a day of smaller, easier jobs.

Next to the driveway as we left for work:

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tulips


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Narcissus ‘Chinita’

Port of Ilwaco

An event this Thursday at a port business inspired us to deadhead narcissi all along the Howerton Way gardens.  We won’t be attending but we expect it to draw a crowd.

pot

We want to make sure the gardens look nice for this business that watches out for flower jackers. (A few weeks ago, Allan got asked from the Freedom Market’s upstairs window what he was doing digging up plants in the garden. We appreciate that vigilance.)

We worked our way from east to west.

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east end, looking west


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The marina is across the east end parking lot.

 

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nautical trash

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The scrimmy little horsetails are not my mission today.


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CoHo Charters lavascape


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deadheads by the old Portside Café (Allan’s photo)


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by the Fort George Brewery office


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The old Shorebank building (now empty)


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kinnikinnick looking really quite nice and making one big buzzing bee happy


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Wax myrtle and arbutus that got the full windstorm blast from across the Shorebank parking lot…


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Another storm blasted wax myrtle

We will trim up those shrubs before the May 6th Children’s Parade and opening day of Saturday Market.  No time for that today.

Allan went on to deadhead the west end while I weeded between Shorebank and the Port Office, including the little garden on the south side of the port office building.  The tide was low…

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looking west


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Little brown birds scavenging the muddy rocks

Looking east, with lots of interesting driftwood

In the wheelie bin enclosure, I found a salvage piece which will be great to add to our fence.  Its little doors will provide a peekaboo effect.

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This went home with us.

 Interlude at home

As we parked in front of our fence, I thought about how interested I would be to see our garden as a passerby.

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I’d be looking over the fence for a better view.

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I remembered a few gardens in Seattle into which I used to peer through and over fences.

The cats had something to say about how we should stay home for the rest of the day.

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Smokey


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Skooter appears

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Frosty

Calvin, being not especially outdoorsy, doesn’t much care whether we stay home or not.

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Calvin woken from his usual daylong nap

The garden looked extra fine and tempting.

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tulips and cardoon


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Japanese maple (Allan’s photo)


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golden bleeding heart


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Tulip ‘Green Star’


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Ribes speciosum still in full flower


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Ribes speciosum and tulips


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patio tulips


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a lavishly fringed tulip (and Frosty saying, “Do stay!”)


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tempting

I have pretty good willpower about going to work (necessary for longterm self employment).  Off we went.

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Allan photographed this good old dog when we stopped at the bank to put a cheque in.

The Anchorage Cottages

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Beth and Mitzu (Allan’s photo)

We expected to just deadhead and weed.  However, Beth needed help with the climbing hydrangea which had fallen over in the recent big windstorm.

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They got it pushed back and well tied to the new trellis.

The wind was hard on a lot of the tulips in containers, especially in the office courtyard.  They fared better in the more protected center courtyard.

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center courtyard; an array of pots is just to the right


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some courtyard containers


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purple fringed tulips


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pink fringed tulip


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window boxes with tiny species flowers


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narcissi and unfurling sword fern

Long Beach

Next, we picked up from the city works yard as much Soil Energy Mulch as today’s buckets would carry.

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our mulch stash, with plants that were removed from a defunct planter

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Our first mission was to mulch the corner bed at Veterans Field.  Some sort of Veterans walk is beginning there later this week so we want it to look fluffy.

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Allan’s photos, before….


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during; an annoying and constant wind made the day cold.


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after

With that done, I went on a deadheading walkabout of the city planters and street tree gardens, while Allan went to weed and add some mulch in two areas of Fifth Street Park.

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He found this big lily bulb…


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a bright orange tulip


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and some annoyingly persistent horsetail

My photos while walking the planters:

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Tulip ‘Flaming Spring Green’

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foreground: parrot Tulip ‘Rococo’ in bud


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Tulip bakeri  ‘Lilac Wonder’


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bench sitter

Reminder to self: Put “dig out planter ivy” on the work board so I will remember it.

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horrible variegated ivy.  I blame myself from many years ago.


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exciting bud on Asphodeline


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orange tulips


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and a painted rock placed by California poppies that might be orange later on!


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pink fringed tulip, and progress on defunct planter (the lamp post has now been removed)


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some big tulips, windblown, chomped by deer, broken, or picked


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In the same planter, Tulip bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’ have been blooming for weeks.

Note to self: plant many more ‘Lilac Wonder’.  They are my favourite species tulip and they do so well here.

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Tulip bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’

I was awfully tired for the last two blocks of deadheading and figured as soon as we got home, I would sit down.

at home

At home, I took four buckets of deadheads out to the compost bins while Allan (almost always a man of boundless evening energy) set to mowing the lawn.

The compost bins inspired some compost turning.  A day of varied jobs is much less exhausting than an all day, same place weeding project.

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I had gotten all excited when seeing the bottom of bin B:

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It looked like it might be siftable!

It wasn’t.  But soon will be if I keep turning frequently.

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bins after today’s turning

I need more green stuff before flipping another layer.

While Allan also mowed the next door lawn for our next door neighbour, I checked the hydrangeas over at the J’s garden for signs of life.  The twigs are green when snapped but still no leaves, not even at the base.

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good looking sword ferns at the J’s

Back at home, a stunning narcissus with a deep green center (and tiny spider):

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I got a bit of a start when I thought each leaf of my Davidia tree had a snail in it.  No, those are flowers buds

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Not like the horrible snails everywhere in my garden due to lack of time to properly police them.

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Allan’s photo

Tomorrow, yet another storm is due.  I look forward to reading a book.

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Monday, 27 March 2017

Allan still being slightly under the weather made an excuse to take a pleasant day off.

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Allan’s photo. front porch


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Smokey flirting (Allan’s photo)

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I emerged in the early afternoon and the first thing I noticed was a Stipa gigantea in a water bucket.

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I had been looking for this grass since bringing it home from the boatyard garden 8 days ago.  I had verbally declared that Allan must have accidentally thrown it out, so I had to show him my discovery.  “Are you a little bit sorry?” he asked.  Yes, I was.

(The quotation on the water barrel is by Iris Murdoch: ‘People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.’)

Allan found some boards to make fronts for the new compost bins and helped me plunk the heavy pots, taken from the old plastic pond two days ago, into the water boxes.

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My mission was to move a few wheelbarrows of debris from the old debris pile to the new bins, even though I should perhaps have been weeding.  The composting was irresistible and I worked on it for four hours.

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ignoring a weedy garden


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a weedy bed near the debris pile

I unearthed an old rhubarb plant that I’d thrown into the pile last fall.

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happy rhubarb


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I disturbed at least three big frogs.


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happy


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I transplanted some hot mustard, which Devery loves, in the former debris pile next to her driveway.

Just as I was trying to finish by picking up the debris around the old pile and spilled along the way from a couple of too-full wheelbarrows (what my grandma called “a lazy man’s load”), a heavy gale and rain came up.  I called to Allan for help and he kindly joined me and did some raking.

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the debris pile several days ago


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and today

I had filled two bins, leaving the third to turn the first two into.  Google tells me I can do that weekly, if I want to.  I do want to, if I can find the time.

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I tried to put the older debris into the center bin.  That idea went all willy nilly when the rain came.

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rain


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Skooter wanted in.  He hates rain.


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Later, we were all dry and happy.

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Saturday, 25 March 2017

Much as I longed to go the weekly political postcard party, I did not want any of our friends to get our colds.  By now, Allan’s was worse than mine as it got passed down the chain.

With the first really nice day all week, I decided to explore the potential compost bin area by our greenhouse.

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yesterday

It used to be a raspberry patch that had not done at all well.  Last year, it became an axiliary frog home with a free pond (the sort meant to be dug into the ground) that we had gotten from a friend.

I had started poking at the weeds when Allan emerged and asked if I wanted the pond emptied out.  Why…yes!  (I had carefully checked for frog spawn and found none.)

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We set the waterlogged pots of water loving plants to one side to drain out; they are too heavy to lift into the water boxes right now.

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waiting

One of the water boxes has a leak toward the top.  Having the big pot of water hyacinth in there will hide that problem.

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sadly one inch low water box

Many snails had found a home on the bottom of the plastic pond form.

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Allan’s photo

Not long after they were deposited into a bucket, the snails embarked upon a daring escape.

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Allan took them to the big field out back.

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on the way, standing water in the swale (Allan’s photo)

Devery popped over from next door, and when I mentioned that I was going to give away the preform pond, she happily took it to make a planter.  From looking through my grandmother’s old scrap books, I have realized that if I do have a pond sunk into the ground, I would like it to be a simple shape, like these photos that she had cut out from magazines long ago.

Back to the preparation for the compost bins: I was cursing the thick, ropy, hard-to-cut hops roots that coursed throughout the old raspberry patch from the hops and honeysuckle poles at each end.  It was not an easy weeding job.  Allan helped by hacking clumps with the big pick.

Every time I have assembled pallet compost bins before, I’ve tied them together with rope and let them sit there all wonky.  Allan had a different idea.

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his tools (and the pick handle)

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a trench dug to make the pallets level

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proper assembly

With the first bin done, I began to fill it up…an exciting prospect.

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newspaper base will help keep roots from coming up

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The new bin inspired some clipping

I was startled to learn that we only had four pallets, not the five needed to make two bins.  Allan had dismantled the fifth one to repair the other four’s missing slats.

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The project at a momentary standstill

On his errand to pick up the mail, Allan decided to quest for three more pallets.

He saw this down at the Port:

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Soon, Allan triumphantly returned to the garden, carrying a pallet, and began to finish the second bin.

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In order to continue to use one of the clotheslines for blanket drying, we had to place the bins so that there is only a narrow space between the back and the greenhouse.  I am hoping to reach in with a hoe from each end to get weeds and am aware that it might be a future problem.

The second clothesline will now only work for smalls.

Skooter had emerged to inspect the project and to monitor the frogs in the water boxes.

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I had clipped more plant matter in the greenhouse and on the patio to add to my first bin when me legs suddenly seized up, and I had to hobble into the house and have a sit down.  Little did I know that Allan had actually acquired three pallets.  As he stayed out to finish the project, I felt guilty but incapable.  I did not realize he was able to complete the third bin till he showed me the photos.

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done 

Eventually, there will be big horizontal boards that slip in along the front to hold the debris in place.

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I was well chuffed to have three compost bins, like Mr Tootlepedal.  Later in the evening, I caught up reading the last week of the Tootlepedal blog and was reminded that he has four bins: A, B, C, D.  It has been his compost turning and sifting exploits over the last few years that reminded me how much I do like having proper compost bins.  It’s so satisfying and makes faster compost, something that will be beneficial as we work less and can afford to buy less readymade mulch.

I will be shifting the debris pile from next to Devery’s driveway into the new bins.

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the old debris pile, soon to be some sort of garden

It would be fun to have a shared kitchen garden there, but it is outside the deer fence.  Perhaps herbs and flowers.

I look forward to the future filling of the bins and shifting piles from one to the other and then the sifting of the finished product through a screen placed over a wheelbarrow.

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My mother sifting compost in 2008, age 83

At my house in Seattle, which was once my grandma’s house, I had two compost areas separated by a narrow concrete path, and  I still remember the pleasure of tossing the partially decomposed clippings from one pile to the other and then sifting finished compost.  As a small child, I dreamt one night that I was one of the wriggling red worms in Gram’s compost pile.  That sounds like a nightmare.  It was not.

At 3 AM, I could not fall asleep because my mind was so busy imagining the collecting and layering of compostable material into my new compost bins.

 

 

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