also last year, the back yard, seen in the next shot, was a lumpy expanse of overgrown wild grasses and ruts. there was a swooning old coal shed crumbling into heaps of broken glass, old car parts and splintered wood along the alley. gradually, i've cleared away the mess, filled the ruts, run my old reel-type push mower over the grass, and there are raised beds sprouting from the ruins. i layered the beat up cardboard boxes from the move on the ground to smother the grass and clover, then parked the beds atop them and filled them with a mix of earth and sand. they're planted with beans and lettuce, tomatoes, chard, carrots and peas. and flowers. the plan is to layer more discarded cardboard, etc between the beds, and heap it with straw or sawdust or whatever's available to make the paths between beds as low maintenance as possible. and a few more beds as i can manage them, till there's no grass left. i don't like lawns. with the dry weather we've had, the grass isn't doing well, so the deep rooted clover that was skulking beneath it now has the advantage. i procrastinate about mowing now. the bees love the clover blossoms, and so do i. i don't think the neighbors are quite as fond of it as we are.
Monday, July 21, 2008
taming the wilderness
home sweet elderly home. she's 78 years old this year, with hand hewn beams supporting the floors. i know that's not much of an age in many places, but here in northern Alberta, that's a very old home. this was one of the earliest homes built here; she had no running water or power when she was first built, and she's one of very few of the earliest structures remaining. my realtor buddy tells me i'm a sucker for old stuff. he could be right. the front yard, seen above, is quite shady. there's a line of mature pine trees along the boulevard, and on the right of the shot above, you can see the trunk of the manitoba maple that holds court over the southeast corner of the lot. with much coaxing i've managed to convince a few lavatera and delphiniums to survive in the shattered clay soil along the foundation. only a few anemic dandelions were making an effort to live there last year.