When 2009 drew to a close, somehow I had 3 vacation days that I simply didn't have time to use. No worries, I rolled those over to 2010. Just like with Gremlins, though, there are rules. I had to use the days before March 31 or they would disappear forever. Just to be on the safe side, I decided not to feed them after midnight, too. So, I took 2 days off at the end of last week and I have next Friday off. My own, personal vacation! I've had a 4-day weekend, and the first 2 days of it were spent alone. I'd decided to use them to work on our little kitchen garden. The weather forecast was promising. I allowed myself to become excited.
Wednesday was cold and rainy. Thursday morning it was still wet and cloudy. I waited for the clouds to burn off. I used the time to go borrow our friend Chad's tiller, using my brother's truck, which I'd traded him for my Civic the night before (succkkkkkkerrrrrr). Here is what the garden space looked like Thursday morning.
And here is a picture of Monkey, who, it turns out, is not a good gardening assistant. He is, however, adorable.
So anyway, wow, that looks crappy, right? Whooo-wee, I know it. Thanks to one of my 2 new heroes, Chad (more on the the second shortly), I was able to make pretty quick work of destroying the weeds and turning the soil. Even though the tiller gave me a giant bruise on my left arm and made my forearms incredibly sore, I fell in love with it. Having built the few tiny beds I made last year entirely by hand, the tiller would have to do me a lot more physical damage to lose my affection.
I spent Thursday tilling and carrying big rocks, one at a time, from the giant rock pile in the back yard (it's going to get gone next Friday when Alberto and his silent friend come and make that happen) and creating new walkways with lots of cedar mulch, which was on sale at Home Depot for $1.25 a bag. The sun came out and the clouds went away and it was a perfect day to spend playing in the mud. I had to put Monkey on the porch because he kept trying to attack the tiller. Oh, and I found a little garter snake out there! I placed him safely out of harm's way and hoped one of the hawks didn't eat him now that he was out in the open.
Then daycare called at 1:freaking:30 and said Sarah was crying when she peed. I had to stop what I was doing to get her to the doctor only to learn that she does not have a urinary tract infection. She was thrilled to be hanging out with mommy. I was happy she wasn't really sick but I will most likely hold this against her until my dying day. I'm like that.
Friday came and it was perfect. I biked at 5 and didn't even start out freezing but warm up. No, for the first time in months, I was only sort of cold at first. Then I waited impatiently for the sun to rise so I could start moving rocks again (I hate you, Daylight Saving Time). I finished building my beds and walkways and then, still using Steve's truck, went and picked up my second new hero, Brendan, who helped me get a ton of free compost from behind the jail. He provided a bunch of giant buckets (which were actually also Chad's, which he got from Greg, our friend who works for Trees Atlanta and let Chad have all those tree buckets after plantings), and pitch forks, and showed me the short-cut to the giant compost heap. Then he filled about twice as many buckets as I, helped me stack them on top of each other in the truck and helped me set them strategically around the beds. I also got some help with that from Alberto and his silent friend, who had come to examine the giant rock pile to better know what they're going to be up against next Friday. That's the giant rock pile on the left.
So I mixed some of the compost (which smells so wonderful and looks so pure and rich I just wanted to lie down in it) into the tilled earth in my beds, then put a layer of awesome compost on top. Then I headed back to the Home Depot for a few new plants. Then I came home and planted them. All the while I was thinking 'I wish I could do this all day every day! I feel great!' By the time I had to shower to go get the girls on Friday afternoon, my garden space, blessed by the remains and our eternal memory of Lola, looked like this:
I planted our little sprouts, which I'd earlier moved to bigger pots, and now my fingers are all crossed that they survive. I planted a new Japanese Maple in the back corner and cleared a spot for Steve and Joy's volunteer butterfly bush that they don't want. I picked up some new Confederate Jasmine for the post next to the blueberry bush in Jeremiah's Man Space. Oh, and I did a little prep work on the area right behind our bedroom, that holds enough water to grow rice whenever it rains. See before and now below:
All that was left by Friday evening was more mulching and some clean-up. I decided I'd do all that after our many errands, etc, Saturday morning. Saturday morning arrived, and we ended up just crazy busy until about 2:00. At 2:00 Jeremiah and I had not eaten lunch and were feeling weak. We decided we needed to go eat at the Brickstore. By 4:00 I was ready to come home and hit that mulch. Except...the muscles in my body had gotten together and started a union. At 4:00 when it was time to hit that mulch the union declared a work stoppage. Everything....just...shut...down. There was nothing management could do but acquiesce. I wound up passed out on the daybed in the office while Kate watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs on the computer (have you seen that movie? If not, you should. Hilarious.)
Now it's raining again and the mulch is still waiting for the union muscles to get to it. It might just have to wait until next Friday.